Like mother, like daughter. My youngest, Sam, never stops surprising me with her creative radicalism. Outside her erotic boutique Coco de Mer in London last month, she organized a naked street protest against the war.
The theme was "liberate yourself from political bondage" and featured strippers and other sex workers wearing only gas masks and body paints and stencils, delivering a powerful guerrilla street performance against war in Iraq. For two hours before the performance, the streets around the shop in Covent Garden were jammed with activists, and curious onlookers.
The nudity was not simply for shock value. Throughout history, women have used nudity as a poignant symbol of their outrage. The implication of vulnerability is the right symbolism for a world vulnerable to unchecked aggression by the stronger against the weaker.
"The aim was to create a powerful image that illustrated that we are victims of war and all it ends up being is a body count," Sam said. "The buzz on the street was fantastic, people were cheering and shouting support the traffic was piled up and beeping their horns at us, but nothing could stop us, even the police watched the show and didn't interfere. We are definitely going to do a lot more guerrilla performance art. This whole idea was conceived by Coco de Mer staff owing to their discontent with the state of our political world. We all deserve to have our voices heard."
Coco de Mer organized the event with the Belles of Shoreditch, a collaboration of strippers from the East-End (London) pub culture, and the International Union of Sex Workers.