I am not exactly sure where protests fit onto the spectrum of activism (See post: https://emynow.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/how-far-is-too-far/).
That aside, I was happy to hear about a protest, at Nelson Mandela Square – Johannesburg, against Lady Gaga’s wearing of fur. She was in South Africa then, performing on her Born This Way world tour. As we all know, Lady Gaga is a fur hag of note.
According to Activists for Animals Africa spokesperson Miranda Jordan, Lady Gaga “is one of the most powerful role models in existence and her arrogance could be seen as fashionable by her adoring fans. What about the animals, many of which are still alive after being skinned for the fur she wears?”
Good, I thought, my chance for active animal activism had arrived. That was in November 2012 and I have come a long way since then 🙂
Protests were not new to me, as being a student in South Africa during the mid 1980s I went to many anti-apartheid demonstrations. These always became confrontational when the police arrived!
But animal rights’ protests are something different. Not realising there is an etiquette around these protests I arrived in a pink summery frock. Although nobody said anything, I felt like a fish on a bicycle, that is, worse than a fish out of water. The other protesters were dressed in black! With some imagination, perhaps I could have symbolised blood. Feeling self-conscious I kept well hidden behind a poster. Yes, that is my arm sticking out right at the back.
Only a handful of protesters turned up and then we marched through the shopping centre holding banners (see above). A crowd of curious onlookers gathered to watch us. I could have sworn that some were even laughing. Perhaps it was at the giant effigy of Lady Gaga dressed in a tiger print outfit and fox fur or that some of the protesters were wearing “fur” coats in the sweltering African heat.
Well, the very next day I got myself a black funereal outfit, which I now regularly wear to protests, accompanied by my somber expression. After all we are protesting about serious animal rights issues.
Other non-spoken rules that I have learnt about AR protests are:
- Don’t be overly friendly with the public
- Don’t react to insults
- Don’t intimidate people
- Don’t discuss any campaign other than the one you are protesting about
- Don’t take your own photographs
- Never be seen laughing
Being someone of a friendly disposition until I am insulted and then turn into an ogre, this has been an adjustment for me.
- Fur flies as fashion boss quits Harvey Nichols after protests (telegraph.co.uk)