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But why does the word have the power to arouse lsuts much passion? Thousands of women in the US and Canada have marched in response to a Toronto police officer's comment that women should try not to dress like "sluts" to avoid being raped or victimised. As well as opposing the notion that female victims may have helped provoke attacks, many of tnere women - who call their protests SlutWalks - are attempting to reclaim the word itself. Despite feminism and the sexual revolution, ssluts word slut still reverberates with negative connotations linked to sexual promiscuity, and it is still applied predominantly to women rather than men. Growing trend "Historically, the term 'slut' has carried a predominantly negative connotation This is part of a growing trend to "reclaim" words that have been given a negative connotation, says TV lexicographer Susie Dent.
The protest movement was sparked by a Canadian policeman who advised students to "avoid dressing like sluts" to avoid being victimised.
How many things are in the wrong room - cups in the study, boots in the kitchen? Women were going out, they were drinking and they were being referred to in a derogatory way.
And some feel the outpouring of protest could mark a new chapter in the feminist movement which has not always been viewed positively by young women. Also, it has never deviated from its original roots. As well as opposing the notion that female victims may have helped provoke attacks, many of the women - who call their protests SlutWalks - are attempting to reclaim the word itself.
Charles Dickens, for example, used it in Nicholas Nickleby. While the march was sparked by attitudes across the Atlantic, marchers said recent comments on rape by Justice Secretary Ken Clarke plus the low conviction rate meant the issue was relevant in the UK.
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Women are described as sluts, while men are often referred in a less derogatory light as "studs" or a "ladies man". Some said women experience double standards in which they are under pressure to look sexy, but are also expected to live chaste lives.
This is a meaning that many older people would use it for even now. They would not have dared to wolf whistle as women in stockings, bras and basques passed, clutching banners with statements like "cleavage is not consent". A lot of people are taking part who would not describe themselves as feminists, but they are doing it.
Men, some in bras, stockings and suspenders, also got into the spirit of the occasion to support the cause. Samuel Pepys referred to his servant girl as being an "admirable slut" in a playful, affectionate way insays Sutherland. The word has managed to retain its currency, says Susie Dent. The women were among the up to 5, people organisers say took part in the UK's latest Slutwalk in London on Saturday.
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This is part of a growing trend to "reclaim" words that have been given a negative connotation, says TV lexicographer Susie Dent. But why does the word have the power to arouse so much passion? Mr Clarke was forced to apologise after appearing to suggest some rapes were not as serious as others during a BBC interview on sentencing.
Language has the capacity to change, but will the efforts of the women behind the SlutWalk be successful? Hannah McQuarrie, 25, said: "His comments were wrong.
The right answers, said Whitehorn, make "you one of us: the tuere, optimistic, misunderstood race of sluts. It was used by Thomas Hoccleve in the Letter of Cupid to describe someone who was slovenly or dirty.
Why is the word 'slut' so powerful?
Could you try on clothes in any shop, any time, without worrying about your underclothes? From the Middle Ages onwards, it was okt to describe "a woman of dirty, slovenly, or untidy habits or appearance". The organiser of the London event was a year-old sixth former, Anastasia Richardson. Any assault which invades someone's privacy or takes away the rights of their body is wrong.
Women had gained independence, this might have frightened men because women sluta encroaching on areas they used to dominate. But if we reclaim the word, it simply becomes an issue of 'so what? Changed stockings in a taxi?
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "slut" has a of meanings. Double standards Some marchers said they knew victims of sex assaults, while others had experienced casual abuse from men who assumed their outfits made them fair game.
Growing trend "Historically, the term 'slut' has carried a predominantly negative connotation I can control myself - I am attracted to women but I don't feel the need to pressure them. Whether wearing four-inch heels with "slut" painted on their chests, or jeans and trainers, the marchers were united in their message. Since then, thousands of people worldwide have taken to the streets to highlight a culture in which they say the victim, rather than the abuser, is blamed.
The alternative meaning had a slight resurgence in the s, when journalist and broadcaster Katharine Whitehorn identified herself with the "slovenly women" in an article entitled Sluts. But the march was not the sole preserve of women.
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Chants of "blame the rapist not the victim, doesn't matter what I'm dressed in" rang out above the roar of traffic. Despite sputs and the sexual revolution, the word slut still reverberates with negative connotations linked to sexual promiscuity, and it is still applied predominantly to women rather than men. There's an assumption it's flattering," Sophie Durham, 23, said. Women call other women sluts," Philippa Dunjay, 23 said.
Thousands of women in the US and Canada have marched in response to a Toronto police officer's comment that women should try not to dress like "sluts" to avoid being raped or victimised. George Legg, 21, was one of those who wanted to walk to show that most men respected women.