The Marcha de las Putas Demonstration

I arrived at Parque Central just a little after 10 am, the scheduled start of the Marcha de las Putas (Slut Walk) demonstration. What the heck, these are Ticos and Ticas, being a little late was like being early, Tico time. Still, there were already a fair number of people there, and the protest would grow considerably in the next two hours. As one would expect at a protest/demonstration, there were numerous signs and slogans being shouted, along with some interesting costumes and a fair amount of skin, some of which was used to display more slogans.

It was held right across from the San Jose Cathedral, in San Jose’s Parque Central, and from what I saw the Catholic Church was among the primary targets of the protest, along with the local bishops and other hierarchy thereof. One example would be Bishop Jose Francisco Ulloa who said women should dress “modestly” to not be “dehumanized” and “objectified.” “The sexual gift that God gave women is wrapped in love and fidelity for its ultimate purpose: fertilization.” I guess if you don’t want to make babies then sex is out.

I would say the crux of the disagreement between the protesters and the Bishop is simply that the Bishop believes he has the right (or duty) as God’s emissary on Earth to tell women how they should live their lives as it concerns sex and the women (and men) at the protest disagree. The spark that started the whole Slut Walk movement was a comment by a constable in Toronto who, referring to sexual assaults, said “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” Some women in Toronto objected to the idea that the victims of sexual assault were to blame, not the perpetrator.

The Slut Walk movement has spawned similar protests all over the world. In Costa Rica, the unsurprising target of the protests was not the Canadian constable, but the local Catholic establishment. For those not intimately familiar with Costa Rica, I will point out that Roman Catholicism is the official state religion, as stated in the 1949 constitution. The government and the Church work hand in hand in many areas. For example, the official policy of sex education in schools is ‘abstinence only.’ According to the US Department of State:

The Constitution establishes Catholicism as the state religion and requires that the state contribute to its maintenance… The law allows the Government to provide land to the Catholic Church… Besides notaries public, only officials of the Catholic Church can perform marriages that are automatically recognized by the state.

Like most of Latin America, abortion is illegal in Costa Rica. One slogan read (translated) “If men could give birth, abortion would be legal.” Some of the other slogans and signs: Get your rosaries off of our ovaries… ‘No is ‘no,’ I told you ‘no!’ what part don’t you understand, the ‘n’ or the ‘o?’… Jesus loves sluts/prostitutes… Not the church, not the state, my body is mine… Not saints, not putas, only women… We aren’t still in the Middle Ages… Modesty for pedophile priests…

Not surprisingly, there are several articles on this event to be found on other Costa Rica blogs and online publications. In fact, I can’t think of a single one that failed to cover it. Whatever your opinion may be, it’s hard to deny that sex sells.

Update: I looked on youtube and there were at least 9 videos of the march. As I said before, SEX SELLS!

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