Sunday, June 20, 2010
Women's movement protests? No, we just imagined it
All the great waves of protest were there, from Vietnam to homosexual rights. Except one. You wouldn’t know that there had ever been a single women’s liberation protest event in this country, let alone a major movement creating headlines for a couple of decades.
No mass pro-choice or anti-choice protests. No beauty contest protests or Reclaim the Night marches. No street theatre. The very first public women’s movement event here to appear on TV was the Anzac Day protest in Albert Park, Auckland, to highlight women as victims of war. But no – none of it happened, apparently. Nor was a single women’s liberation veteran interviewed – though there are cerainly plenty of them around.
Of course, that movement wasn’t about really significant things, like shooting wars, or bombs, or rugby, or race. Or even male sexuality. It was simply about the profoundly unequal conditions in which half the population lived, and the women who wanted to change that. The protesters included girlfriends, wives, daughters, sisters, even mothers, of the men (save for a few independent pioneers like Merata Mita) who made the news and the TV programmes.
The protesting women may have made headlines at the time, but even if all those protests did happen, they just didn’t count, eh. Didn’t matter. There was no need to take any notice of them or the movement they sprang from for something major like a survey of TV coverage of protest over the last 50 years. Not when there were all those other really important protest movements to deal with.