Protest: the art, the culture and the history
The effect they have always depends, but no protest has ever failed to broaden awareness.
Rights are won and lost, they are not typically given away. Protests and mass demonstrations may be swift, protracted, successful or futile. But they always have the potential to create social change.
The status quo in the vast majority of countries is rooted upon conservative, patriarchal, hetero-normative pillars that discriminate against women by design. What form that bias comes in differs from country to country. It may be an absence of affordable childcare, a gender pay gap or underrepresentation in decision-making bodies, or, as in the case of Juarez, Mexico, it is femicide: the killing of a woman by a man on account of her gender.
The idea of protest transcends art, politics, direct action, debate and academia to bring a broad spectrum of people for a common cause. That may be signing a petition, writing to your representative, bending on one knee, raising a fist, drawing something or taking the streets to march. Obviously, not every act of protest is enough to bring down a government, like the street protests in Egypt, Tunisia and Ukraine earlier this decade, yet they all raise awareness around perceived injustices.
Small-scale initiatives, equally, can have a massive upward impact on society once the levers of change are set in motion. Quite often no particular argument needs to be won; it is simply a question of spreading the word and allowing word of mouth to set off a domino effect of consciousness. Like wearing a Ni En More garment.
Mixed images / Photocredit: Laura Bustillos / Mustang Jane / Lise Bjørne Linnert
CREDITS: Banner film and image: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November 2016, Cd Juárez) Credit: Mustang Jane and Laura Bustillos / Watch the full film here