Published in the November 14, 2002 issue of the weekly Point Reyes Light (California)
West Marin Women Strip for Peace
by Ivan Gale

Unreasonable Women
MAKING THEIR BODIES FIGURES OF SPEECH – West Marin women are serious enough about PEACE to spell it out. Wearing nothing but afternoon rain, 50 determined women lay down on Love Field near the Green Bridge Tuesday afternoon to literally embody PEACE and "show solidarity with the people of Iraq," said the organizers. "Women from all ages and walks of life took off their clothes, not because they are exhibitionists but because they felt it was imperative to do so," the organizers added. "They wanted to unveil the truth about the horrors of war, to commune in their nudity with the vulnerability of Iraqi innocents, and to shock a seemingly indifferent Bush Administration into paying attention." The coordinators, who came up with the idea only a day earlier, said that the coming together of this group on short notice was a testament to the seriousness with which the women view the threat of war with Iraq. "Remembering that tens of thousands of civilians have already died in Iraq as a result of US bombing and sanctions, these women are not convinced by Bush Administration fear mongering that one more person should die," organizers said. They hope the president and news media take notice. (Photo by Art Rogers)

West Marin women bared their bodies on Tuesday in Point Reyes Station for a photo protesting America's plans for armed conflict with Iraq.

Participants using solely their bodies spelled out ‘PEACE" as a light rain fell.

Portrait photographer and Light correspondent Art Rogers captured the moment from high atop a ladder using a homemade tripod standing about 15-feet above Love Field near the Green Bridge.

Participant Cynthia Clarkson of Point Reyes Station told The Light she hoped the photo will have a strong impact in America and abroad.

"I’m hoping it gets distributed so that the message gets across that women in America want peace," said Clarkson. "I want to do everything I can to stop the war that’s impending."

Marshall resident Donna Sheehan, who organized the group called "Unreasonable Women" for the photo, said she’s been pondering for four years a way women can "be heard on a very deep level."

Decades since last protest

Other participants said it had been decades, in many cases since the 1960s, since they’ve been in a protest.

Sheehan said the group first got the idea from a similar protest in Nigeria this past year. Sheehan said women fighting corporate exploitation stood nude in a vigil that lasted several days outside of Nigeria’s parliament.

"[The Nigerian women] shamed the men and won their cause," she said.

As the women circled together and readied for their cause Sheehan lauded the group for showing their courage. "Would you be willing to stand [naked] in front of the White House?" Sheehan said amidst cheers from the participants.

Making peace

"America is destroying the world in its pursuit of resources," said Melinda Leithold. "It’s thoughtless and feelingless."

As the women anxiously eyed gathering rainclouds, photographer Rogers moved them into position, posing each from his perch atop his ladder.

Afterward, organizer Sheehan said the day had proved to be a beautiful and powerful experience for all involved. "I think it’s going to a make a mark in the political and art world," she said.

Ana Carolina Monterroso contributed to this story.

Copyright 1995-2002 by the Tomales Bay Publishing Company/Point Reyes Light