# Knickers for Choice

Our #KnickersForChoice campaign was launched in September 2014. Through this campaign, which invites people to hang underwear with pro-choice slogans up in prominent public places and to share images of these knickers on social media, we sought to lend a tactic to the pro-choice movement. This page features our campaign launch video, ‘The Quiet Woman?’, our ‘knicker-bombing’ of Taoiseach Enda Kenny when he attended a fundraising dinner in London, our photo-call with Panti Bliss, alongside the #KnickersForChoice that have been making appearances across the island of Ireland and further afield. 

The Quiet Woman:  
23 September 2014

In our campaign video The Quiet Woman (2014) we challenged the positioning of motherhood within marriage and domesticity as the primary roles for women (as enshrined in Article 41.2 of the Irish Constitution), by playfully subverting the domesticated submissiveness of a character played by Irish actress, Maureen O’Hara, in the 1950s film The Quiet Man (1952,  Ford, Dir.). In the video we appear dressed in our trademark red clothing, each wearing a headscarf and sunglasses, simultaneously referencing a 50s glamour-puss, a washerwoman, and a revolutionary in disguise. We strung a washing line of knickers up in front of the Irish Embassy building in London and proceeded to give the building a good wipe-down, polishing it with knickers, all of which were decorated with pro-choice slogans.

The low paid worker has been the valorised identity of the Irish in Britain, and in this action we made visible the vast numbers of Irish women engaged in domestic work in Britain until the late twentieth century. The washerwoman, with her rolled up sleeves, metaphorically airing Ireland’s dirty laundry, while signaling her disgust and contempt, poses a stark challenge to the shame heaped on women who were victimised for pregnancy, poverty, sexuality and vulnerability in both Irish states. The video calls others to action, inviting them to create their own pro-choice knickers, to take a picture of them proudly hanging up in public and tweet the picture with the hashtag #KnickersForChoice.

 At the 2014 March for Choice we paraded a giant pair of #knickersforchoice on the streets of Dublin and wiped down monuments along the march route, demonstrating how we intended to clean up the state’s dirty laundry

# Knickers for Choice @ March for Choice Dublin:
27 September 2014
The 'knicker-bombing' of Enda Kenny (Taoiseach): 3rd October 2014

 Interrupting the Taoiseach’s party fundraiser at the Crown Moran Hotel in London in 2014, we landed a pair of ‘knickers for choice’ bearing the slogan ‘Repeal the 8th Enda’ under his nose on his dining table. Hilariously, his dining partner sought to spare the Taoiseach embarrassment by covering up the offending item with his napkin. Through this action we did indeed seek to embarrass the Irish Taoiseach about his administration’s failure to address women’s very real needs. In reaching global audiences via news networks and social media, this action shone a light on the draconian and archaic policies still perpetuated by the southern Irish state. In our rejection of the stigma and silence, imposed on the daily dozen forced to travel for abortion, we correctively deflected shame back onto the seat of power itself. 

A group of IMELDA’s were photographed with PantiBliss, the iconic Irish drag artist, prior to the 2015 equal marriage referendum in the Republic of Ireland, when she came to London to collect an award from Attitude Magazine. In presenting her with her very own sparkly pair of #KnickersForChoice, we sought to pay homage to Panti’s passionate gay rights activism. We see our common goal as grounded in advancing an Ireland where basic human rights of bodily and personal autonomy are equally respected by both Irish states across the diversity of individuals and communities living in them. This act of mutual solidarity also forged an image of how ‘femininity’ might be re-framed outside of patriarchal norms.

Photo call with Pantibliss:
13th October 2014
#Knickers for Choice appearances

  

Since we launched our campaign, #KnickersForChoice have sprung up in many public places. Activists from Rosa, Alliance for Choice and campaign groups north and south of the border have created a wonderful array of pro-choice underwear. Following the ‘knicker-bombing’ of Enda Kenny, a pro-choice activist set up a twitter account encouraging women to post ‘repeal the 8th’ knickers directly to the Taoiseach’s office. People have sent us images of their  #KnickersForChoice hanging up in airports, outside government buildings, on tractors and they have also appeared in many other countries, including a nice black lacy pair that found its way to the Vatican. On 25th of June 2016, we collaboratively organized a simultaneous ‘knicker-bombing’ of public sites with pro-choice activists in Ireland. The ‘knicker-bombing’ of the Tralee Court House and the GPO in Sligo gained local press attention.