Tuesday, 14 June 2011

From Sunrise to Slutwalk...to space....

I had the great pleasure of being my beloveds plus one at the Sunrise Festival near Bruton.

He spoke about his book, Shroom, and I listened intently and tried to think of an intelligent and unexpected question to ask him.
Maybe it was the heat or the massive quantities of chai I had consumed, or maybe a little something altogether else, but I actually only managed the listening intently aspect of my plan.

Here he is talking in a tipi.

And here are some other sights from the festival...

It was a real pleasure to fall out of time in the way that festivals (or travelling) allow you to do.
After I purge a certain sense of anxiety, usually on the first day, I relax into the lovely routine of having very little to do.
My one regret was that I am not at the point of performing rope at festivals yet. But it can't be too far away I think...Until then.

I also attending the Slutwalk which took place in London recently.
Despite my not knowing many people in the London crowd (I was joined by two friends, one male, one female), there was an almost festival atmosphere.
Unfortunately it didn't come out - but this woman's sign read 'Buffy wouldn't stand for this shit'.

I was pleased to see that the walk had attracted a wide range of people.
To use somewhat clumsy group categories for a moment, just so you can visualise, there were straight looking women and men, men in women's clothing, women in men's clothing, Trans-women, femmes, butches and queers (I use the word queer to mean non-normative. I guess 'normative' in this case refers to people dressed conservatively who I assume to be heterosexual. I don't attach a judgement to this - I have nothing against straight looking straight people! And I apologise if my use of a reclaimed word - queer, slut etc - is offensive to anyone) of sorts of all shapes and sizes.

I'm pretty certain, despite my vaguely buffer arm muscles, vaguely unusual dress sense and shortish hair, that I'm 'read' as straight-femme by most people...Being suddenly surrounded by interesting people makes one consider how one appears...

It was interesting too to consider how frequently fear of sexual attack shapes the way I dress and behave in public.
I was particularly intrigued and moved by one trans woman talking about this - about how before she transitioned she (then he) really didn't understand how it is to be a woman in terms of social interaction - from walking down the road to everything else.
Of course, men get attacked and raped too - and women commit sexual assault. Rape is an attack about power, made by the physically powerful against those weaker than themselves.
I wonder how it must feel for men at events like this one to be constantly constructed as the more powerful, as the aggressors etc, when these discourses of masculinity and maleness do not fit with their experience of themselves at all.

In all, I feel it is an important movement, one which highlights the fallacy of victim-blaming culture (i.e. the 'they asked for it' mentality) whilst being pro-sex and pro-sexy - however one likes to manifest sexiness.

I wore my doc marten boots. They make me feel sexy.

After my adventure on the march, I had time to visit a science-fiction exhibition which is currently on at the British Library.
This was inspiring and disheartening in equal measure - there are so, so many books I've not read...

A beautiful sculpture, the reference for which I missed...But I liked the aerial imagery.

And finally, I went training at circus space.

Then I went home to bed.


  1. Ahhh, it drives me insane that we're still at that 'don't draw attention to yourself or you're asking for it' level! I thought/hoped we'd got past the "she was asking for it, your honour", but I guess not. A few years ago the local police ran a TV campaign aimed at women that, though it it didn't make particular mention of clothing, went over all the old ground of 'don't walk alone at night if you can help it, stick to lighted areas, ask someone to walk you to your car, stay away from dangerous areas' and so on. I know they meant well, but it just perpetuates the notion that any woman who doesn't do those things is fair game. We need a TV campaign that says 'get out there on masse, wear what you like, walk dark streets any time of night, alone if you like...it's your right and no can tell you otherwise.' I hate, hate, HATE the fact that as a woman I'm always aware, always on my guard, always a little afraid if I go out by myself at night. I have two little girls, and I don't want them to have to be like that when they're older. We shouldn't have to live like that. And I think these dominant notions of masculinity do great harm to men as well. *sigh* rant over now! You look like you had a wonderful weekend...he he, I like my doc martens too, for the same reason!

  2. Fantastically thoughtful, I really enjoyed reading this. I also think Mermaid's response sums up the idiocy of our over-sexualised responses to women and girls.

    I do know that I walked or cycled everywhere, before children stopped my more nocturnal wanderings. At no point did it ever occur to me that I would be in danger, I viewed my city as my territory and tended to stride. Foolhardy? probably... but in all the time I walked out I never felt at risk and suspect my attitude and size stood me in good stead.

  3. Glad the post was thought provoking...I am brewing up a new one, about a recent mini-exhibition and new ideas...just got to find non-tired time to sit down and type it :)