Okay, I’m a bit late on posting this because it’s been a crazy week. That being said…like hell I’m letting this one go. I went to a carriage horse protest in Central Park on Mother’s Day. In addition to my human rights and feminist activism, I’m also into animal rights activism.
It started out pretty tame. We silently lined up along the sidewalk next to the carriage horses with our signs and banners, but we weren’t calling things out to carriage horse customers; the only people we were speaking to were the ones who were asking us questions.
The carriage drivers weren’t too happy, and immediately called the police over. Within half an hour, a stable owner came by with his camera, getting in our faces and trying to get a rise out of us, at which point, we started chanting simply for the sake of drowning him out. Their union leader showed up not too long after, and he quickly started calling things out to us as well.
It didn’t take too long for the other drivers to start harassing us, too. They eventually got the police to put a barricade around us, claiming we were harassing their customers. At one point, there were 10 officers surrounding us—a group of maybe 20?—even though the horse drivers were the ones getting in our faces, calling out offensive crap.
One of the carriage drivers had been arrested a couple of years ago for hitting a female protester with his whip after he saw her checking to see if the horses had water. He still has his job and was working that day, and when confronted about his arrest, he grinned widely said it had “felt great.”
And of course, what would a Mother’s Day protest be without the heavy dose of sexism? With the exception of one woman, all the carriage drivers that day were male. Though they were calling things out to the entire group, they were laying the sexism on thick with the younger female protesters. Even after the protest was over and I walked home, one of the drivers and their union leader were calling out for me to “get a boyfriend, get pregnant, pop out some kids, and stay home,” so that I could make myself useful on Mother’s Day.
How people could get on a carriage horse with drivers screaming shit like that at women for 2 hours straight completely blows my mind. Even if I had no problem whatsoever with the carriage horse industry, there is NO FUCKING WAY I would give my cash to some asshole who has no problem basically announcing that all we simple-minded womenfolk need is a good fuck to get set straight.
A romantic tradition in Central Park, indeed. Assholes.