The woman who spoke while bare-chested at Stormont but for a feather necklace, has said her biggest concern is how her Christian grandmother will react to notions she has been ‘sinful and shameful’ in her actions.
Cara Park was one of a number of women who gave a speech to mark International Women’s Day on Saturday, and sparked criticism from some quarters by appearing topless.
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The 32-year-old performance artist from Londonderry, who also works on a BBC Irish language radio programme, said the semi-nudity was crucial to her speech on issues facing women around the world today.
Asked if she would do it again Cara said she would, and added that she had deliberately chosen not to appear with her breasts completely exposed in order to avoid the reaction her performance has subsequently received.
Despite the mixed reaction – including some fierce criticism from fellow females who have accused Cara of engaging in a ‘publicity stunt’ – she said she is worried mainly about the reaction of her Baptist grandmother.
“If my granny saw the pictures in isolation she would laugh and say ‘Oh that’s Cara’, I know she would,” she told the News Letter.
“But for her to see pictures with the headlines ‘Shameful ‘ and ‘Sinful’ I would be a bit worried about what she will think. Associating nudity exclusively with sexuality is wrong and it makes me so angry.
“The whole point was that it didn’t matter and should not matter what I was wearing.”
Cara said her speech, in which she referred to sexual violence against women and the gay blood ban among other issues, had been “completely overshadowed”.
DUP MLAs Jonathan Craig and Tom Buchanan criticised Cara’s state of undress. TUV leader Jim Allister made clear his feelings that the Assembly Commission should probe how the “indecent exhibitionism” has been allowed to happen.
Yesterday, speaker William Hay told the Assembly such incidents were the responsibility of members who sponsored particular events, and added that they needed to be “held to account”.
Saturday’s event was organised by Clare Bailey, office manager for Green Party MLA Steven Agnew, the event’s host.