vagina

On Thursday, The College Fix reported on a controversial event planned by feminists at the University of Cincinnati, in collaboration with Planned Parenthood, Inc.

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.”

University of Cincinnati’s student organizers included the following details on the event’s Facebook invitation:

Join us in our art display of vaginas on McMicken Commons! The display titled “Re-envisioning the Female Body” will show 12 billboard-sized photographs of vulvas. The group of photos represents a collaboration between a UC student photographer and 12 volunteer models from within and outside of the UC community. The images will be accompanied by posters sharing quotes from the models and from others about decisions that are made by us or taken from us concerning our bodies in areas of health care, queer sex, birth and abortion, and in stories of abuse and survival.

On the event’s Facebook page, reaction from online commenters was mixed:

One supporter named Jack wrote:

“I wish I wasn’t working, I’d really like to be there. I think vaginas are one of the most beautiful anatomical forms, especially when faithfully portrayed.”

Another supporter named Brian wrote:

“Proud feminist, and proud bearcat alum. Women have a right to the same freedoms as men in this world, and strong men have an obligation to support making that happen. Thank you for doing nothing less than the bold action necessary to spark the this much needed conversation.”

On the other hand, some others weren’t so impressed with the artistic value or political message behind the event.

One dissenter named Matthew wrote:

“I think any visual art that needs that many words to explain what it’s trying to communicate probably sucks as art. My best guess is it’s going to look an awful lot like porn and that’s good enough to get attention.”

Another named Erica wrote:

“This is the most ludicrous thing I’ve ever seen! I am a woman, I have a vagina, but my vagina is NOT my identity! It is a body part! And any woman who thinks her vagina has to be talked about because its a part of her, is a seriously delusional and sad excuse for a woman!”

Finally, one other commenter remarked on the event page photo, which featured a photograph of a vagina–presumably one of the images from the campus display:

“If you have a pic of a vagina as your event photo, might wanna make that shit private yo. Pretty sure it’s illegal to show porn to minors.”

At the time of publication, more than 800 people had confirmed on the event’s Facebook page that they would be attending. (Fair Warning: the event page features graphic imagery.)

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USC is slated to kick off its Sex Week festivities today with a “Vagina Cupcakes” workshop in the library.

“The objective of the event is to encourage young women and men to better understand the human anatomy and how to have safe and fun sex through a casual evening of cupcake decorating and Q&A with a sex educator/specialist,” a USC website notes.

Apparently, students are supposed to make cupcake decorations that resemble female genitals. How appetizing!

In all seriousness, the event tries to come off as some sort of educational lesson, when in fact it just objectifies the female anatomy and makes sex Ed a tawdry and juvenile activity, and is an excuse to sit around and talk about kinky sex. If a college student truly wanted to learn about all the different parts of the vagina, there are more academic and respectable venues to that end.

At any rate, USC’s sex week is also set to include what has now apparently become the obligatory “female orgasm” seminar. Similar events have been and will be hosted at college campuses across the nation this spring. Generally, the female orgasm workshops delve into how to masturbate and reach orgasm during sex.

Click HERE to read more about female orgasm workshops at colleges.

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IMAGE: Roboppy/Flickr

MEADVILLE – Allegheny College’s Ford Memorial Chapel was transformed into a boudoir of sorts Wednesday night, as professional sex educators advised students in attendance how best to touch themselves and their partners to reach orgasm in what was billed as an educational seminar.

The chapel, built and dedicated in 1902, is where Catholic mass and non-denominational services are conducted every week at the private liberal arts college in northwestern Pennsylvania. But all that took a back pew to Wednesday’s festivities, dubbed “I Heart the Female Orgasm” and hosted by a variety of student groups on campus.

The two sex educators, Marshall Miller and Kate Weinberg, talked students through a variety of masturbation techniques during the event.

“Sometimes it can be difficult finding your G spot by yourself, because it involves inserting a finger or fingers inside the vagina into the front wall of the body, and that kind of results in an awkward, kind of clawlike hand position,” Weinberg said, demonstrating with a pawing motion as the audience giggled. “Obviously, there are better ways you can position your body. Or if you’ve got a partner, you can get your partner to insert their finger or fingers inside your vagina in the front wall of your body in a sort of a J curve.”

Miller also weighed in, noting “some (women) find that if they change the angle or position, they can find some way of rubbing against their partner’s body, against the base of his penis or pubic bone, and with rubbing to have enough stimulation to orgasm in intercourse.”

In statements to The College Fix, the college’s chaplain defended the event’s location, calling its theme “responsible,” and a campus spokesperson said it offered a “great message.”

While the chapel is hosting services in conjunction with Lent, on Wednesday the building turned into a sexual marketplace of sorts, as student groups sold buttons, t-shirts and hats bearing the program’s name inside the chapel itself after the event concluded. They also sold the book written by program coordinators Marshall Miller and Dorian Solot titled “I Heart Female Orgasm: An Extraordinary Orgasm Guide.”

Meanwhile, the sex educators had also told students masturbation is not a sin.

“Some people figure out masturbation and orgasm as teenagers, some people figure it out later than that,” said Weinberg, describing her lifelong fascination with pleasuring herself. “And some people figure it out earlier than that. Like preschool age. I was part of that last category.”

Weinberg also weighed in on a portion of the Book of Genesis in regard to masturbation.

“So this primary anti-masturbation story is about this guy, Onan. … And Onan refused to sleep with his brother’s wife, so he spilled his seed on the ground — that’s how it’s defined — and for that, God struck him dead,” she said.

But Weinberg said she believes that because Biblical scholars debate the exact meanings of many portions of the Bible, it permits a wide variety of sexual activity.

“A lot of Bible scholars say that’s the primary anti-masturbation story, but I don’t really see it,” she continued. “Onan wasn’t struck dead for masturbating. He was struck down for not sleeping with his brother’s wife. So the masturbation wasn’t the sin. So obviously, you know, the Bible is something that is interpreted in a lot of different ways.”

During the event, Weinberg and Miller played the famous fake orgasm scene from “When Harry Met Sally” on a projected screen, and also displayed different anatomical diagrams depicting women’s genitals.

“If you’ve got a vagina, your genitals are tucked pretty neatly inside your body. It’s a pretty handy place to keep one’s genitals, really. But because of this, many heterosexual women have never seen another woman’s vagina or vulva,” Weinberg said. “If you’ve got cool dangly parts down there, if you’re voluptuous, if one side’s longer than the other, if your va-jay-jay’s got some character, some personality, it’s not a sign that you’re abnormal and deformed. It’s a sign that you’re a healthy adult woman.”

Weinberg later held up two books titled I’ll Show You Mine and Petals, encouraging students to flip through them after the program: “We’ve got two amazing books up here with pages and pages of art photographs of vaginas and vulvas.”

The event was hosted by Allegheny’s student government and Allegheny College’s Reproductive Health Coalition, along with Young Feminists and Queers and Allies. It was funded by student activities fees.

Student reaction to the seminar was mixed.

One Christian student, Shannon McAvinchey, 20, said the school’s student government supported Christian groups on campus and were not trying to intentionally offend Christian students by hosting the event in the chapel. At the same time, however, she said some students’ attitudes towards Christians troubled her.

“I guess what frustrates me most is when you say you’re a Christian, your views are automatically not so much disrespected as dismissed,” McAvinchey said.

Other students, however, were excited on their way to the chapel, chatting and laughing happily.

“I have needs!” one girl said.

“I have condoms! Jesus!” her friend shrieked.

Officials at the college took a blasé attitude toward the event.

Chaplain Jane Ellen Nickel, who conducts non-denominational Christian services each Sunday and manages the office of Spiritual and Religious Life, said in an email to The College Fix that she saw nothing wrong with the event, and hoped students would feel comfortable attending a religious service there later.

“I don’t have a problem with it being held in the chapel. The program advocates responsible, respectful decision-making regarding sexual behavior, and includes the option waiting for marriage, a message that resonates with many students of faith. While the name may have some shock value, the event itself is consistent with our policy of opening the building to campus groups. We would love it if students at such an event experience the chapel as a welcoming space, and then feel encouraged to attend a religious service or program.”

Another campus administrator told The College Fix he had no problem with the event’s location.

“They have a great message about caring relationships,” said Dean of Students Joe DiChristina in an e-mail. “I appreciated their approach.”

Fix contributor Katie McHugh is a student at Allegheny College.

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IMAGE: Allegheny College Ford Memorial Chapel