Tag Archives: activism

Mon Corps, Mon Choix: Slut Walk Paris 2012

Paris was dreary and grey yesterday, and pedestrians walked the streets with their heads hung low beneath umbrellas and hoodies, hurrying to escape the rain. But unlike the rest of the city, Paris’s sixth arrondissement was alive. Here, feminists gathered to protest sexism, rape and victim-blaming as part of the international movement, Slut Walk. Slut Walk started in Toronto in 2011 after a police officer claimed, “Women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.” His statement caused thousands to take to the streets, and Slut Walk quickly spread to cities across North America and Europe.

I joined the marchers of Slut Walk Paris 2012 on their trek across the city, which ended at Place du Panthéon. The men and women brandished signs painted with anti-rape-culture slogans like, “mon corps, mon choix,” my body, my choice, and “le viol est un programme politique,” rape is a political program. At the front of the march, a woman with a megaphone led the protesters in their chants. “Le sexisme est une maladie sociale,” they yelled in unison. Sexism is a social disease.

The march concluded at Place du Panthéon, where France’s national moto, liberté, égalité, fraterité, loomed overhead. In the background, the Eiffel Tower stood like a sentinel guarding this historic, traditional city, where classic gender roles maintain a significant, yet waning, presence.

Attending Slut Walk in Paris was an opportunity I could not miss, although I’m still not sure how I feel about the movement as a whole. I invite you to read critiques of Slut Walk here and here. I support the movement’s message– there is never a justification for rape and sexual violence– but I’m still not sure I support the means as the most powerful, effective way to combat rape-culture and victim-blaming. Even so, the energy and determination of these protesters was contagious, and I found myself breaking my journalist’s rules and chanting and marching along, side by side in solidarity with fellow feminists.

Le sexisme est une maladie sociale. 

Amen.

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Kenya Dig It?

I left the golden grasslands of Kenya to find myself back in Arizona, packing my bags yet again to embark upon another journey: my second year in college, my foray into journalism, my ceaseless internal tempest pulling me in and pushing me out, out, out into unknown waters. All the while, my heart longed for Kenya, the Maasai Mara,  the warm, loving faces of the young women and men I befriended there.

Luckily, my work in Kenya followed me to Tucson. For the past seven months I have been producing, slowly but surely, a video about the Nabolu Girls’ Centre, Women’s Empowerment Breakthrough and the Kenya Dig It? project. The energetic, exalting voices of my Maasai sisters have been tickling my ears and the smiling faces that go with them have been beaming up at me from a computer screen the entire time. Because of this video, the love and friendship I found in Kenya has never left me, and it never will.

Share this video, spread the word. Check out the Nabolu Facebook page, go to our website. If you feel the desire to help, then help, in any way you can.

Most importantly, ask questions. If you want more background on Maasai culture, girls’ education in Kenya, the Nabolu Girls’ Centre, Women’s Empowerment Breakthrough and why you should care about all of this, feel free to get in touch with me. If I don’t have the answers, I will point you to someone who does.

And remember, this cause is both local and global. Supporting this project helps girls in Narok as well as girls in Arizona pursue their dreams.

Kenya dig it?

Smiles and all the best,

Savannah

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