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Women in Black: A Revolting Women Found Feminism

2011 September 14

This edition of Found Feminism is also part of a series on the theme of women and protest. The full series is collected under the tag “Revolting Women”.

They meet every Wednesday at 6pm and stand around the statue of legendary badass and feminist hero Edith Cavell, wearing black and holding signs. They don’t speak. They have an awesome homemade banner with some very cool patchwork stitching on it. We at BadRep Towers are very fond of both banners and patchwork.

Women in Black Banner

Women in Black patchwork banner of EPIC-NESS!

They are the Women in Black. Not to be confused with their male counterparts – the Women in Black are probably not our ‘best, last and only line of defence’ against extra-terrestrial invasion, although I wouldn’t put it past them.

So, who are they and why is it a Found Feminism? Well, they’re an international network that offer a specific form of peaceful protest model – wear black, hold signs, don’t chant – and link up all the people (men AND women) in the world who do this or who want to do it.

Women in Black officially started off in the late 80s in Israel with women protesting against the occupation of Palestine, but they acknowledge their roots in much earlier female-led non-violent movements such as Black Sash and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Women in Black are therefore part of a much wider story about the long-term involvement of women, and feminists, in the peace movement, in anti-war demonstrations and in alternative (including non-violent) forms of protest and revolution.

At a time of shouty, flash-in-the-pan protests and unpredictable acts of anger, a regular, silent protest is interesting in and of itself. It’s a reminder of the other ways to influence and change the world, as well as recognising the value of solidarity across borders. Something Edith herself would have probably approved of.

Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone.

– Edith Cavell

For details on all the Women in Black UK vigils go here.

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