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Cologne attacks: naked artist demonstrating

(16 Posts)
purpleapple1234 Sat 09-Jan-16 22:43:44

This is really AIBU but I thought that I'd get a more reasoned discussion here. But I have my hard hat on anyway!

An artist has demonstrated against the attacks on women in Cologne by posing naked, with a sign saying "Respect us! We are no fair game even when we are naked". I understand the point that she is making: that no matter how sexually provocative a woman is, she should not be attacked. Fair enough.

Daily mail link

But is this the way to reach her target audience? A group of men who have shown no respect for women when fully dressed for a winter's night in Germany and don't on the whole speak german? And she must be freezing, very cynically I can imagine that she was only out long enough for the photos to be taken and I doubt that the men she wants to reach read the german newspapers.

I feel that this is actually disrespectful to the women who underwent these attacks. It smacks of seeking self-publicity on the back of some terrifying ordeals for other women. It won't make one jot of difference to the men's attitudes, except to maybe reinforce any negative perceptions they have of german women.

Also on a side note, and much less important, I am just wondering the significance of being heavily made up and having a figure that would be considered to be very sexually attractive. Does this emphasis the point of no matter how attractive you find me, you can't touch - or is it just a way of ensuring publicity - or is this just her natural look?

FelicityFunknickle Sun 10-Jan-16 07:42:43

Gosh. Lots of good points.
Isuppose she might get "listened to" more than if she were a rotund, post menopausal woman. Simply because misogyny and ageism are so entwined.
And being attractive gains attemtion, so mo coverage for the story.
But some of it leaves me feeling conflicted. And i am not sure why.
If an overweight or "unattractive" woman was posing maybe the risk of "don't flatter yourself love" would be too high for anyone (esp a sexist man) to get the point?
Help! Someone clever and articulate please!

faintlyoptimistic Sun 10-Jan-16 07:50:08

There's a New Year Women's Hour special led by Lauren Laverne all about nudity as protest - a very good listen and very relevant to this thread.

Naked For New Year

LurcioAgain Sun 10-Jan-16 08:09:37

I personally feel it's a very powerful protest.

I get where you're coming from - for instance in the case of the spread of the "slutwalk" phenomenon I shared some of these reservations. I say "spread" because the first one was in response to a very specific incident where the chief of police (I think it was) in an American city said more of less rape victims bring it on themselves by dressing like sluts - I think to use "slut in response to this incident was relevant. But the spread of it did leave me worrying about issues such as whether the word "slut" was in fact unreclaimable, and whether dressing up meant the press focussed on pictures of attractive women which matched their pre-existing hyper-sexualised view, and then totally missed the point.

But I think this is not the case here, very emphatically. She is naked, but not in any sexualised way. (Yes, she has an attractive body - so what? And she can hardly help how her body looks. Are only unattractive women allowed to engage in political protest?) It's just a body, and the incongruity of it, amid a sea of fully clothed commuters and shoppers, is very striking. For me, there's no way you'd read that image as sexualised, and I think that's part of the point she's making. And actually, I think even fairly sexually conservative people would make that distinction. The waters would have been muddied if she'd paraded round in a basque and suspenders with a "whatever I wear" slogan, but I think simply standing there naked is crucially different. (I'm sure there are some perves out there who will read that image as sexualised, but that's because they're perves, not because it is).

Also, I don't think her target audience is the men who carried out the attacks (even though the sign is worded that way - remember, it's performance art, the point of which is to get you to think, and the superficial first glance appearance might not be the whole story). I don't think she's so naive that she thinks any of the perpetrators are going to look at that picture and think "you know what, she's right, I'm wrong, I'll hand myself in at the nearest police station." I think her target audience is people like the mayor of Cologne with her victim blaming shit.

(Actually, thinking about it, I think the issue of her attractiveness is neither here nor there. If I as a slightly overweight menopausal middle aged woman stood there butt naked, there'd be room for the mutton-heads who think rape is about "sexual attraction gone wrong" to say, completely erroneously, "oh but you'd never get raped anyway with a body like that." I think regardless of what the woman's body was like, a misogynist would be able to miss the point of the protest. But I still think it's an incredibly powerful protest).

Theydontknowweknowtheyknow Sun 10-Jan-16 09:27:23

OP I get where you're coming from because the victims themselves were fully clothed. They weren't walking around naked and by standing naked she is setting up a strawman argument which enables opposers to say "well if you're going to go out like that what do you expect?"

A more powerful performance would be for a line of women in various states of clothing, from burqha to jeans and jacket, to mini skirt to naked each holding a sign saying "I'm a person... I'm not fair game" or something like that.

Or she could even have done it herself changing clothes every 5 minutes.

That's the better message IMO.

But good on her for doing something.

TeiTetua Sun 10-Jan-16 13:06:28

This sounds as if it was inspired by that FEMEN lot, who have been discussed here in the past.

museumum Sun 10-Jan-16 13:13:17

I think it's valid because of all the discussion there was after the news started to come out about women "keeping themselves safe".

2016IsANewYearforMe Sun 10-Jan-16 14:09:30

Good for her! She has used what she has to work with, to draw attention to a problem that the news media seems to want to ignore. I support her.

Bluebe11 Mon 11-Jan-16 13:58:44


Through out history, when a country has invaded another, Rape and sexual assault has always been used against the women, as a sign of victory. I think it's time we wised up and recognised these attacks as acts of War. There are now over 500 cases of assault, and over 40% of them sexual assault, unheard of in our lifetime in any European Country.

We were shown images of a washed up little boy on the shore from a family desperate to escape war, and we got young men, wearing designer clothing, and iphones, passing through Countries that could have gave them sanctuary to arrive at their chosen destination (Germany) because she offered more. The real refugees are back in the camps starving to death, women and children left behind.

Only 2 days ago a Crown Court Judge was given permission to rule at Sharia Court here in the UK (please see link)

I didn't even know these things existed in our Country until I saw that. I thought the Law of the land applied to ALL. That judge is also making decisions in our own courts too.

BreakingDad77 Mon 11-Jan-16 17:00:40

Slut has such a spectrum for so many cultures, had curious chats when working in Qatar, where an average ex-pat middle aged lady recanted her being in unflattering baggy long cargo shorts, crocs and polo shirt, no make up attracting a dressing 'slutty' comment because they weren't wearing any sort of burqa or as often the case just a black cloak.

Bluebe11 Mon 11-Jan-16 19:40:46

That's very insightful BreakingDad77, as to others cultures.

We can't do anything about that, but we can do something about what is on our doorstep, and what is going to arrive there.

We can campaign to the government (who do not seem much interested in our rights) but we can still do it. We can write to newspapers (who do not seem much interested in our rights) but we can still do it.

We can protect ourselves, our children, and work together. Without them, because it's hardly going to be with them is it? They're not interested. Which means they are part of the problem.

Bluebe11 Mon 11-Jan-16 19:49:38

To my knowledge, Cameron has not made a speech on Cologne and the other organised attacks, to which, I am truly gutted. He has however found the time to pay a tribute to Bowie. Now I love Bowie, and Bowie lived in Germany for part of his life and I'm sure he would agree for the PM to be paying a speech to world events rather than his death.

He could have done both. I want to hear our Prime Minister condone what has taken place, and the measures he shall take to reassure us it shall not happen here.

2016IsANewYearforMe Mon 11-Jan-16 21:26:56

I think you mean condemn smile

I agree these attacks are shocking and frightening. I'd be reassured to hear my leader say it is unacceptable and what steps are being taken to ensure it does not happen in Britains urban areas.

PalmerViolet Mon 11-Jan-16 21:51:54

No steps are being taken.

Same as no steps are taken to combat the enormous amount of sexual assaults that happen in urban areas every day. I think they might have done an advertising campaign about it on the Underground though.

BreakingDad77 Tue 12-Jan-16 10:33:38

Same as no steps are taken to combat the enormous amount of sexual assaults that happen in urban areas every day. I think they might have done an advertising campaign about it on the Underground though.

Indeed - I still shake my head at the Ched Evans case, where many men and some women believe hes innocent for some very warped reasons.

Women in the UK from what I have seen and heard (from ex's and DW) also run the gauntlet when they go out in the evenings.

I agree earlier where is the rage more at 'foreigners touching our wimen' rather than rape cuture.

GarlicBake Wed 13-Jan-16 02:42:21

Bloody hell, Bluebell, thanks for the links about sharia courts! I had no idea! "It was established under the 1996 Arbitration Act on a statutory basis and as a result its decisions can be upheld by English courts." Even when they conflict with English law??

I'll have a look at what Judge Qureshi has said about this when I'm not supposed to be asleep, but meanwhile I'm definitely supporting Baroness Cox.

-> Not directly on topic, sorry, but I infer concern about what happens when/if Cologne happens here, alongside general unease about women losing rights & freedoms.

<bites nails>

Re the naked artist - who stood there for 20 minutes in 4°c - Moiré is well-known in Switzerland for her nude performance art, most recently for her “Naked Selfies” installation at Art Basel in June 2015. She was arrested in Paris in 2014 for posing naked at the city’s Trocadero landmark.

She says she firmly believes women will have stopped being treated as sex objects when they can walk around naked. I'd dispute the nuance of that, but she's young. Bless her freezing little arse.

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