The capital of Wales was turned into a sea of flesh this weekend after a naked cycling event rolled into town. The fourth annual Cardiff World Naked Bike Ride set off from Cathays Park on Saturday, attracting around 80 riders in the buff, keen to make a bold statement on cyclist safety in the city.


All the hype paid off, with over 5,000 people marching from Piccadilly to Trafalgar Square at Saturday’s London Slutwalk. It’s amazing to think that a global movement was sparked by one policeman’s foolish comment. The first Slutwalk took place back in April in Toronto, where the fateful statement “avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimised” was made.

COMMENT: I'm a bit concerned that there is an elephant joining these slutwalks. Of course, anybody should be allowed to wear anything they like subject to the rules of whatever locality they find themselves in. Of course, nobody should be raped or molested in any way, full stop (period). But the slutwalk protesters are insisting that what people wear does not increase the chances of them being sexually assaulted. I am not convinced that this is true. And for the safety of women themselves and for the success of this present campaign, it is important that whatever the truth is it is faced.

This week, in the news, there has been much discussion about the sexualisation of children through dress and cosmetics. Overall, the stopping of this trend is being hailed as a good move that will, amongst other things, make life safer for children. So, if this claim is true why does it not apply to how adults dress as well?

Personally I think people dress sexy to look sexy. For the young, especially, it is one of the ways we attract a mate. For pragmatic reasons, we should be careful of how we present ourselves in public. Idealistically, all men should be capable of controlling themselves whatever is on display. You don't just help yourself to a tart in a baker's window just because you're hungry.



  1. And what applies to women regarding their dress also applies in some measure to men, especially those active within the homosexual scene. So this isn’t a sexist statement from you, but simply the bleedin’ obvious!

  2. I don’t think anyone is necessarily arguing that provocative dress has no effect on the likelihood of being assaulted (although it is more than clear that modest dress is no sure defence). I think the larger point is that the provocativeness of a person’s dress is not and should not be seen as a license to sexually assault them.

  3. Yes they are, Malcolm. Otherwise I wouldn’t have said it.

    The policeman didn’t say they were asking for it he said they should avoid dressing like sluts to avoid being sexually assaulted.

    If he had said people shouldn’t leave their doors unlocked to avoid people walking in and stealing their stuff people wouldn’t be marching up and down. I think everyone has the right to leave their doors unlocked and that it is morally wrong to walk in to somebody else’s house and steal stuff. But I’m not so stupid as to leave my own door unlocked.

  4. Wait…wait…wait… what has the nude bike ride to “make a bold statement about cyclist safety in the city” got to do with the Slut Walk? The first is a gimmick to attract attention about cyclist safety. The other is a bold statement about – in this case – the way women dress being blamed for sexual assault and rape.

    The difference between ‘sexualized dress’ for children (which is always wrong) and women dressing the way they want is this: Age of Consent.

    Your analogy about the tart in the bakery is well said.

  5. In a just universe, the penalty for being a rapist would be to be reincarnated as a corpulent nudist gent’s bicycle seat (esp. after he’s eaten too many burritos!)

  6. So much of rape is power not sex. In these cases demure dress would not help. Perhaps drunk young males who don’t think women have a right to say “no” would think that dress implies seduction. I woundn’t think anyone else would. In any case, it still requires someone to assume that women don’t have a right to say no. (couched this in terms of rape of women because that is what I know about — not to say that it doesn’t apply across sexes)

  7. I remember having this argument with my former principal at school. I finally ended it by saying, “In a civilized world, a woman would be able to walk naked down the street, and the only thing that would happen is good people would rush out with blankets to cover her and make sure she’s OK.”

    Obviously, when I made that comment, I wasn’t anticipated this kind of… um… voluntary participation.