Harpo Jaeger dot com

Tell me what a feminist looks like

I took this video at SlutWalk Providence on Saturday. We gathered in Burnside Park and marched over I-95, ending on Broadway. I was also fortunate enough to be quoted in the Brown Daily Herald:

HarpoJaeger’14 attended “in support of other people’s right to call themselves what they want and do what they want,” he said. He added that he thought it was important for men to attend the event because “there’s a perception that feminism is only for angry women who don’t like men, but it should be possible for everyone to support women’srights.”

I’d worried about going to SlutWalk as a man that it might seem to the non-men there that I was cashing in on the excitement/activism/sexiness or trying to prove my feminist cred. I won’t even attempt to pretend I didn’t enjoy getting interviewed, but I was a bit worried that that too might be seen as stealing the stage. After all, most of the people there were female, queer, or otherwise less privileged than me, the upper-middle class straight cisgendered white Jewish guy who showed up wearing a t-shirt for a privately-funded elite political institutionafter taking school-subsidized public transportation down the hill from my Ivy League university.

So I felt a bit extraneous. Here I am, in just about as great a position in society as anyone can be, listening to queer speakers, speakers who make seventy-seven cents to my dollarand speakerswho are victims of rape and domestic abuse. What on earth can I contribute as an activist? Isn’t my presence insulting to people who actually deal with gender discrimination and sexual violence on a daily basis? I’m no doubt guilty of some of the things that we were protesting!

Feminism, like any movement for social change, is constantly derided and marginalized through the use of distortions of fact and motive. Conservative media, anti-feminist figures and institutions, and the day-to-day sexism in our society conspire to denigrate feminism as the last refuge of a man-hater (does that make me a self-hating man?). SlutWalk is part of a rising tide of new feminism, completely outside of that false zero-sum paradigm. The theoretical and academic infrastructure has existed for a while, but it’s only recently that I’ve started to see the philosophy playing out in real life, especially outside of the realm of “materially, financially privileged white women.” But it’s happening.


I SlutWalked in place of those who could not be there. Victims of domestic or sexual violence. Victims of pay discrimination who have to work extra time to make the same money as their male colleagues. Victims of informal and formal structures that devalue women for being women.

I SlutWalked in support of slut self-determination. The only person who can decide whether to call someone a slut is that someone themself.

And I SlutWalked because this is everyone’s feminism. This is your feminism, his feminism, her feminism, hir feminism, and my feminism. This is what a feminist looks like.