Are you sick of hearing about the SlutWalk? Have you seen enough articles popping up on your Facebook wall? Have you reached your saturation point?
 
Well, imagine how I feel. After spending the last month and a half organizing the Montreal SlutWalk with my local burlesque troupe, Glam Gam Productions, and Montreal sex worker group Stella, I feel like I’ve been pulled by all limbs in different directions. I’ve been praised, questioned, criticized, ridiculed, insulted and everything in between. There’ve been days when my frustration has made me want to crawl into a ball and shave my head and others when I felt like I could carry all the world’s sluts on my shoulders toward a revolution.
 
When we arrived at the meeting point for the walk this past Sunday afternoon — half naked under umbrellas in the freezing rain with the rest of the organizing committee and the media — we couldn’t help but feel a tad demoralized. There was something strange about a bunch of men hungry for photos standing around a small group of half-naked wet women in the rain.
 
As a man, this was probably the moment in my life I was most aware of my gender and its implications. Not that I was oblivious to my privilege before, but I couldn’t help but think about the thoughts these men were thinking as they pointed their long phallic lenses at my co-organizers. This situation illustrates one of the major concerns that has arisen about the SlutWalk: that it acts as an opportunity for a bunch of horny men to come out and cast their gaze at a bunch of scantily clad women.
 
Later in the day, however, that feeling of uneasiness went away. Hundreds more people, women and men, fully clothed and almost naked, showed up to tell the world that women and people of all (non)genders should not be held responsible, based on the way they dress, for the actions of onlookers.
 

 
I shouted into my megaphone and heard hundreds of people passionately shout back powerful slogans. I couldn’t help but feel proud to be part of this slut revolution. The SlutWalk is by no means perfect, and many criticisms have surfaced: some say re-appropriating the term slut is impossible because of its deep-rooted negative implications; some have relied on academic jargon inaccessible to many in their discussions; others have addressed the invisibility of marginalized groups, such as women of colour and transgender individuals, in the movement; others have questioned the police’s involvement with the organization; and still others say the movement acts as a degradation of years of progress made in women’s rights.
 
Regardless of how people feel about the SlutWalk, it is not going away anytime soon. Whether you’re for or against the walk, we can’t deny that an important dialogue is happening about something that people have been ashamed to talk about for decades, and I am proud to have helped organize this discussion here in Montreal. We took the opportunity to address not only women who are victims of victim-blaming but victim-blaming at large.
 
Glam Gam’s partnership with Stella and the AFS in the organization of the walk helped us combat other normalized violence and phobias, such as whorephobia and, particularly, transgender whorephobia, as well as the effect of the slut stigma on women of colour. As a gay man, I addressed the double standard of straight men being rewarded for leading promiscuous lifestyles while gay men and women are stigmatized for demonstrating the same behaviour, even when it's done responsibly.
 
While our efforts were not perfect, I by no means feel that they were in vain; we stood in solidarity to keep the ball rolling, and we hope that other cities will do the same. My only advice to future organizers is to be prepared for the criticisms you will face and do your best to adapt your cities' walks to intelligently address and include as many of them as humanly possible in your fight.
 
Michael McCarthy is a Montreal artist and a Porndoggy columnist at Xtra.
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