Graduation Year

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Communication

Major Professor

Aisha Durham

Keywords

Activism, Gender, Postfeminism, Race, Sexism

Abstract

This thesis examined bodied activism in Chicago's Slutwalk 2012 march, a contemporary movement initiated in Toronto, Canada that publicly challenged the mainstream sentiment that women are responsible for their own rape and victimization. Adopting an intersectional approach, I used textual analysis to discuss photographs posted on the official Chicago Slutwalk website to explore the ways this form of public bodied protest discursively engages women's empowerment from movement feminism as well as third wave and postfeminisms. I additionally analyzed the overall website and its promotional materials for the Slutwalk marches as well as how Chicago's photographic representations privilege the white female body as victim, demonstrating how the reclamation "slut" privileges whiteness. The website depictions normalize how one should react to a system of violence which provides negative implications for women and men who are situated in a postfeminist rape culture. Positioning my analysis within Communication/Cultural Studies and Women's and Gender studies, I contributed to the literature about rape culture and postfeminist activism through my analysis of Slutwalk. By employing intersectionality from feminist theory and textual analysis, I demonstrated how Slutwalk's promotion of bodied activism naturalized postfeminism and excludes Black women from participating.

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