Feminists have long been accused of exaggerating figures and statistics to make their case, but a feminist journalist writing for Time Magazine’s website took this tendency towards overstatement a bit far when she inflated the numbers at a Los Angeles “SlutWalk” by 5000%.
CNN.com explains the concept of a “SlutWalk”:
SlutWalks started in 2011 in response to a flippant remark reportedly made by a police officer after a spate of sexual assaults on the campus of Canada's York University. According to local media reports, the officer said: "Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."
Women in Toronto, outraged by the comment, took to the streets dressed in lingerie and skimpy clothing, to spread the message that women should not be subject to sexual violence regardless of what they're wearing.
The notion spread, and SlutWalks now occur year-round across the globe.
This particular “SlutWalk” was organized by former stripper Amber Rose, who now works as an actress and model.
Rose created a website titled "Amber Rose SlutWalk" specifically to promote the event. The site explains:
[W]e recognize that shaming, oppression, assault and violence have disproportionately impacted marginalized groups including women of color, transgender people and sex workers, and thus we are actively working to center these groups in this event… We deeply value the voices of marginalized groups and have a strong desire to find common ground among all of our intersections.
But feminist journalist Erica Williams Simon refused to let petty facts get in the way of her promotion of the SlutWalk. In an op-ed for Time Magazine’s website, Simon claimed that “nearly 15,000” attended the SlutWalk. After the inaccuracy was pointed out, the figure was changed to merely “thousands”—still an order of magnitude larger than reality.
Per Breitbart.com, the original version of Simon’s account read:
On Saturday, nearly 15,000 people swarmed downtown Los Angeles in the 80-degree sun with signs, glitter, flags and t-shirts — or, as was the case with some women, no shirts at all. The solidarity was palpable and the energy electric but this was no 5K fundraiser or Donald Trump for President rally. No, these people of all ages, races, genders and various states of undress gathered for an event called Amber Rose’s SlutWalk. And I, goody-two-shoes wife and churchgoer — was a proud supporter.
Compounding the attendance error, Simon’s piece strongly suggests that she was present at the march—she describes the scene and the “electric” atmosphere in detail—but it now appears that she did not attend at all.
When pressed by Breitbart.com reporter Milo Yiannopoulos on this question on Twitter, Simon would only state that her piece “was not a recap of the march” and would not comment directly on whether or not she was actually in attendance.
Simon clearly intended to promote the SlutWalk as a victory for feminism, but by stretching the truth beyond all rational bounds, she has lent credence to those who accuse feminists of inflating statistics to make their case.