Public Space – It’s For All of Us

1 / 07 / 2016

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By Jessamy Gleeson

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I’ve recently taken up a new pastime called “walking in a straight line down a sidewalk”, and it’s been interesting to see the results. Of course, I don’t mean blatantly mowing down innocent pedestrians with carefree abandonment. But I’m no longer shifting around every man that steps into my path. Some men don’t even notice, while some men end up shoulder checking me, so oblivious are they to the fact that perhaps I’m not as willing to move out of their way as I once was.

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And I’m not the only one fighting back in small ways. If I scan my Facebook feed, I see stories of my friends staring down men on trains who have been trying to touch their hair, other women calling out men on their “jokes” about rape and assault in public, and groups of women mobilising to call out poor behaviour at gigs. That last example happened recently at a Camp Cope gig in Melbourne, when a group of men decided to elbow a group of punters (many of whom were women) out of the way during a song that was, somewhat ironically, all about hyper masculinity and the silencing of women.

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Of course, the attitudes that sit behind men’s entitlement to public space have subsisted long before the Internet has; as a whole, men have dominated public space for almost as long as there has been public space. But as the current awareness surrounding feminism has started to expand, women are beginning to push back – in some cases, quite literally.

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One of the most obvious examples of men taking up more than their fair share of public space can be seen in the phenomenon that is manspreading – a perceived entitlement that is now increasingly being called out by women worldwide. However, women staking a claim on public space can also be seen elsewhere. The #whyloiter movement was created by a group of Indian women, and has seen campaigners “loiter” alone in public, whilst documenting the experience on social media.  Back in Melbourne, the #ourparks was created as a one- protest in 2015, and saw hundreds of women turn out to reclaim their “parks” after a police officer had advised them not to “be alone in parks”.

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autopzionibinarie cosa se ne sa Aside from the routine actions of taking up space on the sidewalk, women have also been hitting the streets as participants in a series of marches and rallies. Two of the most recent feminist marches in Melbourne are SlutWalk, and Reclaim The Night, where each year thousands of women march to combat victim blaming, slut shaming, and the right to take up public space. And as someone who has previously led SlutWalk down a main street in Melbourne’s CBD, I can assure you it’s an incredibly powerful, but also deeply foreign experience to know that we have a right to be there, to protest, and to take up space.

http://thegobblersknob.com/?savikshyster=cuales-son-los-principios-del-sistema-de-comercio&7f0=2f cuales son los principios del sistema de comercio If you’re questioning why this issue is important enough to trigger multiple rallies and protests, you need to recognise is that women experience public space in a very different way to men. Women are constantly told to be aware of their surroundings: to be alert, to fight back, to run away, to call the police. Aside from the inherent victim blaming that exists within this message, we should also acknowledge that men aren’t told this. Sure, they are warned about how to not get into a fight in a bar (or, alternately, how to win a fight in a bar) – but their right to walk down a street at 3pm or 3am is not questioned.

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meglio opzioni binarie 60 secondi o 30 min We also need to recognise that these negative experiences of public space are doubled, tripled, and quadrupled for a person of colour, a person who is trans, a person who has a disability, or a person that identifies their sexuality as being something other than straight. Claiming public space is not as easy for some people within these minorities as it is for others. And as much as women can push back, we should also ensure that we advocate for the rights of people that belong to other minorities to be able to safely do the same.

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