Birth of a Nation opens in over 2,000 theaters nationwide Friday, October 7th, but around 7pm Thursday, as the first night-before screenings were starting at the famous Arclight theater in Los Angeles, a group of women gathered outside to sit in silent protest of Nate Parker and his film.
The group behind the protest, Fvck Rape Culture, issued a press release last week, detailing the meaning behind the event.
Nate Parker has the platform at this time to speak to his brothers on how to listen to us, respect our boundaries and rights as women, and lead the conversation on consent. When this happens, when he is willing to listen before silencing us, and when he can join the dialogue on what can be done to advance the voices of women everywhere silenced by rape culture and toxic masculinity, I will be his greatest support. Until then I will not stand for it. Instead I will sit, in quiet solidarity, with those in need of a moment of silence for the lives and stories ignored by those who care more about the appearance of change than the responsibility of creating it.
This is the kind of protest that so often gets criticized for “not doing anything,” which, let’s try to remember, is total bullshit and completely missing the point. Is this protest going to get Birth of a Nation out of theaters? Were people going to rip up their tickets when they saw these women? No, of course not, but that’s not the aim here.
Nate Parker has a voice. And he’s being given a crap-ton of money right now, as well as an exceptionally visible platform from which to speak that voice. These women are choosing to stay silent as a way to shine a light on his voice. They’re not going to tear him down; they’re simply trying to remind the world that even though they aren’t Oscar frontrunners doing worldwide press junkets, they take up just as much space in this world as Parker does, and they’re not apologizing for it or backing away from that space.