I was very please to receive a phone call from a journalist at the Globe and Mail who wanted to cover the Toronto leg of the 101 Vagina exhibition tour. The newspaper is the largest daily paper, circulated throughout Canada.
The article came out just in time for the exhibition, 12 June 2014
Click here for the article online or the image below to read the paper version.
Great to see 101 Vagina on Salon.com :)
Yesterday I was interviewed by Josiane of Magazine Muses. They are a new French quarterly print publication for women distributed mainly in Quebec province.
Today they posted the article online and I used an online translation app to help me read it; Josiane’s English is much better than my French. It must be difficult for journalists to condense a conversation down into an article. We spoke about many related things and it was from her that I learned that there is no longer any dedicated sex education in French speaking schools in Montreal (she didn’t know about the English speaking schools). I was stunned!
I thought there was a global trend towards better, more comprehensive sex education, so to hear that a place as progressive as Montreal was going backwards in this field was disturbing. But that’s another story!
Below is her story about 101 Vagina.
Great article by David Hansen about the 101 Vagina exhibition that will be at Laguna Beach from 1-8 May, 2014.
David and I spoke at length about the project and related issues. It was interesting for me that he was surprised that this was still an issue. As he reflects in the article, he had thought that all this was dealt with in the sexual and feminist revolutions of the 60’s and 70’s . But if that was the case then why are the numbers of women seeking out labiaplasty (genital cosmetic surgery) skyrocketing?
There is also a lot of discussion in the media about rape culture. How could rape culture exist if we were all truly comfortable with our, and other people’s, sexuality? This is a huge issue, and until we deal with the underlying sexual repression and suppression, we won’t get anywhere near getting rid of sexual abuse in our society.
So, yes, this issue has not nearly gone away.
Click this link to read the full article:
101 Vagina is on the front page of City Hub this week.
Great article too! Decent journalism rather than simply sensationalism.
Click the article below for a larger image, read the article online here, or pick one up on the streets around Sydney.
City Hub is:
“Published weekly and freely available Sydney-wide.
Copies are also distributed to serviced apartments, hotels,
convenience stores and newsagents throughout the city.”
Scan the QR code with a free QR code scanner from your app store to see the website it takes you to :)
[An edit of this article was also published in Ciao newspaper, July 12 2013]
Then, after 101 Vagina was selected to be part of a group exhibition as part of the Sydney Fringe, the venue refused to allow the images to be shown, saying that they want the venue to be “family friendly”. So I censored the images with QR codes that lead people to various vagina censorship related articles.
Why? Why should children not see, talk about, hear different words for, draw and reflect on vaginas? Are vaginas bad? Are penises bad? Mine isn’t, is yours?
The younger the children are, the more recently they have themselves just emerged from a vagina, after having been conceived through one. But in spite of this there seems to be a cultural fear around children and anything sex related coming within proximity of each other.
Of course, children should be protected from sexual predators, but somehow, the valid and important concerns about sexual abuse have resulted in sex being given a blanket label, bad. The act that led to their existence is labeled bad. What are the two most forbidden words in the English language? Fuck and cunt.
How unfortunate! They should be words of celebration, exuberance, joy, pleasure, freedom & love.
Our culture is severely hobbled by sexual repression and suppression. The worst manifestation of this is sexual abuse and though it may not be the only cause, I believe we will never rid culture of sexual abuse without first dealing with the sexual repression and suppression which underpin it.
Guilt and shame does not arise naturally in us as children, it is taught to us by adults, whether directly or indirectly, through judgement and fear. It is adults who teach children that their bodies are to be hidden, not to touch themselves and not to say certain words. This means that it is up to us, the adults, to reverse this trend.
One of the best ways to reverse guilt and shame is through open discussion and direct engagement. A child who has had open, honest and respectful discussions about their bodies and sexuality is far less likely to end up with feelings of shame and guilt about their own. It also means they will be less likely to fall victim to externally imposed shame from various media or abusive comments.
Imagine if, instead of learning about sex through porn, children were from infancy taught to respect their own and other people’s bodies; that they are the masters of their own; that no part of it is shameful; that pleasure is a birthright, and that sex can be a beautiful act of bonding, joy and pleasure?
Fortunately there is a growing and international “sex positive” movement which is working to remove the negative stigma around bodies and sexuality and the 101 Vagina Exhibition and Festival of the Vagina are proudly part of that movement.
Breaking taboos can be creative fun and no one needs to get hurt in the process. In fact, years of hurt can begin to be undone in the process.
Here is an excerpt from one of the messages written and deposited in the “Write your own vagina message” box:
“… I was thrilled to bring my 3 yr old daughter along, and set her on the path for having pride of her vagina, her self, her future pleasure, her body and it’s life giving abilities & to make sure she’s empowered! …”
The ArtsHub article on Monday about the police visits to the 101 Vagina exhibition in Redfern has created a bit of a buzz :)
Jump on and leave your own comments!