I’ve been writing a lot about demonstrations, protests, nearly frothing at the mouth while yelling profanity, and taking my top off, all in the name of exercising bodily autonomy as a person who has two X-chromosomes. I mean a lot. This entry concerns a summary version of what is contained in all those posts, with links to the original writing.
The inciting incident concerned a woman in a sun dress, who felt particularly brave one afternoon while approaching a pro-life group that appears at the same intersection every weekend, to the Great Annoyance of the entire neighbourhood and virtually all passersby. She said “If a woman is raped and conceives from it, should she be forced to carry the child?” and was answered with “If she’s dressed like you, she should.” When I found out she wanted to organize the community to hold them accountable, I flipped all my shits. Read about it here.
So, exactly a week later, I went back to the location of the inciting incident, and demonstrated against their blatant display of misogyny. I took off my clothes (down to my skivvies), and was promptly slut-shamed, told I am disgusting, and later learned that these individuals were telling other people that they don’t deserve the right to be alive or that I am asking to be raped and, as such, deserve it. I like to think of my body as a fucking amusement park that’s fabulous enough that I shouldn’t be shamed or raped for walking around naked as the day I was born. Read more of my thoughts here.
I also started to think about how body-policing impacts women, racialized persons, and people living with one or more disabilities, as a result of that demonstration. The short version is, fuck them. No one is the body police (that statement now takes up one side of my sign).
So I returned another week later. We had more conversation about the policing of women’s bodies, in part due to how the first week played out, and in part due to how my own thoughts played out when I made words with my mouth that day. Powerful stuff. We also had more conversations with women (in public) who had finally found a space (with us) to vocalize their grief from violent sexual assaults. Humbling moments. Read more about it here.
I had been invited the next day, to take part in organizing a pro-choice group at a local college, who were planning a demonstration against the so-called “new abortion caravan”; of which I was unaware until I had been invited to help organize. This inspired me to write an open letter to all people who believe for personal reasons that they are pro-life (i.e., “I wouldn’t have an abortion so I must be pro-life!”) to debunk the anti-choice rhetoric espoused by people who are actually pro-lifers. Read more about things like why pro-abortion sluts are a myth here.
Then we demonstrated against the “new abortion caravan”, which is where I was swearing at yelling volume and nearly frothing at the mouth, during a confrontation with silent pro-lifers who assembled themselves in defence of the slut-shaming shitheads from the street corner where I had already been demonstrating for two weeks. I was also slut-shamed by a cop for being topless (it’s legal) while holding a sign that read “No one is the body police!”. Read more about my experience at this demonstration here.
Learning that the people who are driving the dismembered fetus sideshow vans across the country, would actually put women behind bars or in padded cells for any premature termination of pregnancy (including miscarriages), caused me to take a very intense and quite morbid look back on emotionally traumatic experiences I have, of being involved in various capacities in the lives of women who had suffered miscarriages. I am totally against slapping the cuffs on these women in that moment of most acute grief, and forcing them through a murder trial until they can prove that they didn’t induce an abortion, and you can read about why here if you dare. Be warned: it’s probably the most difficult read on this entire issue.
Finally, we returned to the street corner on a rainy day, and were surprised to notice that all of the slut-shaming, rape-speak, and other horribly offensive turns of phrase have completely stopped there, as a result of my “vociferous” ranting at the people of the “new abortion caravan”. While I take that as a major victory, I now feel a responsibility to keep the public thinking about whether or not they are actually pro-life, simply because they would personally never terminate a pregnancy. Apparently the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform is taking me more seriously as an anonymous wall of text than as a frothy-mouthed topless assclown (surprise!), because they quoted my blog post about this particular week of demonstrations here and here (note the emphasis on how I presented my body — which was perfectly legal, despite their condemnations of “obscenity”).
In two days, I am back there again. My sign will be different. My purpose is going to be different. And I suspect, my experience will be different again too. The rain and hail can stay away this time — I wouldn’t mind.