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Observers React to University’s Public Vagina Displays

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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