Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Gender: Poked with Fun

The Solidarity Walk went fairly well today, despite the slight drizzle that threatened to push our route indoors, not having cukup masa to do our silkscreen stickers that we wanted to hand out, and slightly kucar-kacir when it came to mobilising people - especially those not directly involved with katagender - to tunjuk their support.

Starting at 5:00pm, we hung about outside of Kiosk 24 jam, waiting for people to turn up. First with not much anticipation, then as more and more people joined us, the playful spirit started to grin. By the time H & Z datang with our printed white cloth that bore the World March for Women logo, we had I think, close to 20 orang. With 2 journalists - one from CIJ & another from Keadilan (I think?). Cool! Yay! Thank you berjuta-juta for support! Also to KOMAS for documenting the whole action for us. Looking forward to seeing the clips, and also for some stills (since I stupidly tertinggal the kamera in the kereta! bodoh!)

So we slipped on our wrap-around skirts, sarongs and selendangs, most of the boys and some grrls put some lipstick on, grrls etched some dishy moustache on our faces with eyeliner and mascara, and we were ready to walk the talk :)

First the brief:

Why this walk?
To demonstrate our solidarity to the global women's movement to claim public spaces in sufacing women's rights as an issue that concerns everyone. From freedoms to equality to peace to justice to solidarity. We were very much part of this world-wide struggle for a gender lense to these issues. Our commitment to walk on a Monday, a couple of hours before buka puasa, was our small effort to tonjolkan this semangat solidariti.

Why X-Dress?

A playful poke at the absurdity of rigid gender roles. What makes a man, a man? What makes a woman, a woman? Why the hysterical need to assert the boundaries? What happens when we rearrange the signifiers on "normal" bodies in "normal" spaces? It is precisely the need to uniformly attach strict gender markers and all the values, privileges, marginalisations and exclusions that they signify onto particular bodies that creates a whole host of other social costs that are barriers to equality.

Why KLCC to Bukit Bintang through Jalan Raja Chulan?
A route that is focussed and dedicated to consumption, demonstrated through mega besar malls, we felt it was important to destabilise the normativity of these spaces through our bodies. Particularly since the roots of the World March for Women was invested in poverty. Plus lots of pedestrian traffic, and more opportunities to engage in dialogue.

How did it go?
Pretty interesting. There are some lessons learnt, but some good stuff that surfaced:

- connections between activists and people interested in issues who usually operate in different spaces and events coming together, even if it was a relatively small group of us.
- the gender transgressions, even though - or maybe precisely because - it was not a 'neat' or complete crossing, was responded to as threatening, quirky, interesting, weird, needing policing and performative. One guy especially started talking about how god made day and night, and men are day and women are night, and we shouldn't mess about with it, etc etc etc. Another guy said, no, he didnt want to ask questions sebab takut misai! padahalnya, dia pun ada misai lebat! misai aku bukannya bulu pun, lukis je... but interesting how a few dark lines penned onto the face can create such discomfort.
- our lack of materials to hand out meant that we actually were more compelled to walk up to people and engage random orang to berdialog & berdiskusi. Halfway through the jalan-jalan, getting tired of eyes that wanted to stare but resolutely refusing to be fixed into a reciprocal connection, we wrote "Tanyalah", "Ask me" on pieces of A4 paper and held them up as an offer for questioning. Some people did decide to tanya, which was cool :)

Trying to search for pictures I took on my phone to put on this blog, but can't seem to locate them. Maybe esok! Thinking maybe puppets next year...

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Details of Solidarity Walk | Butiran tentang Perjalanan Solidariti

Where? Mana?
* Putra LRT Station, KLCC | Stesyen Putra LRT KLCC
* Outside Kiosk 24 jam shop, near ticketing booth | Di hadapan Kiosk 24 jam, berhampiran dgn tempat membeli tiket

Bila? When?
* 5:30pm | Isnin. Monday. 17 October | Oktober

What to bring? Apa yg perlu dibawa?
* An article of clothing that is usually associated with a gender different from yours, that you can wear symbolically | Satu artikel pakaian yg biasanya dikaitkan dengan gender yang berlainan dengan kamu, yang boleh kamu boleh memakai sebagai suatu lambang simbolik.

Jumpa siapa di LRT? Who to meet at the LRT?
* Perhatikan sesiapa yang memakai baju putih and seluar atau skirt hitam. Jika boleh, sila juga memakai top putih dan seluar atau skirt hitam apabila kamu hadir untuk berjalan-jalan bersama kami | Keep an eye out for people who are wearing white tops and black bottoms. Please also wear a white top with a black bottom when you come for the walk.

Untuk sebarang pertanyaan, sila email: kata.gender@gmail.com : please email this address for any queries.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

october 17



walk with us

17 october 2005

we are planning to show our solidarity to the global campaign towards gender equality, freedoms, peace and justice through transitory occupation of spaces with our bodies - performatively.

one of our understanding of identity-based inequality is based on normative discourses that is solidified through markers on our bodies. we perform our gender roles from the moment we awake to the moment we sleep; from the moment we choose what clothes to wear, how to negotiate behaviour in our daily routines, how we interact with strangers, friends, lovers and our family. for an hour on october 17, we hope to initiate a more critical discourse on gender through subverting these daily gender performances.

join us and be part of a global movement towards equality, freedom, peace, justice and solidarity!

if you are interested, send us an email ASAP: kata.gender@gmail.com

Thursday, October 13, 2005

october 17 – world march of women

Where Does the Idea for a Women's World March in the Year 2000 Come From?

The idea to hold a world march of women in the year 2000 was born out of the experience of the Women's March Against Poverty, which took place in Québec in 1995. This march, initiated by the Fédération des femmes du Québec, was hugely successful. Three contingents of 850 women marched for ten days to win nine demands related to economic justice. Fifteen thousand people greeted them at the end of their ten-day walk. The entire women's movement mobilized for the march as did many other segments of the population.

The presence during the 1995 March of twenty women from countries of the South reminded us of the importance of global solidarity-building. The Beijing Conference proved that women everywhere are struggling for equality, development and peace more than ever before. It was at this conference that we made our first proposal to organize an international women's march.

one view of feminism

Feminism is a way of thinking, a social movement, an alternative and another perspective from which to understand the world. Feminism is more than simply observing inequality and obtaining access to positions of power. We are driven by the need to dismantle systems that perpetuate fear and hatred of "the other" and justify violence; we denounce all systems that generate exclusion and reinforce domination.

- from World March of Women