The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Posts Tagged ‘controversy’

“So These Two Naked Women Walk Into A Gallery Window, Right…”

Posted by Clem Bastow on August 1, 2008

A Brisbane art gallery’s promotional exercise – naked women taking baths in the front window of the gallery – has been given the Australian Family Association treatment today by the News stable:

In the stunt, two apparently naked women take a bath together and separately from 5pm to 7pm in the gallery’s window, in candle-lit scenes reminiscent of those made famous by Mena Suvari in the movie American Beauty.

No complaints have been received by police or Brisbane City Council, but the stunt has been criticised by the Queensland branch of the Australian Family Association.

President Mark Holzworth described it as “childish, immature, teenage schoolboy voyeur stuff” that added no credibility to the gallery or the artists featured.

“This will not attract art-lovers, it will attract voyeurs which is not good for Brisbane or women in general,” Mr Holzworth said.

“I thought we had grown up as a society. Not even brothels would be this brazen to promote their services.”

I thought Hell would freeze over before the day I agreed with the AFA, but I’m inclined to think Holzworth is right (on one point, at least – and certainly not his linking of the women in the gallery stunt to prostitutes for hire/delectation in the Amsterdam shop windows!): this is not about art, it’s about the publicity that comes along with being able to gawp at women in various states of undress while they are trapped behind a shop-window and, thus, completely objectified. It’s just another way of turning women’s bodies into a product for public consumption, trussed up with the old “Shush, it’s art” lie as the cherry on top.

The exhibition may well feature female nudes, which is fine – and drawing attention to this story is by no means done to in some way suggest that women should never be depicted naked ever again – but this tenuous tie-in doesn’t make the promotion any less whiffy. As fellow feminist blogger Audrey said when she tipped us off to the link, why is it only ever women’s bodies that are considered beautiful (and, thus, arty) in instances like this?


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Jezebel’s Moe And “Condom-Gate”: Hang The STIs, Bareback Feels Better!

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 26, 2008

Another week, another Jezebel “controversy” – Jezebel writer (and star of the last Jezebel vs. the world debacle, and who this week joined and then left Radar within a matter of whiplash-inducing moments) Moe Tkacik has walked into another blogosphere fracas with her Thursday post, “Sex Without Condoms Is Actually Better Than Diamonds, People!”

Here’s an excerpt:

[…] I have only really engaged in bareback sex with the types of dudes who don’t fear HPV and whose diseases I don’t particularly fear, because the worst thing I can think of about most of them is the ensuing lifetime of awkward conversations, and the worst thing about that is that awkward conversations summon memories, and summoning bad memories every time you’re about to fuck a new person is no way to live, but, if you can smile and say (hypothetically!) “Hey, just so you know, I have [insert STD here], but I got them from this really hilarious guy who is still one of my best friends, so it was kind of worth it,” before you do it with a new person, it’s almost nice. Like: oh yeah, that was a good time.

My instinctual reaction was (and remains), man, when did women buy the “But it feels better, baybeee” line, too?

I know Moe has made a point of discussing her experience with STIs, and I commend her for that – such is the state of the world that people who have STIs (or have had) are made to feel as though a) they can’t discuss it freely because b) it’s gross or yucky or dirty. Like Moe, this is something I feel particularly strongly about.

But considering this, I find it hard to believe that Moe can be so glib about practising unsafe sex. Because you know what? It’s easy to buy the ‘bareback feels better’ line – until an STI stops the party.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Blog Watch, Media Watch, Sex And Love, Women's Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments »