SlutWalk pp 139-158 | Cite as

SlutWalk Hierarchies and Organizers’ Roles

  • Kaitlynn Mendes


Engaging with the work of social movement scholar Manuel Castells, this chapter explores theories of horizontal, leaderless and ‘postmedia’ movements in relation to SlutWalk. Drawing from interviews with 22 organizers from around the world, I demonstrate the ways that SlutWalks differed in their organizational structures, strategies and priorities, which in some cases shifted dramatically over time. Unlike other contemporary social movements which scholars have argued are leaderless and operate through consensus (Castells 2012), this chapter demonstrates that all satellite groups had leaders, with some being more visible or prominent than others, raising questions about how SlutWalk, and perhaps feminist activism more generally, fits into broader theories of networks and horizontalism. Furthermore, while some groups adopted policies of collaboration, equitable distribution of labour and consensus, others openly embraced hierarchy, and established procedures for maintaining it. The chapter concludes by exploring the challenges organizers who were new to activism faced, their strategies for overcoming these challenges, and their views on the importance of professional vs. social media skills in an age of ‘postmedia’ (Castells 2012), in which social movements have the potential to bypass the traditional media to spread their message.


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Copyright information

© Kaitlynn Mendes 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kaitlynn Mendes
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LeicesterUK

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