Opinion: Gould street shame

Another anti-choice protest hijacked Victoria and Gould Streets on Monday.

As I walk down the street I see protestors parading graphic images of decapitated heads. There’s partial limbs covered in a film of blood and tiny bodies being pulled apart, often captioned with religious slogans like some horrible ‘90’s pamphlet. Sometimes I am handed a miniature rubber fetus or fetus feet lapel pins.

The images they try to make canonical are inaccurate, exaggerated, unrepresentative, and absolutely disrespectful to their fellow students.

The Ryersonian’s Iva Celebic

Counter protesting has become imperative in this fight as a form of visual protection, not a means for public debate. We must run over with cardboard boxes and sheets, so other women don’t think that these embellished ideas are what abortion looks like.

Why should a woman have to think about her body and sexuality while she walks to class? Why must a woman risk being emotionally triggered of a past trauma as she eats her lunch?

Your manifesto is in this enlarged edited image made to be a gory sci-fi scene. You’re diluting an issue to biology, and taking our bodies out of the context of our lives.

This method of protesting is sensational and unethical, begging the question: why isn’t public discourse enough to get your point across?

As a political group, you’re not creating a space for information or exchange. Your way of talking is an image that is screaming “Look at me! Look at me!” until someone stops. It is an immature game, sticking something in someone’s face until they squirm of discomfort. Discomfort does not indicate truth — it indicates fear. Fear that someone is vomiting their opinion all over you.

We don’t appreciate scare tactics in politics, and we certainly don’t in the discourse of our bodies, which don’t belong in the political arena in the first place.

At a university squashed inside a city, it’s enough that there is a relentless preacher at our corner putting his rosary on our rights. It’s enough that a massive anti-choice billboard was hovering in Yonge-Dundas Square. It’s enough that these groups stand outside clinics with their shouts and murmurs.
You make our campus an unsafe space for women, and we pay lots of money to be here. Your vulgar method of “freedom of speech” puts knots in my stomach. If you’d like to say what you think, you can. Heck, pitch a tent near Lake Devo and bring a drum kit, but do not violate the space I pay for with your crude images. If you would like to show your respect for premature lives, you can begin by respecting the ones that are around you.

One Comment

  1. Have you talked to the people holding these images on Gould and Victoria? If you haven’t, I think you will find they are really open to talking to you and happy to clarify their position to you. I’ve spoken to them multiple times – I don’t like it when they do this, same as you, but they have told me that this is an emergency they are willing to take a stand against. I can’t fault their logic, really, when 300 innocent human beings are being killed each day in Canada.

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