I’ve been writing lots ‘n lots about ongoing protests I participate in, in the name of women’s bodily autonomy and in the name of ending rape culture and slut-shaming. The time has come for me to briefly summarize my second month of weekly demonstrations. This post will include links to the entire collection of second-month writing I’ve posted, for your convenience. To read the summary version of my first month of anti-misogynist activism, just click here.
So shortly after I posted about what I had accomplished in the first month (including the inciting incident which prompted someone else to start organizing these demonstrations), I stepped out for my fourth week of protest. Of significance, I was approached for an interview with a youth-focused media co-op organization called Y57. I had changed my sign that week, and that had a strange effect on the outcome of my demonstration — but I wouldn’t know about just how strange until a week later. However, the immediate effect was that the end to slut-shaming and rape-speak we had observed a week earlier was now reversed. Read about week four in this post.
Somehow or other, but most probably the effect of gender dysphoria from week four’s round of Blatant Sexism Fuelled By Being Socially Read As Female, my thoughts went to a very dark place. I began thinking about how many people I have personally lost to aggravated suicide, as well as people I have survived in a very hostile social atmosphere that frequently robs us all of some truly exceptional souls. But I also began thinking about this because of the case of Bei Bei Shuai, who attempted suicide while 30 weeks pregnant, and who is now facing 45 to 65 years in prison on charges of murder and attempted feticide in the state of Indiana. Read more about it if you dare.
And then week five came. It was raining heavily, and with my politically impersonal sign already written out (atypical for me), I stepped out in attire that obscured my shape and gender. And that’s the week that all the weird came out in hostile force. I never before believed that I was actually safer in my underwear than fully covered, but that is a reality I can no longer ignore. Read more about what it’s like to experience sexism from both sides of the same coin while being dumped on by the skies in this post.
As if that experience wasn’t loaded enough, next came an extremely long and complex discussion about abortion rights, right out of left field. I’ve done my best to recount as much detail as possible, here. Please also take note of the update I added.
Due to part of that conversation involving discussion of rape and incest, and what should or should not be done when a survivor becomes pregnant as a result of her assault; and due to the moment when I realized we wouldn’t have to even have that conversation if people would just stop raping; it became clear to me that I needed to write about rape culture. So I wrote a 101-version of what it all means and how it plays out to produce and maintain both sexual assault and tolerance of this form of epidemic misogyny. Educate thyself here.
And then week six arrived. My presence was initiated first by the Universe (or perhaps the First Nations ancestors?) with a break in the rain, and then by a pro-lifer who wouldn’t take no for an answer, because he wanted desperately to apologize to me for someone else telling me I’m disgusting. He didn’t acknowledge that it is problematic for me to spoken to when I have clearly stated I don’t want to be addressed by him, or that it is also a problem for me to be told that I should be ashamed of myself or that I deserve to be raped. And he didn’t apologize to anyone else. Maybe I’m his favourite. Whatever. Read about how unimpressed I am by this not-pology here, where I focus momentarily on some other aspects of these demonstrations (Gods, no wonder so many people would lose their shit just standing near these people). This was also the week I did the interview with Y57 (who approached me two weeks earlier), which you can read about in their youth-focused article here.
And finally, in between two episodes of police brutality towards another group of demonstrators, week seven arrived and passed without incident from the cops (they must be exhausted from beating the shit out of my friends). And for that I am both surprised and grateful, as I finally attended one of these ongoing anti-body-policing demonstrations without a top on. It was also the same day as SlutWalk (a walk to end slut-shaming and rape culture) and East Side Pride (an LGBTQ+ Pride event which commemorates the riots at Compton’s Cafeteria and Stonewall, which were enormous and violent steps towards the advancement of LGBTQ+ rights). Because the demonstration went for three hours, and because I was actually already sick beforehand, I only had enough energy to attend the demonstration. But you can read more about how race/ethnicity and colonialism influence the absence of communities of colour in events like SlutWalk, and how important East Side Pride really was to me, as well as what came out of my toplessness (spoiler: obscene heckling), here.
In two days, I return. And we are ramping up our efforts to two days a week, to match the presence of the pro-lifers who stand there to interfere with women’s bodily autonomy. I might even bring some flyers: