‘ELEPHANT’ – a powerful dance-short against street harassment

“We must be clear in our stand against all types of abuse. We are loud in saying we will no longer tolerate all of the subcultures that live under the Rape Culture Umbrella. We will stand united against misogyny, sexism, machismo, sexual harassment, patriarchy, chauvinism, or any other form of predatory behavior.” – Elizabet Velasquez

“Elephant” is a short choreo-film, a rebellion against street harassment faced by women, of all colors, class, creed or religion. Created entirely by women of color, the film is the collective effort of a group of interdisciplinary artists from New York City. The artists came together to highlight the importance of looking at street harassment
from a lens of reclamation of power.

Adapted from the powerful poem by Elizabet Velasquez, and performed by dancer-choreographer Keomi Tarver, the film uses interpretative dance, visual art and figurative language to guide its audience on an experiential journey that invites the viewer into what women go through by simply, walking down the street.

“The idea is that a woman’s body is often not her own,
it is often whatever a patriarchal society has claimed it to be.
We believe that all people who identify as women as well as gender nonconforming individuals
who are impacted by street harassment
have a right to their bodies and in this video,
we take our bodies back.”

The video was directed, filmed and edited by Connie Chavez and produced by Wendy Angulo.

Sometimes, I walk down the street,
and my Body is a Chapel

And men, who think they have holy water for saliva
spit blessings my way

I guess I dressed like a sin today!

I guess I helped someone break a commandment or ten
by being a woman with a body of water, most men are not
Moses enough for..

Sometimes,

I walk down the street, and the men
they call me beautiful..

and depending on their tone, this either makes me feel like ART
or a CHEAP EXHIBIT.

I have learned 
that a woman’s body is a dialect
that a man cannot speak
how quick
his hands become sign language
how quick
my skirt becomes signal for “touch me”

Sometimes
I walk down the street

and I am a 3 Ring Circus.

The men
they think me Lion
In a cage..
underestimate the SHARP in my teeth

I say “I am BIG and ferocious”

they say “You are big and INSECURE”

they say “Watch your mouth, FAT GIRL”

they say “Fat Girl” like..
like it’s an insult like..
like I’ve never drowned men in-between these thighs like..
like they mad they don’t know how to swim, like..
LIKE THEY DIDN’T KNOW

that the ELEPHANT is the main attraction at the circus for the way its body
resembles Cement
and Feathers simultaneously..

I be floating

I be sky and concrete

I be a woman that looks like heaven
but tastes
like a broken sidewalk

So I GET
why they be trippin’
why I be “Ho”
why I be “Bitch”
why I be “Fat”

Cause I be ANYTHING, but theirs!

So the next time
I walk down the street like a Chapel
Make sure you see GOD
In this WOMAN.

You keep your hands clasped
like a prayer I’m never gonna answer.

Confess your sins to your mother, the First Deity you ever blasphemed against..

See if she forgives you..
See if she has more room in her uterus for you

than I do. You could never

be born again in-between these thighs
or be baptised in this wet. The next time,

I walk down the street like a piece of ART,

You make sure you see a MUSEUM
in This WOMAN..

I,
am a collection of body parts that your tongue will never curate. The next time,
I walk down the street,
like a 3 Ring Circus,
you make sure you are more freak show 
than cannonball

I have always respected a man who can swallow his PRIDE like a sword
than the one that shoots off at the mouth

and ALWAYS
misses.

 

 

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