The University of Cincinnati is a public university. As of this morning, it is also a pubic university. The College Fix reports:
Nearly a dozen billboard-sized photos of vaginas in various states – including shaved ones, others that are blemished, and still some with tampons inserted – are slated for display today and tomorrow at the University of Cincinnati as part of a student-sponsored ‘Re-Envisioning the Female Body’ exhibit.
The female genitalia photos are in direct retaliation to an anti-abortion display hosted by prolife students at the university last May that included graphic images of aborted fetuses, its organizers state.
‘Their billboard-sized photographs equated mutilated fetuses with genocide victims in an effort to shame women,’ states Female Body exhibit organizers on their Facebook page. ‘Our demonstration serves to call attention to the vaginas as a site of conflict … its purpose is to incite conversation about the objectification, exploitation and discrimination of women’s bodies … it points to the negative disposition our society holds toward the vagina.’
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The exhibit, which includes eleven 4-by-6-foot photographic enlargements of vaginas and 15 smaller signs featuring quotes about the female experience via the vagina, is hosted by the university’s LGBTQ Alliance and UC Feminists.
Kate Elliott, a student organizer of the exhibit who also took the vagina photos, told City Beat, a Cincinnati-based weekly, “I overexposed the images so they’re really jarring. They’re not cutesy or subtle, they’re right up in your face.” It’s sort of like Georgia O’Keeffe if O’Keeffe had actually painted women’s intimate parts rather than merely suggesting them.
The College Fix notes that the reaction to the vagina display is mixed. One female student wrote on Facebook, “The event is brave. It shocked me to just hear about this event, but that is necessary.”
A male student is also quoted:
I am really glad to see this happening at UC. We live in an incredibly misogynistic area…. Hopefully this can spark a much-needed discussion in Cincinnati about why we must let women control their own bodies and never allow so-called ‘pro-lifers’ to bring their misogynistic hate speech around here again.
Yeah, and I’ll bet he buys “Playboy” for the articles!
One potential obstacle to the exhibit remaining in place is local statutes on displays of public nudity. If the organizers of the exhibit can demonstrate that the images are intended as “art,” the images are protected. The question is whether the creators of the billboards have enough dedication to their cause to admit that that’s not the purpose the photos are meant to serve.
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