Hi! I’m Nicole and I am the founder of BFL.
I was politicized through the circumstances of my own life. I was radicalized through the direct experience of organizing. It was through this radicalization that BFL was formed.
In 2011, I was a young liberal feminist. After a lifetime of sexual violence, I had finally found a movement that told me it wasn’t my fault and that sex can actually be pleasurable and fun. I was excited and ready to fight back, so when a friend asked if I wanted to organize Slutwalk in Boston, I didn’t hesitate to say yes.
The march was huge and it drew massive media attention, I should have been flying on good feelings. I wasn’t. Slutwalk was a success and yet, it was missing something huge. It felt tangential to my life and my experiences, I felt on the margins of a protest I organized.
Then, through the hard work of activist across the globe who offered their critiques, it clicked. The Toronto Slutwalk started because a police officer told female college students that “if you don’t want to get raped, don’t dress like a slut.” Slutwalk fought back against the misogynistic logic of this officer, but we didn’t actually question or challenge the role of police in society. We didn’t ask ourselves why police are so invested in protecting rapists and abusers. We didn’t take into account the centuries of work black women have done to expose police terrorism against them and their communities. We didn’t see how sex positive ideology just added another layer of coercion and was inadequate to addressing male violence and sexual exploitation. We didn’t think to look at the connections between misogyny and capitalism, we didn’t look at who profits from women’s subordination.
During this period of education, I helped found Occupy Boston along with dozens of others. I was hoping this would be the movement that could push women’s liberation forward. While the movement won extremely important gains for working class and poor women, Occupy also fell short. Women were being raped in the encampments, women were being silenced and pushed out and harassed, we couldn’t even make a brief statement on sexism without men threatening us. And so once again, it was back to the drawing board.
In spring 2012, Occupy has slowed down and I was starting to get questions about when the next Slutwalk was happening. I had no interest in organizing this event again, yet I did not feel that I could make the call to cancel it. Instead, I called for an open meeting. Over fifty women gathered in the Boston Common where we discussed and debated on whether Slutwalk should happen. We came to consensus that we would take the streets, but not under the banner of Slutwalk. Instead, we would focus on male violence, incarceration, policing and the need for unionization. The March to End Rape Culture and Gender Inequality became BFL’s first event. We didn’t plan on forming an organization but it was clear that the feminist movement was floundering and that the left was unable to front a real challenge to patriarchy.
Our goal is for BFL to be a place where we can truly build a revolutionary feminist movement, that not only challenges people’s attitudes but the very structure of society itself. I know, it’s a big goal for a small group but it’s been four years and we are still going strong!