Good news, students of the University of Cincinnati!
Your campus feminists, in partnership with Planned Parenthood, have decided to host an excellent, if not extremely tasteful event on campus entitled “Re-envisioning the Female Body,” where they will explore the cultural and environmental implications of the female genitalia and celebrate the hard-fought success of feminism in the face of blatant oppression and sexism that has historically resulted in women being dehumanized and reduced to the sum of their sex organs…by displaying billboard-sized photographs of their sex organs.
Be warned. The link will take you to a picture of someone’s vagina. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Okay, go.
Our hope for this project is to combat these inequalities and abuses through the use of our vaginas as a form of collective resistance to these oppressions and to claim our positions as individuals with unique experiences, perceptions, and needs. This project is not meant to be a success story, but to further complicate ideas of agency and oppression, to be a catalyst for further conversation into all of these subject areas. The pose of the models will be from an ironically medical perspective: one with legs fully spread, as if at the gynecologist, as the female body has been compartmentalized by legislative healthcare decisions. The ‘billboards’ will speak ironically to both the sale and suppression of female sexuality within our social system. The images will mimic the same style of representation-a selling and enforcing of patriarchy- that has shaped our visual culture both historically and contemporarily. However, the idea is to juxtapose these images with quotes and ideas from the models, disrupting the visual playing field and forcefully inserting our voice where it has always been missing.
Mostly, this project will accomplish two things: (1) giving college-aged boys something to think about before they go to bed and (2) pedestrian traffic jams borne out of intense confusion at a display of giant photos of vaginas. Because, when it comes down to it, only Womens’ Studies majors actually think this way. Everyone else just wonders what the people who come up with things like this do in their spare time, other than perhaps buying hand-crocheted tampons off Etsy and looking at photos of cats. And navel-gazing. Or vagina-gazing, as the situation warrants.
The protest is apparently a counter-counter-protest to a display of giant bloody baby parts photos that the pro-lifers on campus seem to think, forty years later, are an effective way of evangelizing to potential anti-abortion compatriots on campus, rather than merely a way of solidifying cultural stigma toward the movement. But whatever. Everyone’s being crazy here. But only one group of crazies has chosen to demonstrate their tenuous grasp of the subject matter by shoving a giant clam in your face and telling you to think about it.
UPDATE: It has been noted that, in order for this to be a display of vaginas, there would need to be interior shots involving a speculum, as the vagina part of the vagina is actually inside. What is being pictured is actually the vulva. While it might be totally possible that I would miss something like that, being a lawyer and writer nd not, say, a womens’ health professional, it scares me a little to think that Planned Parenthood, which specializes in womens’ health has yet to pick up on the difference, despite this being the six month mark of this vagina-centric campaign.
UPDATE II: Students for Life will be protesting this protest of their protest in a totally normal way.