Even at SlutWalk, the international movement of protest marches calling for an end to rape culture, victim blaming and slut shaming, women can't escape being demeaned for their sexual agency. Now, a video of a woman passionately shutting down a misogynistic interviewer for calling her a "slut" has gone viral.
In the clip, filmed at a SlutWalk in Los Angeles in October, the right-wing US talk show host and pastor Jesse Lee Peterson asks a young woman named Samirah if she is a slut – and her response has won praise from all over the world and seen her hailed an "icon" and a "queen".
"Jesse, yes," she responds, clearly exhausted by the question. "We are all sluts, you're a slut, all these dudes behind you are sluts, your cameraman's a slut, your PA is a slut and your mic's a slut."
We are all sluts, you're a slut, all these dudes behind you are sluts, your cameraman's a slut, your PA is a slut and your mic's a slut.
When asked what makes her a slut, she says: "I own my body, my body is not a political playground, it’s not a place for legislation, it’s mine, and it's my future... ayyyy," she says. Peterson then asks how old she is – to which she responds pointedly: "Grown" – before assuming that she "sleeps with a lot of men".
"No actually, I'm a virgin," she quips, before explaining her interpretation of "slut", which she says doesn't depend on a woman's sexual history. "A slut is what I make it, a boss, getting money, taking the mic, turning life around, taking over Hollywood," she asserts.
"A slut is a word for anybody owning their sexuality, turning up, not letting Jesse twist their words."
The clip, which was filmed at the 2017 SlutWalk, went viral on Thursday after it was shared by Twitter user @ChrisLuvsErrBody, whose tweet has racked up almost 150k retweets and 387k likes at the time of writing.
The Twittersphere was quick to praise her.
An icon exuding GROWN ENERGY, Queen of her body, and showing the world we are all sluts! Ya mama a slut, PA a slut, that microphone a slut! Jesse and his lame ass shirt will learn to deal. Today we stan Samirah Raheem: Queen! 👑 pic.twitter.com/K57gPt5Mrd— Jesse’s Lame Ass Shirt 👕 (@_DocSoos) July 13, 2018
“why would god want you to be a slut?”— justine (@biticonjustine) July 12, 2018
“he would want me to be whatever I want to be cuz god believes in choice and you should know that jesse thats why you’re allowed to wear this lame ass shirt”
god bless her, amen to everything she said and fuck jesse in the striped shirt https://t.co/VANUMO9rjc
why do men think they have the right to ask women about personal information and publicly demean them for views??This video highlights everything wrong with a culture that places a value on women due to their promiscuity/sexual partners. shoutout to these queens for clapping back— Gaby (@gxby__) July 16, 2018
I feel like they have different definitions of the word slut. Women, i guess, are using as a word of empowerment against the usual use and definition. But there are still people who are going to pick at them because of how they want to change the meaning of it.— Jeremiah Quinn (@__Kwinn) July 13, 2018
Samirah has garnered thousands of new Instagram followers since the clip's viral success and she thanked everyone for their support on Saturday. "My body is not a political playground," she wrote, adding that she'd had an "interesting journey" growing up and that she was surprised to now have a voice in the public domain.
“My body is not a political playground” 🗣 Growing up it’s been a very interesting journey I’ve always been a walking contradiction. I never thought I’d have a voice like this. I was often ashamed of being opinionated and louder than most. I tried to make myself smaller to fit into social circles. I genuinely thank you guys for your overwhelming love & support. There’s no more hiding. Thank y’all for forcing me to step into my unapologetic tongue.
"I’ve always been a walking contradiction. I never thought I’d have a voice like this. I was often ashamed of being opinionated and louder than most. I tried to make myself smaller to fit into social circles. I genuinely thank you guys for your overwhelming love & support. There’s no more hiding. Thank y’all for forcing me to step into my unapologetic tongue."