On Saturday evening I took a walk down memory lane when I marched around Leeds City Centre with a hundred or so women to ‘Reclaim the Night’. A very powerful ‘detournement’ in terms of intervening in the crowded city, full of revellers and blown about by crazy winds. I was unsure about whether to go- it was wild out there, and Strictly was on the telly. But I am so glad I did. Respect to the organisers, some of whom I am proud to know now, through the Leeds Feminist Network and Women Conversation:Leeds. I am so encouraged by their work. I think they are fabulous, and courageous.
There was the mixed response you’d expect- a few (harmless) drunks, some aggressive sexism (I don’t think they were drunk), and, best of all, some welcome support and interest from women, a group of lovely young women marched with us for a while. The modest size of the demo didn’t stop us making quite an impact- we had rehearsed chanting and singing and developed a good line in whooping and cheering.
It felt very powerful and quite daring to do this. Feminist activism is a scary thing these days. The opposition to the ideas has become much more confident, and nasty, especially, but not exclusively, on social media. It was very bold to be so visible, and audible, on a Saturday night down town just before Christmas. Heartfelt thanks to the women (mostly young women) who are keeping the flame burning.