Reasons to Love Toronto: No. 29, because we inspired a 21st-Century international suffragette movement
It all began in the winter of 2011, when a cop named Michael Sanguinetti told a group of York University students that in order for women to prevent harassment and rape they should “avoid dressing like sluts.” Two 20-something women, Sonya Barnett, a graphic artist, and university student Heather Jarvis, were so disgusted by his comments that they invited their Facebook friends to join a Slutwalk—a protest march from Queen’s Park to police headquarters on College Street. Hundreds of people took part, some dressed only in bikinis, and coverage of the event inspired similar marches in 200 cities around the world. In New Delhi, it was called Besharmi Morcha. In Tegucigalpa, Marcha de las Putas. Feminist icon Germaine Greer wrote an approving op-ed in the U.K. Telegraph. This May, Toronto’s Slutwalkers did it again, with an even bigger march (up University to Queen’s Park) and a slate of firebrand speakers. Even Slutwalk’s critics—who mostly dislike the name—can’t ignore its success. The movement has kicked the oppression of women onto the global stage, one awkward stilettoed step at a time.