Women (and men) hold mass Tube picnic

Women and men from across London came togather today for a mass picnic on the Circle Line.

What happened before this?

The furore around the Women Who Eat On Tubes Facebook group has been everywhere.

If you’ve somehow managed to miss it, the long and short is that a lot of people are unhappy about a Facebook group where people post pictures of women eating on the Tube for others to make derogatory comments.

The page’s founder, Tony Burke, has said the page is “high art” and is a “celebration” of women eating on the Tube. However, offensive and sexist comments and picture captions on the group (some which are still visible on the old Tumblr page of the same name) appear to contradict that.

Critics say the group is used to bully and stranger-shame women, particularly as it doesn’t feature men and the comments (the vast majority from men) focus heavily on the woman’s appearance.

What happened today?

In a show of solidarity in response to the page, a group of women and men got together to have a picnic on the Circle Line today.

Women who eat on tubes protest

LondonlovesBusiness.com went with them to find out more.

Women who eat on tubes protest

“It was about turning it around, making it a fun thing and like parodying it in a way,” Lucy Brisbane Mckay, one of the organisers of the event told us.

“One of the big problems is that they’re not up for asking for consent. If you want to take photos of people fine. Ask them after, and it wouldn’t be problematic. But at the moment is it problematic.”

Women who eat on tubes protest

Women who eat on tubes protest

The organisers of the event maintain it’s not about getting the page banned, but about starting a conversation with those who use it.

Women who eat on tubes protest

Women who eat on tubes protest

One of the founders of the Facebook group Women who eat wherever the f*** they want, Sarah Hardcastle said: “It’s a silly protest in itself and just a way of saying yes we can just eat where we want, we can breathe where we want, we can walk where we want, you know? It’s got a bit ridiculous now.”

Women who eat on tubes protest

While the majority of participants were women, Londonlovesbusiness.com spoke to a number of men who joined in.

Women who eat on tubes protest

Women who eat on tubes protest

Barrister Paul Powlesland said: “It’s an issue of having respect for other people and their autonomy. Why would you deliberately do something that people have said upsets them and makes them uncomfortable?”

Women who eat on tubes protest

LondonlovesBusiness.com received permission from everyone in our photos.

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