Stopping boobs on bikes

Update: The city council committee voted today to take out an injunction. Its chances of success are probably not good from what I hear, so it looks like it’s all on next Wednesday — an alliance of lefties and prudes against the pornographer and the boobs on bikes.

City Councillor Cathy Casey is asking the city development committee to take out an injunction to stop the boobs on bikes parade from going ahead. The ride promotes the “Erotica Lifestyles Expo” that starts next tomorrow week.

A few weeks ago the Council passed a bylaw aimed at stopping events deemed “offensive”. Now the Herald reports that:

“[Parade organiser] pornographer Steve Crow has made it clear he will stage the event on Wednesday despite the council refusing to issue a permit.”

I’m not saying we should stop the Erotica Lifestyles Expo — although it  sounds tacky, what with “jelly pool wrestling, amateur strip tease, the ‘men of steel’, and appearances from US porn stars Taylor Wane and Rita Faltoyano (to name a few).” You have to be over 18 and pay to get in. The promoters tout the fact that 26,500 people attended last year, but that’s nothing in Auckland terms. Pasifika Festival attracts more than 225,000 people.

But boobs on bikes is another thing. It is public. It objectifies women and demeans the participants and oggling observers. That such a spectacle, run by a hard-core pornographer, takes place in our city’s main street is sad.

If she fails to gain an injunction, Cathy Casey has a plan B. She’s threatening to lie across Queen St with friends to stop the parade.

“If the council can’t win and the court can’t win, maybe people power, maybe woman power can …”

Perhaps that might be the best way. An official banning would just makes Crow into a martyr for “free speech”. I’m sure that’s how the corporate media would run it.

Note: In 2000 the Christian Heritage Party warned that the “Sexpo” show (as it was then called) “is likely to increase the already appalling level of sexual abuse in this country.” Perhaps we should have listened, but we weren’t to know that their leader was an expert in this field. (Disclaimer: I regard the CHP as having the same relationship to mainstream christians as the anarchist-Marxist left have to social democrats like myself. Although I think I’d trust the anarchists a lot more.)

[Update: MacDoctor blogs along similar lines.]

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16 Responses to “Stopping boobs on bikes”

  1. Boobs on bikes? | MacDoctor Moments Says:

    [...] nice to see that Jafapete feels the same way… Tagged in: Boobs on Bikes, Breasts, Pornography, Steve [...]

  2. macdoctor01 Says:

    Hi JP: Blogged on this earlier. I agree that just banning Crow will be like giving him oxygen. I’ll be cheering Cathy Casey on (but not from the sidelines of the parade!).

    Your comment on the CHP was mean. True – but mean. :-)

  3. Bryce Edwards Says:

    I’m surprised you’re openly siding with the Christian prudes on this one! Is there actually any real evidence that events like Sexpo lead to sexual abuse?

    If people like Cathy are so opposed to some women parading like this, isn’t the best option to ignore it and keep away from it.

    The tradition of feminists uniting with Christian prudes against pornography, erotica, nudity and sexuality is a fairly sad and counter-productive one, so I hope we’re not about to go back down that track….

    Bryce
    http://www.liberation.org.nz

  4. Inventory2 Says:

    Yeah JP – that was a nasty dig at the CHP – just remember, not all us Christians are like that, just as not all Labour supporters are……

  5. toms Says:

    Let Steve Crow have his little “parade”, it’s hardly the end of the world if a few wanne adult stars and assorted strippers want to roar down Queen street topless. After all, they are doing it voluntarily and there is no accounting for taste – a whole lot of Aucklanders spend a whole lot of time in strip clubs and the like, otherwise they wouldn’t exist. Remember, the people who oppose this parade are the same people who killed off the Hero parade so as far as I can tell its just a bunch of toxic prudes making a big deal over nothing.

    Actually, now that it is a battle between the po-faced, wowser christian property developers who pass as the city guardians and Steve Crow, I hope he gives them one in the eye. And as for the “left” Cathy Casey? Spare me, that woman reflexively opposes anything and has made a local government out of bitching about everything.

  6. toms Says:

    You know, just to sound off for a minute, in a grown up city in a grown up country this wouldn’t even be an issue. In a tolerant city we would have a Hero Parade and boobs on bikes would be a mildly amusing or mildly irritating footnote (unless you are a teenage boy, in which case it is a must see event).

    Instead, we live in a city where a totally unrepresentative council (earnest left wing kill-joys and middle aged right wing Christian fundys appear to make up the bulk of them) spend their whole time either opposing anything or trying to line their own and their mate’s pockets. When recently the local licencing N.Z. Police officer seriously suggested shutting down our only city, the only New Zealand place that actually has an urban culture – an urban nightlife – at 1am I despaired. What value do we place on joys of city cultures, of the joys and choices and liberation of living in the naked city? None, it seems. Instead, we determinedly engage in a reductio ad absurdo drive to reduce Auckland to an enlarged Timaru, just in case someone might be having some fun somewhere that someone else doesn’t approve of.

    At least give me Auckland as a refuge in my own country from pernicious Presbyterianism.

  7. ak Says:

    Totally agree Jaff and Mac: tacky, commercial filth and exploitation which degrades Auckland and the whole country. I hope every woman with an ounce of pride and respect for their sisters who have fought so hard for the rights they now enjoy will get behind Cathy and march against this.
    Someone should organise a “blouses on bicycles” counter-march – anti-porn-pedlar pedallers lined up 10 abreast in very low gear in a tit-for-tat manoeuvre (sorry :) )

  8. toms Says:

    So let me see – all the so-called “socialists” here are falling over themselves to line up with Bob McCroskie and the rest of the Kiwi Taliban? True socialism in my book is about freeing people from the restrictions -both cultural and economic – that seek to bind. It is about not judging as much as it about anything else. No wonder left wing life has lost a lot of the joie de vivre that made it so provocative in the first half of the 20th century.

    How about ALL of you just have a big cup of “fuck off and mind your own business”?

  9. Bryce Edwards Says:

    Toms – I agree with your sentiments about the state of the left in NZ. It’s unfortunate that whereas being leftwing used to embrace ideas of freedom and liberation increasingly the left has jettisoned such concepts and words, allowing the rightwing to appropriate them. Traditionally it’s been the rightwing that have favoured a socially conservative approach and has been about the state telling us how to live our lives, about censoring things, restricting activities, but increasingly the left have adopted this approach.

    It’s time for a new libertine-style left…

    Bryce
    http://www.liberation.org.nz

  10. jafapete Says:

    Toms,

    Generally we would let this stuff go. I supported <a href=http://jafapete.wordpress.com/2008/06/26/five-years-of-decriminalised-prostitution/the legalisation of prostitution for example, though the world would be a better place without it.

    But the boobs parade is another matter. Social progress isn’t made by looking the other way while people celebrate exploitation and a sexualised role for women in society.

    And I haven’t claimed to be a socialist for some years, and nor would many of the others here. We share the same broad goals as you, and I doubt whether there’s any overlap with the fundies, who are coming at things from a completely different direction. That they are also opposed to the parade is almost coincidental.

    And Bryce, What you say is undoubtedly limited to the NZ historical experience, as our conservatives have been of a notably practical bent and lacking in philosophical framing. Even so, you can’t ignore Edmund Burke quite that easily!

    In any case, my comments about the Christian Heritage Party in the post ought to disabuse anybody of the notion that I’m “falling over [myself] to line up with Bob McCroskie and the rest of the Kiwi Taliban.”

  11. ak Says:

    Social progress isn’t made by looking the other way while people celebrate exploitation and a sexualised role for women in society.

    (somehow I don’t think most of these “Libertines” (ha!-you wish Brycie!) will be looking the other way, Jaff….)

    Serious query: would you encourage your daughter/sister/mum/wife to take part in things like this, Tom and Bryce?

  12. Inventory2 Says:

    JP – maybe judging the the CHP by the actions of Graham Capill would be like judging the Labour Party by the actions of Benson Pope – just a thought eh. Or like judging NZ First by the actions of ……

    And ak – I know your question was addressed to others, but taking the liberty of answering, it’s a resounding no!

    I2, Yeah, but Benson Pope looks very benign and normal by comparison (even assuming the allegations are true).

  13. toms Says:

    And what would you do if a Hun was raping your sister, ak?

  14. ak Says:

    ( ….sadly shakes grizzled head and slips quietly into the milling Auckland crowd like a giant suppository into the arsehole of the universe…..) </em)

  15. toms Says:

    This is a stupid thing to waste so much time and energy on, but it highlights the sort of risible moral superiority fault line that sees people like Sue Bradford loftily lecturing grizzled coal miners about their evil ways (something I have seen with mine own eyes & heard – scarcely believing – with mine own ears).

    Come on ak – you asked a particularly dumb question, like the clichéd refutation of pacifism I quoted, and it hardly deserved a reasonable answer. Unlike Lytton Strachey, I wouldn’t be willing seek to interpose my body between them, but no one would be particularly happy if someone you loved got into the sex business. But I would wager a rich sum I personally know a lot more strippers and hookers than anyone else contributing to this site. The truth of anything in relation to human sexuality or human nature in general is far more complex than can lend itself to a simple ideological straightjacket, particularly when the ideology comes with a whole load of Manichean moral baggage. Some girls find stripping empowering, some find it fun and yes, some find it a turn on – a higher percentage than you might imagine. I won’t give you any sort of post feminist bullshit sophistry about empowerment – it is just the way it is. And there are just as many – a majority – who do it for a whole lot of mixed up, unhealthy reasons, or just because they are plain stupid. But all of them really, really, just want people who like to lecture them as if they are two-dimensional cut out victims to just leave them alone. They are adults and you are not their parents.

    JP – you inform us that 26,500 people attended the Sexpo last year, “…but that’s nothing in Auckland terms. Pasifika Festival attracts more than 225,000 people…” Do those 26,500 not deserve an outlet just because what they do and want doesn’t line up with your sense of social morality? What’s with the numbers game anyway? I would bet of the 225,000 Islanders at the Pasifika Festival, 200,000 plus would happily go gay bashing if they thought they could get away it. So what is your point again?

    We live in a society where – thank God – women are free to celebrate their sexuality. You can’t have sex in the city without the escort of sleaze. Someone’s naughty is also someone’s nice. Personally, I don’t give a fig if the girl I am talking to is a lawyer or a pole dancer. I take them as they come, and judge them on who they are as individuals. Sure, practice what you preach in your own life, it is fantastic to live as an example to us all.

  16. ethicalmartini Says:

    I agree with TomS, a waste of energy to oppose this. As for ‘blouses on bicycles’, what about naked bike riders who are protesting the sick car culture?
    Most of the time, the cops arrest them with the support of local government officials.
    Long live public nudity for any cause.

    http://www.worldnakedbikeride.org/

    BTW: this event has been held in Auckland before. I bet the council didn’t like that either, but for totally political reasons.

    In 2005 the Council wouldn’t have minded too much. Now would be different. Although, that said, John Banks seems so mellow these days he might just join in!

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