5. Sex Strike! Lysistrata,
the Body and Resistance

Antiuniversity, London, 2015

            This participatory performance of Aristophanes’ most well-known play Lysistrata gave attendees the opportunity to participate in an unrehearsed group performance followed by a wider discussion of how sex and the body is used in political protest. Written in 411BC, Lysistrata is a comic play following the sexual politics of Ancient Greece. Led by the formidable Lysistrata, the women of Greece vow to hold a sex strike against their husbands and collectively storm the Acropolis, in the hope of bringing an end to the Peloponnesian War. This strategy, however, does not go as smoothly as first hoped, and the struggle for power between men and women intensifies. This unrehearsed performance, part of the Antiuniversity programme of events, opened up a free and animated discussion about contemporary instances of sex strikes, naked protest and other forms of body-related activism. Examples included the women of the Filipino town of Dado who brought the end of a period of violence with a week-long sex strike, to Votes4Nudes, a Canadian Instagram campaign motivating previously apathetic voters with nudes and selfies after casting their ballot.