This unprecise chronological overview of my exclusion will hopefully make it possible for me to move on, and never again have to re-tell the horror I’ve gone through.
After Siperia – a social centre located in a small wooden building in the east of Helsinki – burnt down in the summer of 2006, there was a year long break. There had been an agreement between the city and the youth department to find another building. But, of course, nothing happened, so action was taken. During a year and a half several places were squatted in order to put pressure on the city.
[More of the history of squatting in Helsinki here]
Live: a) Spring 2007. I meet with Micke who invites me to do something about the sexism in the project. Our relation goes pretty fast from interest and intimate sharing to constantly dealing with, and in her case – avoiding to deal with sexism, both in the relation between us as friends as well as in our relation within the project. 1) klkjlj 2) lkj b) Autumn 2007. I move into a squat and stay there for about two months. The first evening I come there I’m greeted, by Kassu, with a brusk “If you stay here – you work!”. And I haven’t checked with a house meeting if I can stay there – so the same man makes a phone call, after which she says I’m “ok”. I still don’t know who she was checking with in order to “okay” me. c) lkj d) A few women create a women’s separatist room in the squat. e) lkj
Over the internet: a) Autumn 2007. I get on the mailing list of the project after having reminded list admin Aleksi about it 3 or 4 times. 1) My first post on the list is related to a screening of stand up comedian Bill Hicks, at the squat. I try to open up a discussion on sexism, pointing out sexist and homophobic material in her acts. 2) The criticism isn’t well taken. There is a lot of response: Bill Hicks is a genious, and I can’t criticise art, and I lack a sense of humor. A lot of the response has clear sexist tones. One man states openly that she hates feminists, telling me I should learn when to shut up in order to get laid. 3) I check with the list if the same rules goes there as for the squat. “No sexism…” etc. 4) The list admin replies that she wouldn’t tolerate sexism on this list, but that she wouldn’t call these comments particularly sexist. Just bad behavior. Boys will be boys. b) After this the standard is set on the list for what it’s okay to say about me. I continue trying to address problems related to sexism in the squat. I get private mail from persons on the list, as well as people saying openly on the list that I’m mentally ill and that I should be banned from the list and the house. The mental illness declarations are protested against, but most of the other aggressive behavior is accepted. Needless to say I’m not feeling very well, neither on the list nor in the house. I’m an open target for sexist aggression.
The list admin, Aleksi, has herself a problem with violent sexist behavior that has still not been discussed within the scene. Some years ago she aggressed on a person she was intimate with. She scorched this person’s self-made juggling balls, and then grabbed hold of her fingers and bent her arm back untill she was in pain. Several persons witnessed this taking place, but in spite of the woman asking for solidarity in confronting Aleksi on this behavior, nobody did anything. Instead the woman was talked about as a person who “exaggerates” things.