At first glance, yesterday’s protest at the Shard in London was a thoroughly cutting-edge affair.
Not only were the six Greenpeace activists scaling a building – Western Europe’s tallest, in fact – that did not exist in its entirety until last year. They were also using all the resources of social media, from constant Twitter updates to a live webcam of the climb, to help publicise their cause. Indeed, even that had a contemporary twang: there may have been some desultory drilling for oil in the Arctic in the 1970s, but it is only now that it is taking off.
And yet, amid all the modernity, anachronism abounded. Specifically in many of the reports of the event. Were such activities undertaken by men, the proponents would, of course, merely be “protesters”. Undertaken by women, however, nothing but “female protesters” would do. So much for the 21st century.