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Conversations with CJ- Ivy Spencer

I had the pleasure of emailing Ivy over a couple of days to pose a couple of questions. She is the head of the Our Streets Now Activism account on Instagram. The following is our conversation.

What made you join OSN?

I have been an avid feminist since I can remember, I have also been sexually harassed in public since I can remember, so I guess the two went hand in hand! I am a close friend and training partner of Gemma Tutton (the co-founder of Our Streets Now) so I was always hearing about the campaign and watched it grow to the point where Gemma would call me 10 minutes before training to say “sorry will be a bit late Sky News are at my house” or something along those lines! It hit me then that DUH I should be part of this! It has been so rewarding; however small things may be the feeling that someone will share and educate others from our content is unbeatable.

What does your role entail?

I am the head of the Our Streets Activist team who work in conjunction with Our Streets Now to provide the wider context surrounding PSH. I lead a team of 12 incredible young women with roles varying from historical researcher to graphic designer. Every month we focus on. A different form of oppression using infographics, videos, podcasts and interactive content in order to allow people a wider understanding of the oppressed. I love it and I love them!

What makes a good ally?

A good ally is someone who takes their own time and initiative in order to educate themselves on an issue or community of people in which they are not included. Knowledge and second-hand experience are vital to understanding a person’s oppression, especially in you are in a position of privilege.

How can we be more intersectional?

Intersectionality is essential to allyship and feminism as a whole. How can we understand the experience of an oppressed group if we don’t consider the individualities within them? In order to make our understanding intersectional we must include these individuals in our research e.g., LGBTQ+ experience, disabled experience, experience of different ages, religions, ethnicities and so on.

Are things getting better for women? If so, how? If not, in what ways?

Though things are definitely improving for women, it is a work in progress. In Europe understanding of gendered oppression is broadening, especially in light of horrific cases such as that of Sarah Everard. In a more local sense, I have seen huge improvements even down to the vocabulary people use to describe the oppression of women and femmes, I strongly believe this is down to Our Streets Now who pushed for the use of terms like “public sexual harassment” as opposed to animalising phrases like “cat-calling” or “wolf-whistling”. However, there are always improvements to be made and we must consider the oppression still faced by women and femmes in less developed countries.

What does the Sarah Everard case say to you about contemporary politics surrounding VAW, Gender-Based-Violence, and PSH?

We are not protected by politics. The case has brought to light the utter lack of empathy and understanding within the governing body, highlighted by their half-hearted attempt at preventative measure such as increasing police funding. By approving the Crime Not Compliment law put forward by Our Streets Now not only will the safety of women and femmes feel more considered but it will also increase the need for education in schools

and colleges in such issues.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

To be honest I haven’t got a clue…dream situation would be living in a cosy wood cabin (with a shrine of feminist art) writing activist blogs, campaigns and just continuing to build the activist community

What are you listening to right now?

Technically a maths revision video but my last song was Ashnikko-Tantrum (obviously!)

What are you watching right now?

Again, technically a maths video but I am ADDICTED to RuPaul and YouTube videos about building your own wood cabin…

Pineapple on Pizza?

Yes if hungover, no way if sober.

This is an unedited email conversation between Ivy Spencer and CJ Simon. CJ is Head Multi-Media at Our Streets Now and Ivy is the head of the Our Streets Activist instagram. She works with the team to provide the wider context surrounding the PSH discussed on the main Our Streets page. She has been an avid feminist since she can remember, and has also been sexually harassed in public countless times.

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