Last April Green Prophet asked: Should the Middle East Have More Sluts? Of course we wanted to attract our reader’s attention, and we did with thousands of readers, hundreds of “Likes” and dozens of comments. Although I am not a feminist, I do recognize a critical link between women’s rights and environmental values. Look at the women from Barefoot College in Jordan: Women are often the first ones to transmit these values to their societies and children, and women without basic rights are not empowered to do anything. I know that linking sluts and the Middle East is a tough pill to swallow in the ultra-conservative Middle East but we wrote this article to grab your attention. To make you think.
Readers and activists were listening. According to DIY Tel Aviv the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem will be organizing their own slut walks, starting next week.
They join “sluts” who’ve walked in Toronto, New York, Manchester (pictured above), Singapore, even Peru.
Yaara Lieberman-Kalif, an organizer of the Tel Aviv march, told Haaretz that in Israel the effort actually started in Jerusalem. “We hope it will be like it was abroad,” she says. “We will not ask anyone to come wearing revealing clothes, because the goal of this march is the opposite of coercion, it is to highlight the option of every woman (and man ) to dress as she wishes, without social criticism.”
The city of Jerusalem has been embroiled in a conflict recently over the censoring of women’s images, and bodies in public advertising. The secular part of the Jerusalem society are outraged.
The SlutWalk is a protest that started in Toronto by feminists who were outraged after a Toronto police officer said that women who get raped do so because they dress like sluts. Toronto has a very strong lesbian and feminist community that made a call to women from the city to protest a dominant male view of why women get raped. Again, many readers might think the link is peripheral, but look to Egypt: last year as means to suppress the voices of left-wing female activists, the authorities there forced the women to undergo virginity tests, a form of torture.
Withholding sex to make a point?
Will we see the novel idea of SlutWalk spread throughout the Middle East? Maybe in Turkey or Lebanon where women do have some level of activist freedom. Or maybe in Morocco where the movie The Source, a film about water rights, forces women to go on a sex strike. But I don’t think women in the Middle East need to do such an extreme in-your-face defiant protest.
There are other more positive ways women can have positive effects on the environment, by recycling, organizing clean-ups, vying for solar power in their towns and villages –– the side-effects which will earn her better status in the community within which she lives. But when enraged voices need to be heard, maybe a SlutWalk is a good way to vent frustrations and create a lot of press attention to the issues at hand.
Above image of SlutWalk Manchester via Man Alive!