Blog of Feminist Activism

The feminist activism of charliegrrl and co

Reclaim the Night North

Posted by charliegrrl on March 5, 2008

Me, Northwest Feminists and Sisters marched throughout Manchester March 1st for Reclaim the Night North. It pissed it down…tis what you get up north. You also get the delerious and fervent queer activists protesting against feminism…but I’ll come onto this later…

Below photo was knicked from Laura’s ace write up on The F Word.

So about 300-400 women and men…oh sorry and trans and queer people…marched through Manchester on a Saturday night protesting against violence against women- that’s right violence against women, not men nor trans people. We marched through the drinking areas and got the usual abuse from men- ‘You’re all a bunch of lesbians!’ Yeah so what if we fucking are. Men frequently approached the women’s march to harrass. For some reason we had loads of police stewarding the march. Last year we had no police and the RTN march went fine. The police aint our friends so I didn’t appreciate their presence this year. If we can’t march without police protection, we aren’t really reclaiming the night.

We arrived back at the Student’s Union for talks. Ju Gosling, a disability rights activist, gave a good speech about how disabled women experience violence from men in the home and on the streets. She talked about how disabled women are encouraged to stay indoors for their own safety, rather than, for those who are able to leave their home, the right to roam free from violence.

Another woman speaker, not sure of her name, spoke about setting up the first rape crisis centre in Brighton. She spoke about her and her Sisters setting it up on a shoe string. She then talked about how more recently a family member was raped, so they tried to contact a local rape crisis centre and there wasn’t one.

I did enjoy the march but there were a few things I had issue with…

We had to listen to a female New Labour MP…who was obviously trying to convince us that New Labour are a pro-woman party. Cos why..? They have a few middle class women in parliament..? Support rape crisis centres, give us a affordable housing and a decent living wage, stop cutting our benefits, free asylum seeking women from detention and start helping women exit prostitution…and then maybe we will consider New Labour to be pro-woman.

We also had a speech from the Manchester University Women’s Officer. I know she’s a nice lass, but I cringed when she was on a rant about how student women are the best type of feminist activists because they are bright and ‘educated’. EEEEEEKKKK! Very middle class thing to say.

Why were there men on the march..? Were they there to reclaim the night for us..? Can we not do anything now without men being present..? No, it’s not revolutionary or 21st century for men to march against violence in what is traditionally a women only march. We aren’t making anymore advances for women’s rights by including men in Reclaim the Night. We are in fact removing another women only event off the feminist calender. 

And as for the anti-feminist protest at the march organised by queer and trans activists…well I think I’ll save my vehemence for the next blog post. Yes you better believe it. So many women only spaces have been attacked and destroyed in Amercia by the queer and trans activists…and it’s happening here.

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8 Responses to “Reclaim the Night North”

  1. Michelle said

    I’m confused about the trans/queer protest, because the publicity material for this march seemed to make it clear that trans-people were welcome on the march, so what were they actually protesting?!

    And I agree about the women’s officer’s comment, v. class-biased. Not to mention that student activism can be very insular and could do with a dose of the ‘real world’.

  2. Debs said

    “I know she’s a nice lass, but I cringed when she was on a rant about how student women are the best type of feminist activists because they are bright and ‘educated’.”

    I wish you hadn’t told me that, I’m already having a bad enough day as it is! Bloody hell, she must have her head up her arse. And I’m very much looking forward to your post about the trans/queer thing. xx

  3. stormy said

    “Why were there men on the march..? Were they there to reclaim the night for us..? Can we not do anything now without men being present..?”

    It’s a good way to obliterate Herstory. RTN was an important feminist milestone, rebellion for being told “stay off the streets laydees”.

    Seeings all and sundry can (or want to) tag along, hardly makes the IMPORTANT statement about the violence that females face because they are female. It turns RTN into some non-descript tranz mardi-gras. It ain’t a party bois, it’s a POLITICAL statement. Get off your backsides and organise your own damn march. Or are males sooo damn lazy, even when they claim to be ‘women’ that they still expect females to do all the work for them?

    You bois don’t know the first thing about what it is to be female. And it ain’t about slappin’ on some lippy and a pretty frock.

    BTW, I have decided today I am going to call myself tranz because I often wear men’s clothing. Yup, I shall now dedicate myself to infiltrating tranz spaces and disrupting them. How does it feel to have the stiletto on the other foot?

  4. stormy said

    You’re a wanker Berkeley.

    It’s teh Patriarchy and the Tranz movement that UPHOLD the gender binary; both dictate how females/males should stereotypically dress.

    So it is me, one who is currently attired in a combo of unisex slippers, ‘female’ trousers, ‘male’ fleece (because it has nifty pockets and was dirt cheap), that is truly revolutionary and breaking the gender dichotomy crap.

    You were only worth 50p as a bet:
    Would a complete tosser comment on this thread? …

    I won!

  5. stormy said

    Charlie, you just erased the tosser as I hit ‘submit’! 😛

  6. polly styrene said

    Ah yes stormy the gender binary, more of that anon, but just a taster for the moment to a certain person whose name begins with T.

    Dear T – If you really think that wearing a dress and make up makes you a ‘woman’ do you think this tends to

    a)eradicate gender stereotypes
    b)reinforce gender stereotypes

    Discuss…..

  7. polly styrene said

    But yes I have decided I am trans too, because I am often mistaken for a teenage scally. Therefore in future I shall be going to all trans events/groups organised in the Greater Manchester area.

  8. Sal said

    I’m sure some of these comments are a little tongue’n’cheek, but what annoys me is that when I first went to a Gender Identity Clinic (I hate what they’re called too), as a transsexual, they asked me when I was going transitioning and going full time as a female – I asked whether females aren’t allow to wear jeans, tops, hoodies and canvas trainers? Apparently not in the eyes of the mostly male psychiatrists – it seems that you have to become a Stepford Wife to tick their pen pushing!

    So why are you here they asked? I’m transsexual I kept telling them… I don’t need my gender reassigning – its never changed, its my birth sex I cannot identify/reconcile with.

    Sal

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