Occupy Wall Street and Slut Walk NYC
I’m a feminist because I believe in equality based on gender. I’m a feminist because I believe that no one has the right to touch you without your consent. I’m a feminist because I believe that all women should have free and unfettered access to reproductive health care and abortion services. I’m a feminist because I believe women deserve equal pay for equal work. I’m a feminist because I believe that women should be able to wear what they want to wear without fear of being assaulted or harassed in the street. I’m a feminist because I believe that when a woman is sexually harassed or sexually assaulted, we should be asking what the perpetrator was doing or wearing so we can catch him, not what the woman was doing or wearing, so we can blame her for inviting it. I’m a sex-positive feminist because I believe that sex and sexuality is not the problem, lack of consent is the problem. Clothing is not consent. Consent is consent. The only person responsible for a rape, or for sexual harassment, is the rapist or the sexual harasser.
I’m a feminist because I have faith that once we individually and collectively harness our feminine energy sufficient to offset the pure masculine ethos of the unregulated corporate person, with its unlimited billionaire underwritten speech—we will get back to a relatively lush, safe and sane America where we all share in the beauty of the commons and we all share the costs of maintaining our general welfare.
My name is Jack Tuckner; I’m the co-founder of Tuckner Sipser, a women’s rights/employee rights law firm in NYC, and I want to talk about two significant and related protest gatherings that occurred simultaneously in NYC on October 1, One was SlutWalk NYC, and the other was Occupy Wall Street, but they’re both really protesting the same pathologies afflicting our body politic.
The “Slut Walk” started in Toronto when a cop told a group of female university students to “not dress like sluts in order to avoid being victimized.” This victim-blaming mentality catalyzed a long overdue movement, as sexual violence and sexual harassment are still widespread in our culture and have been for far too long.
In our Rape culture, the rapist/harasser/assaulter fails to control his own impulse to molest, violate, humiliate, harass and/or abuse a female subordinate, for example, or a woman walking down the street, or date who is raped, because he feels little to no empathy, respect or equality between himself and his target object; like Wall Street’s Ayn Randian view of living in perfect selfishness, the rapist is a sociopath, he seeks only his own gratification, and sees his victim as an object, as other, as less than, so her pain, fear, shame, or death is of no consequence to him.
Now take Wall Street culture, part and parcel of Rape culture, only on the Street, the faceless rape “victim” is the poor, the weak, the young, the old, the sick, the middle class; the female, almost all us, really—99% of us, in fact.
In Rape culture, the male cannot or will not reign in his sexual and/or gender- conflicted impulses, so he acts them out on each woman who comes within his destructive path, and in the Wall Street (rape) culture, the boys continue to rape, pillage and plunder Main Street while its enablers victim-blame teachers, cops, fire fighters, factory workers, students, Medicare recipients, immigrants, the EPA; seniors and the unemployed whose benefits are running out--these are the victims that Wall Street blames--the greedy, needy $40,000 per year worker trying to pay her bills, never mind the 2 billion dollar per year hedge fund manager who pays way less percentage of his “earnings” into the common coffer than the rest of us poor folk.
Rape culture and Wall Street culture are symptoms of Male Privilege run amok. No Yin, All Yang. All brain and balls; no heart and no soul.
As women’s rights advocates, we support Occupy Wall Street, as well as drastic changes to our criminal crony corporate culture. Women should not have to face deep cuts to the Women, Infant and Children nutrition program to cut down on low infant birth weights, so that another American company can join the other 18,000 companies incorporated in the same building in the Cayman islands to avoid paying federal taxes to help our country pay its bills. Is that patriotic?
And kids shouldn’t be kicked out of Head Start programs, and young people shouldn’t have to give up their Pell Grants and therefore college, so that the million dollar an hour hedge fund manager who wrecked the economy on purpose can continue to pay a 15% marginal tax rate on his “capital gains” cause he skims other people’s money for a living. And we can’t let these hoods in Congress get away with vilifying, scamming, investigating and destroying Planned Parenthood, the nation’s leading sexual and reproductive health care provider, just because they take care of our American girls and women. Shame on those bastards.
Social, economic and gender injustice affects and poisons everything. Look at this bleak landscape we’re living in—and the reason is simple—the billionaires and giant transnational corporations increasingly own and control our commons, and they own the elected leaders through the use of 37,000 highly paid lobbyists in Washington, yet they steadfastly refuse to join us in the fight to keep the jobs in America, to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure by investing in this country they profess to love. Wall Streeters and the politicians they own are stingy, greedy, selfish, small-minded and mean-spirited, and they’re dumb too, as they apparently aspire to living filthy rich in a poor country.
As corporations are now “persons” under the Supreme Court’s grotesque 2010 ruling, yet we still can’t get the Equal Rights Amendment for women passed into law, let’s never forget that first and foremost, we must vigilantly strive to raise the status of women while lowering the status of corporations, if economic, social and gender justice is our goal.