The following article discusses a picture that depicts a woman standing at a protest rally with bared and pierced breasts and a piece of fabric covering her mouth and nose. The picture is posted on Facebook in support of anarchism and activism. The picture stands as yet another snapshot of a world-view as it exposure of a Dark Side of humanity, of who and where we are in 2012.
The basic idea with how the picture is presented by the activists on Facebook is that this woman is a symbol of fighting the system, of freeing oneself of the oppressing grab of capitalism and conformism. From what people express in the comments, what they see when they look at this picture is a symbol of empowerment and self-emancipation.
The Dark Side that is exposed here, as a veneer and vice of humanity’s self-deception and delusion is that the picture is not depicting activism, empowerment or freedom in any way whatsoever. Why? Let’s have a look at the more than 1000 words this picture is portraying.
One of the perspectives shared in the discussion about the picture of the activist with the naked breasts is that: “Anarchy is the ability to be free from one man’s rules and governance over one’s self (when not harming those in that society)….”
So the woman is seen as freeing herself from the restrains of oppression, she is making a bold statement to claim her right to be naked in public.
A bold question to ask could be the following: is being naked in public not simply the same as porn and other forms of portrayals of nudity and sexual images?
It is apparently being ‘outrageous’ that a woman shows her breasts is public – that is considered anarchy – when in fact every day there are images of women with naked breasts in our faces, with new twists of fetishes that people jerk off too. All over billboards, phones, screens and in magazines we see pictures of naked and half naked women. The fact that it is still considered outrageous and over the edge, is in itself quite a paradox. Naked women can be used to sell anything, even anarchy.
Another question is that if the woman had been 100 kg. Heavier, would she have been seen the same way? Looking at the picture, the women resemble Lara Croft with her facial expression and how her backpack is placed around her shoulders. She looks fierce, like an amazon warrior and just like there are men that are turned on by girls in school uniforms, so is this a classic fantasy portrayal of women, one that is impulsed by the capitalistic mass-media industry. Accordingly one commenter says: “I FKN Love Hot Women in Masks!”.
Such an image would thus never have been applauded if the woman had been weighing 100 kg or if she had been a naked man. It “works” because she is fitting the picture of an attractive young woman with perky breasts and a slim figure. The fantasies and fetishes with specific narratives also bear witness of this, with the storyline of a naked anarchist woman that speaks to the mind of the anarchist man. This image falls straight into the lap of the generic porn industry where money is made on the portrayal of a certain body-image and fantasy. So the image is ironically not expressing anarchy, but in fact conformism. We are so used to seeing images of naked women, so used to being impulsed and directed by sexual subjection that we don’t even see that what we are considering to be emancipating, is in fact subjugating to the utmost extend.
Another statement goes: “It’s a protest… she looks angry… and she looks like my many anarchist friends… nothing more”
Alright so the woman looks the part of an anarchist at a protest. That is not emancipating or empowering for anyone, including her. What this comment is revealing is that being an anarchist or an activist is a life-style, a culture that requires specific symbols and costumes where one does in fact ‘fit an image’ or a symbol – rather than that being free in itself, or happy or revolutionary.
I used to believe that activist people were the most free. When I joined a group of radical left wing anarchists, I was shocked to discover that most of them came from middle to upper-class homes and had proper educations. Their culture was in most cases a vice they had dressed themselves in, not unlike the business man puts on his suit to fit the part in the corporate world. I remember one time where I went to a squatted house where all the ‘radicals’ hanged out. Over the door there was a sign that said “NO sexism, NO racism, NO specism! When I entered the house, all the people were dressed in black, the proper uniform of a radical activist. I was the only person wearing color and the people there clearly felt I did not belong; the girls would speak about me and whisper exactly as in any other narrative of a teenage or high school drama. These people were exactly as judgmental as everyone else – a big difference however was the bigotry of claiming they were not.
That was when I realized that politics exists within me, in every moment of interaction with other human beings.
If we claim to be political activists that fight against war and for the oppressed, how can we be intolerant in our personal interaction with other people? How can we exclude others in our reality and at the same time claim to be tolerant towards the oppressed?
Let’s look at another comment from the Facebook discussion on the women with the bared breasts. The commenter says:
“I see a loud statement. She isn’t hurting anyone and obviously knows people are going to react. It’s a sound tactic.”
It is absurd that the pinnacle of making a “loud statement” is to be naked. This is my point exactly: the fact that we need naked women to make loud statements says more about our view on naked women than actual statements of change – and it shows exactly the kind of politics that is predominant in this world.
Another commenter says: ” Don’t forget the component of compassion. Nobody is trying to hurt anyone. Helping other is a good thing. We just don’t want to be oppressed.”
Being naked in public is not the same as not being oppressed. The point with protesting against being oppressed is that one is in fact validating one’s own oppression by accepting oneself as powerless to begin with – changing the system requires that we stand equal to it, that we change it from within it and take self-responsibility for the system instead of seeing ourselves as victims of the system – naked or not. Let’s have a closer look at this:
“I don’t think revolution is the answer either. Rebellion is a different story, we should think about taking down the corporations that own the government, not the government itself.”
Who is it that “rebels” in this world? What is the essential symbol of a rebel? Children fighting against parents, children throwing tantrums. Yet who has the power? The parents. Rebellion by definition points to a power struggle between oppressor and oppressed. It points to the very existence of the possibility of someone oppressing another. Superiority and Inferiority is two sides of the same polarity-coin. One cannot exist without the other. This reveals a side of power-relations that once realized, can be the key to actual freedom. Only by standing equal can we change what is here.
“Sadly, we are victims, whether we like it or not. The system is so corrupt that there is no way to change it from the inside. It doesn’t matter who you vote for. The corporations own the politicians, all of them. We have to bring change from the outside…”
Each and every one of us is equally responsible for what is here. Some are capable of responding in a way that makes change possible, while others are not. More than 3 billion people, half the Earth’s population is not because they are excluded from participating in the capitalistic system. The top-elite are too brainwashed by their own greed, fear and power to let it go – that leaves us, the middle-class, the “middle-ground” – the ones that are able and capable of making change happen – the “democratic consumers” as it were. In order to do that we require stopping seeing ourselves as victims and realize that if we don’t direct a change, no one will. Throwing tantrums and being angry, helps no-one, least of all ourselves. And we can’t do that by seeing ourselves as victims of an evil system – only by taking responsibility for that system and our own participation in it, can we make change happen. For many years I refused to participate in the system. I lived “off the grid”, made money through odd jobs and remained in the enclosure of my activist community.
I went to rally after rally, protest after protest and participated in street riots. I finally realized that what we were doing was abdicating self-responsibility for what is here by judging the system and claiming to be more than it, while we were in fact equally a part of it, whether we liked it or not. So – I started taking an education, standing in the system, yet not off it – and are slowly but surely placing myself in a position of being able to make an actual difference. This is not to say that the system is not corrupt – but it is the realization that the system only listens to the system itself and that no one is free until all are free. I dedicate my life and myself to change what is here, no matter what it takes – until it is done.
“What do we do, as the middle class, to protect ourselves from the ‘they’ that don’t exist, as our wages decrease, the cost of living goes up, and we find ourselves amongst the ranks of the poor, unable to do anything but try to survive?”
We cannot protect ourselves – the system is as brutal as it gets. In terms of survival as the system currently exists, all one can do is to make sure that one can support oneself financially and support others to do the same. So what is required is that we place ourselves in a stable position from which we can start making the necessary changes. Before I refused to take an education. Now I am almost done with a masters and will continue to place myself effectively in the system. Why? Because the system listens to people it considers being “experts” – The system only listens to those that have a paper saying they are approved by the system to speak. That is “having a voice” in this world – screaming against politicians in protest is not as we’ve seen over and over again. Why? Because the political system is representing ourselves, whether we like it or not. That is the cruel joke of democracy. So what we are protesting against, what we judge, what we turn our backs to: is ourselves.
So instead of going haywire with anger and desperation, we utilize democracy. We change the family-systems, the education-systems, the relationship-systems and the inner systems of our minds that are reflecting and reflected in the world-systems. We go into politics; we educate ourselves in understanding the political and economic systems in depth. One of the major reasons for our current powerlessness is that we don’t understand the economic system – only those on top knows how the system works and by keeping people ignorant, some remain in control of others. By understanding how the system works, by not fearing it or whining over it or feeling powerless towards it – we can start changing it. We become educated in law, in psychology – in the fields that the system respects as valid and we expose the system for what it really is to ourselves – because essentially, at the end of the day: we are the system. Claiming that the world is someone else’s responsibility is conveniently used to abdicate one’s own.
“What are you saying? That we should just accept the fact that we are getting fucked over, and move on? I don’t get it.”
No quite the contrary. The acceptance of being powerless is in fact a giving-up, a giving-in and an acceptance of the system as it is – remaining within a desperation and rage instead of actually taking self-responsibility, realizing that we’re not powerless – because we are self-responsible for what is here. This is what we require accepting. Then real change becomes possible. Investigate the Equal Money System.
Politics happens in every moment of every breath. Every thought we think, every step we take, every feeling we participate in – is political in-fact, because through that we make our statement of who we are, of that which we are going to be and of what is acceptable in the world.
We are living politics as we speak.
Suggested reading and listening for extended perspectives:
Anarchism & Equal Money System by Marlen Vargas Del Razo
2012 Democracy Is The Key To Freedom Allegory of the Cave: our excuse to remain as slaves by Marlen Vargas Del Razo
2012 When is ‘Inner Revolution’ real? by Kim Amourette
Videos and interviews: