September 09, 2014

Source: Shutterstock

I met writer and photographer Rick McGinnis about ten years ago, but by rights, we should have known each other much longer. We both live in Toronto, enjoy roughly the same music, and therefore should have bumped into (or in my case, barfed on) each other sooner than we did.

When waxing nostalgic, we”€™d try to force our concert coordinates to intersect: “€œHow about when Siouxsie played the Masonic Temple?”€ “€œI missed that one.”€ “€œMojo Nixon and the Dead Milkmen at the Horseshoe?”€ “€œNope.”€

We finally got a hit when we veered from music to literature (or something like it). Turns out, Rick and I had both attended a “€œpoetry”€ reading at the Imperial’s “€œupstairs.”€ Rick had heard that a girl he was interested in was going to be there. A sound excuse. Alas, I have none.

To this day, we can both recite the evening’s most outstanding poem. That’s because the verse, penned and performed by an otherwise forgettable female, was entitled “€œVagina,”€ and went:


… for what felt like 40 solid minutes, a sensation exacerbated by the Imperial’s cheap old captain’s chairs (a seating design I”€™m willing to bet was based on the prototype for an aborted torture device).

“€œThat’s the sort of “€˜art”€™ I dreamed up as a rebellious Catholic school tenth-grader, then quickly dismissed as being too stale and obvious.”€

Speaking of memory: I could be wrong, but I seem to recall this “€œpoet”€ reading her creation aloud from … a piece of paper …

The Entebbe hostages had more fun.

If you”€™d beamed down to the Imperial that evening and told Rick that the “€œgirl”€ would one day become Mrs. McGinnis, he”€™d have scoffed. Same with me if you”€™d insisted that, in far-off 2014, progressive women would still consider their lady parts worthy subjects of gravely important, highly pubic”€”I mean, public”€””€œconversations“€ and “€œtransgressive”€ feminist “€œart.”€

After all, at the time (a good twenty years ago, minimum) dutifully purchased copies of Our Bodies, Ourselves were already gathering dust in the lonely apartments of countless middle-aged feminists, along with the mirrors and speculums they”€™d acquired”€”and maybe even the vaginas they”€™d once tentatively, awkwardly explored using same”€”on that book’s insistence.

Surely my generation had no use for that freaky hippie shit.

Wrong. The Vagina Monologues, first staged in 1996, inspired an incurable rash of copy-pussies, to the point where it feels like we”€™re all stuck watching a never-ending production of “€œThe Vagina Sold-Out-Stadium-Marathon-Sing-Along-of-“€˜You”€™ll Never Walk Alone.”€™”€

Here’s just a (fishy) taste of some recent cooze news:

Posted in May, the video “€œWomen See Their Vagina For First Time!”€ has over 2,000,000 hits on YouTube. The gay male “€œartist and activist”€ (I”€™m just guessing, but come on …) behind this “€œproject”€ salutes the “€œcourage”€ of all the women who “€œshared their stories.”€

(This guy also made a video called “€œStraight Guys React To Gay Porn!”€ The only really shocking thing about that one is that the “€œguys”€ he talks to are all claiming to be “€œstraight.”€)

Old and tired? Piss Christ. New hotness? Let’s call it “€œPussy Christ.”€ Columbian “€œartist”€ Maria Eugenia Trujillo took a bunch of old monstrances and stuck pictures of vaginas where the Host usually goes. That’s the sort of “€œart”€ I dreamed up as a rebellious Catholic school tenth-grader, then quickly dismissed as being too stale and obvious. (My dentist had mass-produced Georgia O”€™Keefes all over his office, for chrissakes.) Hilariously, Trujillo’s so-called “€œWomen Out of Sight”€ exhibit has now been censored.

No sooner had Gavin McInnes asked, in these very (virtual) pages, “€œHave you seen a gay man’s face when you say the word “€˜vagina”€™?”€ than I learned of a Kickstarter campaign to fund a $37,000 art project called “€œGay Men Draw Vaginas.”€

And it’s just what it says on the box. The resulting crude (in every respect) illustrations range from faintly amusing to grossly anatomically inaccurate.

I was going to type “€œnot surprisingly,”€ but it apparently the only people more confused about what vaginas really look like than gay men are straight women.

“€œHalf of young women can”€™t “€˜locate their vaginas,”€™”€ the Telegraph recently screamed. Except this “€œstudy”€ was commissioned by yet another women’s cancer charity, which tells you everything you need to know about its accuracy.

See, what these “€œexperts”€ probably “€œdiscovered”€”€”but don”€™t mention”€”is that those young women just mixed up “€œvagina”€ with “€œvulva”€ because so does pretty much everyone else.


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