by site-leader Shawna
This past Saturday, we at Hollaback! Bmore put on what ended up being an amazing event, but I feel compelled to share a not-so-awesome part of it. We began to plan PROCLAIM NO SHAME! when we stumbled upon this photo. Originally taken during the time of US Bikini Laws preventing women from “showing too much” or risk jail time, we decided to do an updated version. (Note: the photo recreation is waiting for final edits. We will update as soon as it is finished) We wanted it to reflect the entire history of all the ways bodies are held up to unrealistic beauty standards and gender norms. We wanted it to be more inclusive (Hello? There’s a lot of white, able-bodied cis-women in that photo) to reflect the judgements society wields on size, skin color, ability, gender identity, and class. We wanted it to be an afternoon in the sun, having fun in our bathing suits, eating some pizza pies, without feeling objectified, sexualized, or judged for who we are.
And then, of course, came the onlookers. I get it. It’s not often you see a bunch of women and gender-queer folks with no cis-men around in their bathing suits in public. That’s part of why we had this event, to reclaim some space for ourselves. But we also chose the somewhat secluded and rarely used Woodberry Park in order for all attendees to feel more comfortable being part of this protest. So, sure, we expected a few looks from passerby. What we did not expect was someone to get out a video camera and film us as a group, in clear view, and not even hesitate to put the camera away until I broke mine out, flipping the focus back on him. This video is what followed.
We would love to hear comments from attendees or those who like the idea of the event or those who have experienced someone filming them. Please, share your experiences in the comments below. I admit I felt angry the rest of the day, not even getting a chance to feel that natural high from planning and executing a successful and inspiring event. I feel like this guy robbed me of that awesome feeling. I hope that my interaction with him kept other attendees feeling safe, comfortable, and confident that Hollaback! has your back.
Big thanks to our speakers Erricka Wonder Voice Bridgeford, Kate Bishop, and Lucas McCahill, our photographer Tiffanie Griffin, our generous pizza donor Joe Squared, and our amazing volunteers, board, and attendees.