For centuries, people have used protesting as an inclusive, grassroots way to bring about change. While protests can vary from non-violent to ferocious and small-scale to a million-member march, each has a specific goal it seeks to achieve. Here are some of the most bizarre protests methods to date:
Bizarre Protest Movement No. 1: Performer Protests Shark Finning
To protest shark finning, or removing a shark’s fin (used in delicacies like fin soup) and discarding the now-handicapped shark into the water to die, British performing artist Alice Newstead decided to pierce her skin with fishing hooks and hang by the hooks in a busy shopping area.
Newstead’s protest, which took place at LUSH cosmetics in San Francisco, attracted hundreds of gawkers as well as local and national media attention. Newstead, who was meant to represent the shark during the demonstration, allowed herself to hang by the same hooks used in the gruesome shark fishing process. She has performed this stunt multiple times.
Bizarre Protest Movement No. 2: Just Plane Stupid
Protesters from the Plane Stupid organization hope to put an end to airport expansion, stop airplane advertising, and transition into more sustainable methods of transportation. The group, which began in 2005, has staged multiple non-violent protests in which they occupy airports and force airlines to delay or cancel flights. In 2010 at the Aberdeen airport, nine Plane Stupid protesters were fined for occupying the airport’s tarmac, affecting hundreds of travelers and preventing an emergency flight from taking off.
Bizarre Protest Movement No. 3: Nude Protesting
Protesters from the activist group FEMEN are known most for their wild, profanity-infused, topless protest techniques. The Ukrainian-based group is composed mainly of young women who claim to use female beauty and body as a weapon aimed at overthrowing patriarchal society. The women, who often protest partially or completely nude, primarily target religion, the exploitation of women, and dictatorship. They have led wild protests, many of which end in violence. FEMEN has few known supporters, and its critics deem the protests futile as vulgar, virulent exhibitionism doesn’t create change so much as it does shock.
Despite the backlash, other organizations have used nudity as a form of protest, though many lack the violent, militaristic attitude FEMEN embodies. In the United States, Go Topless, an organization that supports gender equality in shirtlessness laws, created Go Topless Day. The daylong event takes place on the Sunday closest to Women’s Equality Day, and women are encouraged to protest by taking the streets topless. The Go Topless organization even offers information regarding each state’s nudity laws on their “boob map.”