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Hi, I'm Daniela. Welcome to my personal lair on the Internet. This is where I write about storytelling, activism, technology and pop culture. Sometimes I post videos. I update my lair when the mood strikes me. Follow me on Twitter for daily updates (@dcap).

On My Radar: Co-optation of Occupy Wall Street

The Occupy movement has not only gone global — it’s gone mainstream. MTV is creating a reality show about it, The (gasp) New York Times is finally doing balanced reporting on it (although this piece on “getting fat” by protesting is beyond ridiculous) and people are finally starting to (cleverly) poke fun at it.

I am taking a holistic approach and feel that all of this coverage — good and bad — is great for the movement. People can decide for themselves what’s worth paying attention to. In my ongoing research of how people are engaging with each other on Occupy topics globally, I have found some hilarious and sometimes inappropriate examples of how people are exploiting and co-opting the movement for their own personal and financial gain — as well as just for the lulz.

Hot Chicks of Occupy Wall Street Tumblr/Film

Salon recently did a Q&A with the founder Steven Greenstreet, who defended his project:

“In NO way do I ‘deride’ feminism. I do, however, deride hate, slander, and wasted opportunities. So many ‘feminists’ have been ranting about acts of violence that should enacted on me, using the word ‘fuck’ a lot, and Jill Filipovic (who wrote the Feministe article on me) is a self-declared ‘hater.’ …I’m also not going to apologize for calling these empowered women ‘hot.’ They knocked me off my feet.”

The backlash from the feminist community (I hate saying that but it’s essentially what it was) reminded me why I have such an ongoing love/hate relationship with being identified as a feminist. I, Daniela, as a self-identified feminist, was not offended by this Tumblr. I thought it was silly but also eye-opening. It reminded me of the power of sexuality. There will be people who look at this blog for the hot chicks but who end up learning a little something.

If the only coverage of Occupy was about hot chicks, I would have a problem — but that’s not the case. Feminists cannot control who uses the word “hot,” and if I had made a Tumblr exactly like this (as I woman), I suspect things would be different.

Let’s take it all with a grain of salt, shall we? The Tumblr is most definitely NOT the same as “Girls Gone Wild.” It’s clearly a celebration of (his definition of the label — I have my own) “hot women” participating in Occupy events. Free speech is what it is — you can hate his Tumblr and write a million blog posts about it but he has a right to continue working on his project and I’m just thankful that he’s obviously coming from a (even if misguided) positive place and exploring a facet of the movement that people DO care about. Everyone cares about hotness — if you say that you don’t, you’re lying and you should stop turning my blog into a house of lies.

Here’s my “I stand with Occupy Wall Street” video, by the way. I think I look pretty hot in it too 😉

The best thing about the Occupy movement for me is that it’s a leader-less movement not affiliated with any political party and no one person represents what it’s about — you represent YOURSELF. You don’t represent Democrats or Republicans, men or women — you represent YOU. So share your story, talk about the movement with people and take this time to help build the world you want to live in. Be accountable for your own shit.

Artists promoting their “soundtrack” for the movement

This always happens (9/11, any war, etc.) but for some reason I’m more interested this time around. Tom Morello from Rage Against The Machine has attended protests in LA and NY played original songs for protesters. They seem to love it. I think he’s an example of an artist with a history of activism who genuinely cares about Occupy — while promoting himself.

Here he is speaking with Keith Olbermann about the role of music and culture in the Occupy movement:

I am a Tom Morello fan and think he’s the real deal. Another artist who is benefitting from the additional attention is Talib Kweli — an amazing artist who is suddenly being discussed on simply by associating with the Occupy movement. I don’t think Talib is being a culture vulture — I do think he’s being smart about combining his activism with his music career.

“I’m Getting Arrested” app
This app — inspired by Occupy events — for Android allows you to tell family, friends and even your legal team where you are, reports CNET. It’s available as a free download and in several languages, a nod to the global reach of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Quadrant 2, Inc. is Artist / Technologist Jason Van Anden’s software development company. I am sure the press mentions are helping their business while their free app helps protesters. It’s a win-win situation involving co-optation, which helps to explain why I don’t think all acts of co-optation are bad.

“Occupy” merch on Etsy

Occupy may be a leaders-less movement — but it still comes with necklaces, t-shirts and other swag thanks to the crafty merchants on Etsy.

Occupy merch on

I highly doubt each of these merchants is donating 100% of their profits to the Occupy movement so this is a classic example of co-opting for personal profit. Do I think this is bad? No. Do I think they should donate a portion of their profits to the movement? Yes. So until Occupy attains non-profit status and trademarks “Occupy,” these merchants are legally free to produce as many “Occupy” branded products as they want — but I hope they consider what it takes to fuel a movement and kick a few bones towards the Occupy fund.

Come on, guys. Do the right thing. Make a donation to the Occupy funds in your area.
With liberty and justice and silkscreened t-shirts for all.

And last but not least: People getting laid through Occupy!

Oh, Craigslist. You are the portal through which all weird shit travels.

Wall Streeter Wants to Bang Occupy Wall Streeter-m4w-40
“Yes, I see you everyday protesting, which I realize is you just craving the attention that I will give you. Why sleep on the cold streets, whining about money that you don’t have, when with one simple click of your mouse and email you can have all you desire. Its that simple.”

And another:

Occupy me.- w4m-28 (Financial District)
“Gorgeous, sexy female trader seeks a hot and bothered 99%’er to occupy her all night long. Let yourself be exploited through deeply taxing work. Resist passionately until your voice is hoarse. Succumb and fall asleep wrapped in my Sferra 1,000 thread count sheets, then make me espresso at 6am before I leave to master the universe. Repeat. Welcome to the 1%. Occupy me.”

I think it’s even more hilarious that these Craigslist gems showed up on my radar thanks to Business Insider. Their coverage of Occupy has been the most random and hilarious stuff I’ve seen so far!

1 comment

  • grace

    “Oh, Craigslist. You are the portal through which all weird shit travels.” You are hilarious, D. Also, thanks for posting! And I love Etsy, but they should damn-well-right be donating their Occupy proceeds.

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