As of September, there’s a new feminist action group in town, and they’ve been making waves. Their mandate is clear — we use art & activism to create a safer space for those who feel harassed, exploited, or ignored in St. John’s because of their race, genders, sexualities, and bodies. Get to know SPAAT a bit more below.
Tell us something about you that anyone who knows you knows.
We’re a feminist collective dedicated to smashing patriarchy and shaking up the status quo. ‘Cause the status quo sucks: street harassment, sexual assault, violence against women, and the criminalization of sex work, are just some examples of the shit women have to put up with here and around the world. We want to organize against this violence. There are groups that work on these issues in different capacities, but we are a more DIY, anarcho group that isn’t constrained by funding and isn’t afraid to piss people off.
Tell us something about you maybe no one knows.
SPAAT is a collective, which means we are a group of individuals who work together on a common project without relying on internal hierarchies. We all have different perspectives on feminism and different ideas for the types of action we want to take. We deal with intersectional issues. We are a feminist group that’s involved in action dealing with race, ability, class, sexuality, and gender on a broader scale.
Name something you’ve done in your life you’re really happy with, and why.
Herbourage was the coolest thing we’ve accomplished so far. It was a super fun show that featured some rad womyn-fronted bands in town. We also put out a zine, which allowed us to put some words behind our actions.
The flurry of media attention that followed Herbourage was also really fun. We received a lot of support from local media, which was fabulous, but it was really the criticism we got that reminded us why we came together and what we’re up against.
Where would you like to live, other than NL? Why?
Somewhere everyone has equal opportunities and no one is marginalized because of their gender, sexuality, race, class, or ability. Somewhere people are taught that violence against womyn, trans, and non-binary folks is unacceptable and where the onus for gender-based violence is put on the perps.
What do you do right before bed?
We’re really into cuddling up with great fem-fronted tv shows like Broad City, Nashville, Empire, and The Good Wife.
What qualities do you admire most in a romantic partner?
Someone who isn’t scared of feminism and sees that it is necessary for our society to become a more equitable and a safer place. Who doesn’t physically, sexually, or emotionally abuse us. Who doesn’t tell us, “you deserved it, you wanted it, you’re not good enough.” Who supports our decisions and our independence. Who isn’t intimidated by our ferocity and intelligence.
Name someone you deem admirable, and why
The St. John’s Status of Women Council, the Newfoundland Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre, the Native Friendship Centre, Stella’s Circle, Iris Kirby House, and Wen-Do Self Defence are some role models we admire for the work they do locally to smash patriarchy, empower womyn, and make Newfoundland and Labrador a better place.
Name a song or album you’ll never be sick of
Pussy Whipped by Bikini Kill.
Suppose you’re dying, and a child asks you for a piece of wisdom. What would you say?
Smash patriarchy everyday. Do not let society limit your abilities or your ambitions. Know that criticism means you’re doing something right. Walk faster. Everyone else will catch up.