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‘SlutWalk’ Coming To Minnesota

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – A movement with a provocative name and a message against blaming victims of sexual violence is coming to Minnesota.

Minnesota SlutWalk hopes to attract women and men of all ages to its Saturday march on the downtown Minneapolis riverfront.

SlutWalk started April 3 in Toronto in response to a police officer’s comment that to avoid being victimized, women should not dress like “sluts.” The concept has spread rapidly through social media, and organizers say it has been embraced particularly by younger women.

SlutWalk Toronto co-founder Heather Jarvis estimated that SlutWalks are being organized in 100 to 150 cities around the world.

When college student Kimberia Sherva, of Fridley, heard about the events on Facebook, she contacted the Toronto organizers and learned that no one had volunteered to organize an event in Minnesota.

“I said, ‘OK’ — deep breath — ‘I’ll do it,”‘ Sherva told the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Beth Johnson, a spokeswoman for SlutWalk Minnesota, said organizers in Minneapolis have no issues with police.

“They’ve been really responsive,” she said.

SlutWalk Minneapolis was originally planned for Aug. 6. It was moved to Saturday so it wouldn’t conflict with the opening of the Minnesota Fringe Festival and to give organizers time to get permits for the event, Sherva said. SlutWalks also are planned for the same weekend in Nashville and New York City.

Not everyone is happy with the concept.

St. Paul resident Kristine Holmgren, executive director of a discussion salon called the Dead Feminists Society of Minnesota, said women who choose to call themselves “sluts” are undoing the work that “second wave” feminists like herself did in the 1960s and 1970s to stop men from patronizingly referring to women as “chicks.”

“When we buy the language of the patriarchy, then we all lose,” Holmgren said. “Girls trot around in bikini tops and say: ‘Look at me! I’m a whore.’ How does that make my world better?”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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