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Naked Protester Speaks Out For First Time About Full-Frontal Face-Off With Portland Cops

by : Emily Brown on : 27 Jul 2020 13:07
Naked Protester Speaks Out For First Time About Full-Frontal Face-Off With CopsNaked Protester Speaks Out For First Time About Full-Frontal Face-Off With CopsPA Images

A Black Lives Matter protester who challenged police with full-frontal nudity has spoken out after her demonstration went viral. 

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Images of the woman dubbed ‘Naked Athena’ were shared widely online earlier this month following protests in Portland, during which she walked out in front of crowds wearing nothing but a hat and a face mask, and stood her ground until officers began to leave.

The protester’s identity remained a mystery at the time, but she has since identified herself as Jen, a non-Black person of colour in her 30s.

Jen, a sex worker, opened up about her decision to bare all to the police in an interview with the Unrefined Sophisticates podcast, where she explained she was inspired to strip off after being affronted by the ‘macho’ stances of officers.

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Though the display was incredibly powerful, Jen admitted there ‘wasn’t planning and a lot of thought going into it’, adding:

There was what felt like to me a very deep feminine place in myself that felt provoked. All the federal officers and cops, I looked at them and they stand there with this stance. Feet planted, shoulder width apart, arms at their side, chest up, head high, and it’s a warrior stance… and it’s not earned.

The fury arose in me and I told my friends ‘I want to be naked, I want to confront them’.

Jen stripped off and handed her clothes to her partner before walking out in front of the crowd, where she felt like she entered the ‘eye of the storm’.

The protester described the experience as both calm and terrifying, and explained that she wanted to emphasise the fact that the Black Lives Matter protesters were not violent.

She commented:

None of these people have weapons. Empty their pockets, take off their clothes — nobody has weapons here.

I just wanted them to see what they’re shooting at.

Bank of America Commits $1 Billion to Help Combat Racial InequalityBank of America Commits $1 Billion to Help Combat Racial InequalityPA Images
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Pictures from her protest show Jen appearing to strike a series of yoga-style poses, and she revealed her moves were in part down to the fact that police were shooting pepper at her feet.

Jen described her nakedness as ‘political’, adding: ‘I’m a sex worker… it is my expression.’

Images of Jen were captured by The Oregonian/OregonLive photographer Dave Killen and tweeted by freelance journalist Donovan Farley, who described the officers as ‘little boys’ who ‘didn’t know what to do’ when Jen bared all.

Her protest has been widely praised online, where people have described Jen as a ‘queen’.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: News, Black Lives Matter, Naked Athena, Oregon, portland, Protest

Credits

Unrefined Sophisticates and 1 other
  1. Unrefined Sophisticates

    Exclusive Naked Athena of Portland Interview

  2. Donovan Farley/Twitter

    @DonovanFarley