Full disclosure: I have had misgivings about Slutwalk from day one. "Slut" has never been a term used against me. Though the idea of reclaiming the word seems to resonate with many young, white heterosexual women, it is not clear to me that it's something that can unify all women. It felt alienating and exclusionary to me from the start.
Reading Benjamin Nugent’s book American Nerd in preparation for writing this column I came across a reference to research by UC Santa Barbara linguistics professor Mary Bucholtz, which argues that nerd culture manifests "hyperwhiteness" in its language. Nugent didn’t elaborate on this much in his book but he’d also written a review of her research for the New York Times, and I thought the whole idea of how nerd culture is racialized was really interesting…and pretty problematic.