Archive | July, 2012

MoD: Go fur-free!

14 Jul

So I went on PETA’s ‘Spare the Bears’ march today – and I’ll tell you why…Image

It takes the entire hide of a Canadian black bear to make just one cap for the Queen’s Guard. They are killed inhumanely, many are shot and die slowly from blood loss, gangrene and others may escape, suffering for days on end until they die of an infection, blood loss or starvation.

PETA has suggested numerous alternatives such as Stella McCartney’s plastic fibre design which passed the MoD’s ridiculous tests and is water repellent and fitted with air vents and also cheaper!! Yet the MoD has consistently for the past 20 years or so made excuses like “it lacks life”. Really?? Using such an excuse in this age when there are so many faux etc.. alternatives is a bit pathetic.

The fact is – these caps have no military value whatsoever, they serve no purpose other than a ceremonial one. Most tourists are horrified when they find out the caps are made from real bearskin. They have not been worn ‘in battle’ for hundreds of years. How can killing and maiming a species that will soon face the threat of extinction if this continues, be justified?

“I understand and appreciate the importance of uniforms, but continuing to use real fur in the 21st century is inexcusable, regardless of ‘tradition’,” said Ricky Gervais.

Tradition is no excuse for the continuance of such unnecessary cruelty.

Slutwalk

4 Jul

The slutwalk protests began last year on the 3rd March following an officer in Toronto’s comments about Rape – in his exact words “women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized”.

Since then, the protests have spread to cities all over the globe, including my own in London.

The core message at heart of these protests was “yes means yes and no means no” regardless of how women dress. Over 80% of rape victims do not report the assault to the police and to hear comments that partially shift responsibility of rape onto the victim is even more damaging. Most of these women feel that they will be blamed because of their dress or alcohol intake…

The message should be DON’T RAPE – rather than DON’T GET RAPED – which is what many were casually suggesting. For example, in 1999, Italy’s highest court ruled that a woman who wore jeans couldn’t be raped as it is impossible to remove a pair of pants “without the collaboration of the person wearing them.” To know that that is the attitude within the legal system that is supposed to be protecting us is horrifying.

There has been some criticism to the protests however, which focused on the way they were aiming to deliver this message. “Slut” has always been a term used as an insult, so attempting to “reclaim” it seems pointless. Society’s bi-polar attitude towards women’s sexuality “slut” if they are sexually active and “frigid” for not accepting advances – is not addressed.

Some feminists decided not to participate in the protest as they don’t want to be seen as accepting the term. They did not want their sexuality to be defined in male terms. As a result, the campaign offered to change its name – welcoming a choice of 4 options: Slutwalk, End the Shame, Yes Means Yes and Shame Stop. In the end the name remained but the fact that some of the organisers wanted to change it highlighted how divided different branches of feminism were on the protests.

The point of the protest – to change the attitude towards rape and allow women to have the freedom to dress however they wish without allowing to be a factor in blaming them as if they are “asking for it” – is a positive one. What a woman wear should not be relevant to the guilt of her attacker. Critics who accuse the protests of “celebrating sluttiness” are missing the focal point of the movement.

The name and nature of the protests shouldn’t be criticised, they were effective in attracting attention in order to deliver the key message: blame the rapist not the victim – whatever they were wearing.