restricted access Micro-Cohorts, Feminist Discourse, and the Emergence of the Toronto SlutWalk
Abstract

In January 2011, Toronto activists reacted to a comment by a local police officer who equated women’s “slutty” dress with the probability of sexual assault. A group of women responded by planning a “slut walk” protesting what they termed “sexual profiling” and “slut shaming.” In a short period of time, the tactic of slut walks literally spread throughout the world. The article examines the rise of slut walks and their rapid spread. By focusing on the initial Toronto protest, it argues that the slut walk is an emerging micro-cohort within contemporary feminism. Through an analysis of the Toronto SlutWalk, the article proposes that along with structural factors, the discursive legacy of feminism contributed to the rise of this micro-cohort. That legacy includes the anti-victim–blaming focus of Take Back the Night, an emphasis on reclaiming language, and the aftermath of the feminist sex wars. It then draws on critiques of slut walks to illustrate the multiplicity and vibrancy of micro-cohorts within North American feminism.


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