Thursday, December 23, 2010

In regards to the photograph and article posted on The Cove Guardians blog

*the story and photograph mentioned are originally posted on our blog:*

I have been thinking of the layout of this photograph for a while now, and about what it may symbolize and represent... Me, a white skinned male in the center, flanked by two womyn at my side who are poised slightly behind me as if submissive to my presence. It made me feel uneasy that what was originally intended to be a strong and powerful animal rights message may also echo a visualization of a tyrannical, sexist and male dominated system. A friend of mine brought it up to me tonight and confirmed my fears, and I don't want this photo to be a misrepresentation of myself and my political beliefs. The animal rights movement is not without it's faults, and even within what seems like a progressive and forward thinking community sexism and male-dominance are still present.

We took this photo as part of an article that was posted about us in The Nanaimo News Bulletin that can be seen on our blog ( Marley, Carisa and myself met with a photographer at the harbor to snap some photos to accompany the story of our trip we are planning to Taiji, Japan to act as Cove Guardians, and so we all decided to wear our Sea Shepherd shirts. Unplanned and unknowing, Marley and Carisa both ended up wearing the same navy blue t-shirt while I wore the white. Needing to break up the colors (and me being the least camera shy) I was placed in the middle for the photograph. At the time we were busy awkwardly shuffling back and forth in front of the camera and freezing in the winter sea breeze, not considering the positioning in the photograph and what it may represent.

Marley and Carisa are both powerful, passionate and strong womyn and I am proud to be organizing and traveling with them. Although this picture might suggest otherwise, there are no hierarchal dynamics in our relationship as a group or in our personal relationships. We are all struggling for the same ends, and as an animal rights activist, environmentalist and feminist I strongly oppose all forms of oppression and domination. Bell Hooks was an author that originally encouraged me to identify as a feminist, though I am male-bodied, by stating that "Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression" which is something that I believe in greatly. If you are a boy and those words hit close to home with you, then I STRONGLY encourage you to identify as a feminist, apply those principles to your daily life and research ways to be a better ally to womyn and anyone struggling for equal rights.

I hope this clarifies the photograph and any concerns, if anyone would like to discuss it more feel free to send me an email at: I don't claim to have all the answers, and I don't claim to be completely free of the sexist mentalities and mental binds that growing up in a patriarchal society have given me. But I would like to say for the record that all movements are important and necessary, and that oppressing a species deemed "weaker" and "less intelligent" then ours is no better or worse than oppressing someone because of their gender or race.

One struggle, one fight,

Mike XVX

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A short trip through Thailand: Video

Thailand XVX from mike xvx on Vimeo.

"A short video compilation of my trip across Thailand.

There were some amazing things about the trip, like our 3 day trek through the jungle near the Mae Tang river and the lantern festival in Chiang Mai. But there were also some horrible realities that we had to face while we were there, like the neglected cats and dogs that fill each city, the beatings and cuts the elephants endure when they're "trained" to give tourists rides on their backs, and the grotesque nature of the sex industry in Bangkok, where womyn and children are enslaved and forced to do disgusting sexual acts with and in front of paying tourists. Although this video highlights the more positive sides of my trip, the knowledge and memory of all those terrible things will stick with me. For anyone that plans to visit Thailand, or any other country for that matter, be sure you are not supporting any industry that profits off of humyn and non-humyn exploitation and suffering. We took whatever opportunity we had to voice our disapproval when people offered us these things, and tried our best to embarrass them, shame them, or at the very least make it clear that we want no part in what they were offering us. It's the fault of the paying general public that these things continue, and it's our responsibility to take a stand against it. If we stay complicit and silent in what goes on around us, and don't speak up for those who have no voice, we are no better than the perpetrators. Fight back."