Wednesday, 26 October 2011



I called in on College Green, to see how the Occupy Bristol camp was doing. I was just passing through; I'm sympathetic to its aims, but am too engaged elsewhere to get involved. So I felt slightly voyeuristic, a bit of an outsider. Took  a few pics; bloke drumming, people building a sort of ribbony teepee. Reminded me of the old free festivals... A bloke bounded over to me, grabbed my shoulders, and aimed a kiss at my mouth. I diverted it to my cheek. He put his arm around me, and we held a pose for a nearby photographer. Then I left.

It was all a bit unexpected. I felt a bit as though my personal space had been invaded without my permission; which, of course, it had. It didn't feel like a huge deal at the time, and I didn't feel particularly threatened, in daylight and with other people around. But even so. Reading other womens' experiences of occupations, and the marginalisation and objectification of women in them, it seems like part of a bigger picture. And I feel very bad, not so much that it happened, as that I didn't call the bloke out on his actions. Because if you don't call people out, then that behaviour is reinforced. 

So if there's a picture out there with me and the bloke, smiling for the camera, just remember that the camera doesn't take the whole picture.

That's all.


  1. Crumbs, having read that other post too, I don't recall ever feeling or experiencing anything like that back in the 80s when I was taking part in CND/Stop the City demos. Not that there weren't a fair amount of *wimmins* workshops etc going on, but I never felt intimidated or marginalised, nor any friends of mine and I was only a teenager. Which is odd, as it was over twenty years ago. Maybe times have moved backwards.

  2. Hard to say; different times, different circs. In some ways this camp in Bristol reminded me of Stonehenge and Greenham, but this is a city centre location and anyone can just wander in and be part of it, and there are any number of loose cannons in the city. And there are far more marginalised people these days.
    The other post does sound rather more alarming, doesn't it? -my own experience was very minor, to me, but it left me feeling uncomfortable, which is why I wrote this.

  3. I was at Greenham a few times, and at the last Stonehenge...we may have passed like ships in the night!

  4. Does a camera ever tell all the picture?.
    Even a slightly different angle can change how it looks

  5. I recall the first summer I went to Stonehenge, Gretel; I'd been hitching around the South West for a while and at the festival, kept meeting people I'd met in my travels. The world (or my bit of it) seemed v small just then...

    True enough, GZ!