Today's the Boobs on Bikes parade.
For the record, I am 25, I am a woman, I live in Auckland and this will be my second Boobs on Bikes parade.
I am not offended by Boobs on Bikes, nor am I turned on. I do however believe that it is a fantastic way to express how our society is not-as sexually repressed as I'm sometimes afraid it is.
The fact is, boobs are natural. Over half the world's population has a pair (or will grow a pair). Of the half that don't have them, at least half of those (a quarter of total world population) like them. Given that fact, and the fact that none of us would be here if someone hadn't had sex and made us, why is it so hard for the Auckland City Council to accept this event?
It seems so backwards and confusing to me.
Take this article.
In it, John Banks says he believes it is "bad for women, bad for Queen St and bad for Auckland".
Rubbish! It's not bad for women, it's empowering for women! Why should we be ashamed of our bodies? Why should we feel like they are something to hide? Plain and simple the porn industry is a multi billion dollar industry. Is John Banks saying he's never surfed a dirty website, watched a dirty movie or read a dirty magazine? Come off it! If we're talking about consenting adults then there's actually no problem! If a girl wants to ride down Queen Street in a (now, thanks almost entirely to the Auckland City Council) highly publicised event then what grounds does the Auckland Council have to say it's wrong?
Secondly, bad for Queen Street? Nope, I don't think so. Last year the council had roadworks right down Queen Street and the parade ran down other streets. The roadworks diverted millions of dollars away from Queen Street retailers before they were completed because nobody wants to shop amongst orange barriers, bulldozers, diggers and jack hammers. Boobs on Bikes will attract 100,000 people to Queen Street at lunch time - people who will want food, who will browse shops, who will park in town or take public transport and who will spend money. I contend that Boobs on Bikes is good for Queen Street.
Lastly, bad for Auckland. It's only bad for Auckland if the council continues it's puritanical stance on the issue. Right now the Council are a laughing stock. The fact is, thousands of people only hear about the parade because the Council kicks up such a fuss. The council promote the event every year simply by being such staunch opponents. The article states that John Banks has had 2,000 anti-parade submissions. Steve Crow has 100,000 spectators. If the council embraced the parade and actively promoted it in a positive light it would attract people to Auckland. It's quite a unique sight which people obviously want to see. I believe ordinary, good people want to see this parade as much as the twisted perverts and frankly I think the ordinary people far outweigh the perverts.
Cathy Casey, the major opponent of the parade (she wants to lie in the street with her friends to stop it) believes the people of Auckland don't want to see Boobs on Bikes. I say that the majority either do want to see it or they don't actually give a crap.
I predict the parade this year is going to be huge, simply for the fact the City Council is making such a fuss. In general, people do not take nicely to being told what they can and cannot see by authorities. They like to make that choice for themselves. Boobs on Bikes might not be everyone's cup of tea and that's fine, but the vast majority of people who don't want to see it don't care if other people want to go.
The simple fact is wide publicity will completely solve the problem - it will bring those who want to see the parade to Queen Street and boost spending in the area, it will mean that those who don't want to see it will go elsewhere (there is honestly very few activities which absolutely must be done on Queen Street) and it would act as a tourist draw-card if done right, I mean, look at Amsterdam's red light district, it brings people from all backgrounds and walks of life to check it out.
I admit that I'm probably a little more liberal than the average 'ordinary' person but I believe that every person should be able to express themselves, I believe that the human body is natural and there is nothing - N O T H I N G - obscene about it and I believe that the Boobs on Bikes parade is a good, if not great thing for the Queen Street economy.
Expect my post on the parade, including photos, tomorrow. I'm going to exercise my right to see boobs, I'm going to support Steve Crow, I'm going to give the middle finger to the Council and I'm going to enjoy it!