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Why I Love Glasgow: Anti-Rape Protest at George Square

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Published by The Huffington Post.

I could probably list a hundred reasons why I love Glasgow, with everything from the culture, music, architecture, nightlife, and countless restaurants, to buskers and bagpipers on Buchanan Street, the Clyde, the Duke of Wellington with his ever-stylish traffic cone hat, and, of course, the people of Glasgow themselves.

One thing, however, that might just surpass everything else on this long list is Glasgow’s progressive attitude. When it comes to social issues – whether it be politics, the refugee crisis, homophobia, racism, xenophobia and everything in between – Glaswegians never shy away from making their views known, and continuously step up to champion worthy causes, and to defend groups facing unlawful persecution.

So, it was no surprise to see such a huge public reaction from Glasgow, Edinburgh and further throughout the country when controversial pro-rape pick-up artist known as Roosh V planned neo-masculinist meetings in Glasgow and Edinburgh in an attempt to spread his militant misogynistic views in Scotland. But after tens of thousands signed petitions against the meet-ups for heterosexual men only and Roosh V received more backlash from Glasgow than ‘anywhere else combined’, the rape advocate was forced to cancel the events as he was no longer able to guarantee safety for his supporters.

As a side note: amongst many other, shall we say, ‘negative personality traits’, it also seems that Roosh V is irony impaired considering that he couldn’t see anything strange about worrying over non-consensual violence against his supporters, while, paradoxically, advocating for the private legalisation of non-consensual sexual violence against women. Apparently, he doesn’t seem to see how he is undermining his own argument.

Following the cancellation of said meetings where Roosh V was not anticipated to attend in person but through a video-chat instead, many started to speculate that the announcement was, in fact, a false publicity stunt designed to make the protesters think they had won while secretly allowing the meet-ups to go ahead. These suspicions were quashed, however, on Saturday, February 6 (the day that the Glasgow event was scheduled to take place), when Glasgow’s famous George Square, affectionately nicknamed ‘Freedom Square‘, played host to an anti-rape protest that spread throughout the city centre.

Quickly generating the #glasgow4equality hashtag on Twitter, protestors held signs branded with the messages including: ‘Scotland for gender equality’, ‘Try picking up some ethics’, ‘Men are not predators, women are not prey’, ‘No means no’, and more. Many also captured videos and images of the demonstrators who peacefully marched through Buchanan Street and Sauchiehall Street to stand up for women’s rights, protest against misogyny, rape, and gender inequality, and to show that Scotland will never support or condone views that objectify and disrespect women.

Many have argued that writing, reading, tweeting and talking about Roosh V merely plays into the militant misogynist’s hands as it provides him with free publicity and a wider reach. While I agree that Roosh V, as an individual, should not necessarily receive media coverage or online exposure, I think that allowing him and his supporters to spout their poisonous and backwards views would only condone their damaging, sexist behaviour.

Glasgow’s reaction to this story is not merely about one man. The backlash created by the people of Glasgow – and throughout Scotland – is about supporting gender equality and the significance of consent, refusing to condone rape advocates, and tackling the larger issues of rape culture and societal sexism.

While people like Roosh V continue to spread their dangerous anti-feminist views, the people of Glasgow will continue to take a stand.

What do you think of Roosh V and Glasgow’s reaction to him? Let me know in the comment section below.

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