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SlutTALK Vancouver: for feminists, is now not the time for talk?

Screencap of one of the films previewed, Sluts: The Documentary.

Last night, I attended SlutTALK Clip-Hop, described by its organizers, the women from SlutWalk Vancouver, as "an evening of film clips and discussions" on the harmful cultural practise of slut-shaming and its effects.

The clips and audience discussions proved provocative. That said, I'm disappointed that more people weren't there to see it.

As I twiddled my thumbs in the Rio Theatre, waiting for the event to begin in a space that wasn't even half-full, I realized that the class-size group of attendees around me (a little less than 30 people) was it. So much for bringing women's studies outside the classroom. I guess 50 of the "Going"s on Facebook had ditched.

The evening began with Sarah MacLeod's uncannily wise deconstruction of slut-shaming on YouTube, which went viral a few months ago because it made people feel a little better about the upcoming generation (MacLeod was only 13 years-old when she filmed it).

Clips from Sluts: The Documentary, NO!: The Rape Documentary and another YouTube video, the charming Shit Men Say to Men Who Say Shit to Women on the Street, followed. In between, my fellow audience members talked about what they saw, hence the event name.

Many interesting questions were raised, but the most interesting to me was whether or not the time for talk was over in the feminist community—whether it was time instead for drastic action only.

"Everyone here is a feminist," one attendee piped up, "but it's really hard to get my guy friends to come to stuff like this."

Several others agreed: Events like SlutTALK are great, but the fact is, they're generally not appealing to the members of society that most desperately need to attend—the men who rape, harrass, batter or otherwise harm women, and the men and women who encourage them, directly or not.

What can feminists and their allies say to change the minds and attitudes of people who aren't even listening? What films and videos can they show to a theatre with empty seats?

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

On the other hand, actions can be easily ignored as well. One audience member suggested something that isn't easily ignored, something that I mentioned opened SlutTALK: a viral video.

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