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Slut Walk returns to campus

OU+Feminists+hosted+the+second+annual+Slut+Walk+to+reclaim+the+word+and+raise+awareness+of+consent+issues.
OU Feminists hosted the second annual Slut Walk to reclaim the word and raise awareness of consent issues.

OU Feminists hosted the second annual Slut Walk to reclaim the word and raise awareness of consent issues.

Mary Mitchell

Mary Mitchell

OU Feminists hosted the second annual Slut Walk to reclaim the word and raise awareness of consent issues.

Cheyanne Kramer, Managing Editor

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The Feminists of Oakland University returned with their second-annual Slut Walk on Thursday, Sept. 28. However, in contrast to other slut walks, there was a distinctive OU twist on this march.

Slut walks are traditionally for those marching to reclaim the word “slut” as an empowering term. Susie Mickhail, a sociology major, walked for the first time in the slut walk this year.

“I think it’s super important to break down negative stigmas around a lot of words that we use,” Mickhail said.

However, Feminists of OU president Erin Shrum said that this year, the event would be inclusive to people suffering all different forms of oppression, not just those who have been victimized by the word “slut.”

“The hardest part of setting up the event was getting the right message across,” She said. “Usually we only focus on one type of oppression, and we wanted this to help all marginalized people.”

Some of the signs that those participating carried contained phrases regarding being proud of a disability, being proud of your skin tone and, like last year’s march, educating bystanders on the meaning of consent.

Elle Hilley is a sophomore and a three-semester long member of the Feminists of OU. To her, the march is important not only to her because of how she values feminism in her worldviews, but because of recent events locally.

“The whole campus sexual assault problem is so bad now,” Hilley said. “Especially with what happened here at OU.”

Last week, a student was sexually assaulted near Elliott Tower, which was where the slut walk began. Marchers traveled from Elliott to the residence halls, then back through the Oakland Center, toward and through Varner Hall, before ending up back at the carillon tower.

The march was about 20 people strong at its peak, and saw numerous bystanders stopping marchers asking what they were marching for. Some onlookers clapped or made acknowledging remarks, especially in the busy Pioneer Food Court during lunch time. As the group walked through the more narrow hallways in the OC, many stopped and stepped aside, allowing those marching to pass through without commotion.

One man even handed marchers condoms. Many marchers took the free items.

However, not all reception to the march was positive. One man driving by the group yelled “build a wall.” Another just yelled the word “no” as marchers walked by.

The Feminists of OU break a lot of stereotypes that can come to mind when thinking about feminism in the modern world. To vice president Courtney Bryson, feminism is more than just equality between genders.

“Feminism is equality based on gender, race, class and sexuality, and looking at how all of these things intersect in our lives,” Bryson said.

Some of the signs marchers carried contained profanity, and when they marched by a large group of touring children, many put their signs down out of respect to the young visitors to OU.

Shrum said that the Feminists of OU will be bringing lectures once a month with professors speaking on a variety of different feminist issues. In addition, the organization is attempting to plan around one event per month.

November’s event will be an equal pay bake sale, which Shrum said was a hit last year.

“It gets the word out about different intersections of race, gender, and sexual orientation,” Shrum said.

Those interested in getting involved can follow the organization’s Facebook page, OU Feminists.

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