Anti-nuclear energy demonstration in Berlin: let’s fight the system, just not the sexist part of it


On Saturday 18th, roughly 100.000 gathered and marched from Hauptbahnhof (Berlin central station) to the Reichstag, to show their opposition to the government unwillingness to completely abandon nuclear energy.
I was there, as you can imagine, and besides walking alongside the others, I documented the event.

The problem with our form of democracy, and I am paraphrasing Noam Chomsky here, is that the people get to have a taste of “real democracy” by casting their vote every once in a while but then have no power whatsoever on what happens once the people they voted for are in power. We are spectators. We don’t get to do much. Demonstrations are a way of exerting pressure on the elected officials, of course, and many people in the crowd seemed to understand the limit of our form of democracy and were grasping the importance of making their voice heard.

I am not saying everyone in the crowd was necessarily demonstrating against the system, but I will go out on a limb and say that, aside from the political parties’ flags (one day I will explain why I find political parties’ participation in public demonstrations a little annoying), there were many (many) non-labelled groups of demonstrators who attached their hatred for this technology of the past to the realization that the government is simply pursuing the interests of the so-called Atomlobby.
Imagine my surprise when, once I reached the Reichstag building, where many demonstrators were gathering at the end of the march, I see this.

sexist poster

(Nutte= whore) My jaw dropped. All of the sudden I felt the need to shout that “it’s so fucking sexist, it will undermine your entire message, you idiot!”. But no one would probably listen, because everyone next to me was literally drooling over this poster, photographers were shooting pictures, one next to me was shooting while mumbling “that’s damn right”.
Merkel’s gender is virtually absent from the public debate (and other female politicians don’t get this treatment), but, ehi, sometimes it come in handy, don’t you think? The Atomlobby is known to be a men’s club, so since Merkel and her colleagues are listening to them they are submitting to their request, but since she’s chancellor and she’s a woman, it’s much more effective to use the w word. So, “woman who submits to the requests of a man (or men)= whore”. It’s obvious right? If we keep analyzing the poster, the imagery is also “interesting”: Merkel is portrayed wrapped around the German flag, with an obvious clivage. Is it that she had nothing else to put on? Is it that she had just “submitted” to the Atomlobby and had to put something on real quick?
All of these substrata of sexism in one poster. I love subtlety.
Let’s compare:

Good way of putting it (Translation: “Chancelor Merkel, christian and PhD in physics, she knows what she’s doing”) Sexist way

sexist poster

I guess the call for changing the system is valid, provided you don’t ask anyone to change “systemic sexism”, right?

Also, kudos to you Posteo for distributing flyers to the demonstrators, flyers strategically featuring that nice recycling green and all. It adds a new meaning to targeting and marketing. Because, after all, you can always get a few more customers when there are 100.000 potentially walking towards you.

The rest of the photos I took at the demonstration are in the gallery below (will be updated soon). Click on one and then navigate through.


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