Last year, I really wanted to attend Slutwalk London, but unfortunely due to them changing the inital date, I couldn't go as it clashed with my Ladyfest Essex event which I had been planning for months on end, I did however help them get a band to perform at the event.
I was happy when I heard they would be doing another march this year and this time there was nothing to stop me!
Slutwalk was all started because of a comment from a Canadian policeman saying "women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized."
This, quite rightly, sparked off the first 'Slutwalk' in Toronto, which then spread like wildfire as women globally got angry, and Slutwalk events started happening all over the world.
The main reason I choose to support Slutwalks, is because I agree with why it was started in the first place- the victim should never be to blame for the rape, no matter what she might have been wearing at the time. Some women have also decided to embrace the Slutwalk as they want to reclaim the word 'slut' and turn it into something positive. I have no problem with any woman that wants to embrace this word, but I am not personally interested in doing that myself. I think it's a real shame though that some feminists have decided not to support Slutwalk, mainly for this reason. I got into a discussion with someone who was adamant that Slutwalk only panders to what men want- for women to be disposable sexual objects. Yes, some women at the march choose to write 'slut' on themselves (quite similar to Kathleen Hanna back in her Bikini Kill days) or decide to march in short skirts, or even in their underwear- but it's because they're making a point- they're saying "this body is mine, I can wear what I want, without the fear of being raped".
Yesterday the march gathered nearby Hyde Park Corner, before setting off from the top of Picadilly before finishing with a rally at Trafalgar Square. The march was probably the most diverse crowd I've seen at a feminist minded protest, they were many women, but also men, as well as transgender people, queer groups, men's groups, political groups, mothers with children, people with bikes, people with dogs (one with a sign saying "I'm here for the bitches") people dressed in their underwear, people dressed in their everyday clothes, people with masks, people with handmade banners and so much more. My favourite of the banners had 'Buffy wouldn't stand for this shit' but other great ones had 'Sluts and plebs of the world unite', 'I love my cunt', 'Todd Akin is a legitimate asshole' and 'How to prevent rape 1.don't rape, 2.see #1'
The crowd was lively with drumming, dancing and lots of chanting- "It's a dress, not a yes" "Wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no" and more.
I didn't stay for the whole rally but I saw Anastasia Richardson, the founder of Slutwalk London, who is very inspiring - she's only about 19 years old, but has done an amazing job organising the events. I also saw Subi from Cambridge based group 'Those Pesky Dames' who I recently discovered thanks to the Cherry Healey 'How to get a life' programme- they make loads of great feminist videos so go check them out here.
Subi spoke of her experience as a rape survivor, it was disappointing but not surprising to hear about how she had been treated by the police who told her "it could have been worse you know...it could have been gang rape..."
Slutwalk London currently have a petition to get more protection for rape survivors and for more prosecutions for rapists- if you haven't already you should really sign it.
It seemed like the tickets for this gig had been sitting on my dining room table forever, probably because Patti Smith is one of my favourite artists all time, not only because of her amazing songs, but her way with lyrics, words, poetry and also her tireless activism for anti war issues too, I long to be able to write with the beauty that she does. Anyway, needless to say, I was excited for this gig, so the week leading it up to it dragged along slowly.
I really wanted to be as close to the front as possible, so we made it to the venue as early as we could, and joined the back of the queue, a mixed crowd of all ages- some fans that had probably seen Patti Smith back in the seventies and newer fans maybe introduced to her music by her recent album 'Banga'.
Luckily I knew that she didn't have a support act from talking to others that had been to other dates on the tour, so we found our place in the second row, and waited for about two hours while the only entertainment was an endless stream of reggae music, you could feel the impatience growing all around us as we waited for our idol to emerge.
The tension was finally broken when the band arrived on stage around 9pm, the drumkit surrounded by red roses and the opening notes of 'Dancing Barefoot' played. Immediately you could see how genuinely happy and excited Patti was to be playing to us, she smiled continually and waved at the audience as she sang, like an excited child full of innocence. When she finished the song to say hello, she commented that the energy from the audience was so amazing it was making all her blood go 'zing!'
The gig turned out to be the best I've ever seen. There was no fancy light show, or special effects, but the beauty of her music was enough. They played a fantastic mix of classics like 'Free Money', 'Because The Night', 'Pissing in the River' and tracks off Banga, including 'This is the Girl' (dedicated to Amy Winehouse and 'Fuji San'
The interaction with the audience and what she had to say also made the gig. Patti made a fantastic speech about the right to pray as we choose, in a clear reference to Pussy Riot, made references to taking acids, watching for UFO's and playing at CBGB's. At one point, the guitarist played one of his own songs, and his played, she came down from the stage and shook everyone's hands at the front of the stage.
As if the show hadn't been amazing enough, the encore was still to come, which started off with Patti putting a plaster on her finger saying 'You might have won round one, but I'm ready for round two!" before launching into 'Banga' complete with barking and howling from all band members, followed swiftly with a rousing version of 'People have the Power' which warped into 'Gloria' (even though that had been played at the end of the main set- to probably the biggest audience reaction as we all sang unified) and an extended version of 'Rock N Roll Nigger' complete with Patti pulling all her guitar strings off and throwing petals from the flowers by the drumkit at the audience.
A gig that will surely go down in musical history....
Just a brief update on the show. As you are probably aware the show used to have two versions- the 2 hour show that was syndicated across several stations, and the live 1 hour on ARFM. well since I have now moved to a better time slot on ARFM as well as expanding to 2 hours- (Thursdays 9pm UK Time) I have decided to no longer do the syndicated version and focus my energy on the ARFM show. Partly because I just don't have the time for 2 two hour shows and also I want to make the ARFM show the best it can be, the show is always more enjoyable live. I am grateful to all the stations that took the show over the years, but now is the time for a change. I will still be uploading the show to both my own mixcloud and the ARFM Mixcloud- both links can be found on the side of this blog.
In the mean time, here is last Thursday's show- enjoy!
Hi I'm Hayley,
I'm an internet radio dj. I present the radio show Pigtails and Army Boots which is all female fronted music and available for syndication.
I love music it's my life!
I'm a vegan and animal rights activist.I'm also a feminist.
I love to write and read.