Female students from the University of Cincinnati demonstrated empowerment in a new way — with their vaginas.
Twelve poster boards displaying detailed pictures of vaginas covered McMicken Commons Thursday.
The demonstration titled “Re-Envisioning the Female Body” is a reaction to the images of aborted fetuses brought to UC by the Genocide Awareness Project.
Kate Elliot, a fourth-year anthropology student, came up with the idea after seeing the pro-life organization show images of aborted fetuses on campus in May 2012.
“I wonder what the conversation would be if [these images] were vaginas,” Elliot said.
Elliot found the images displayed by the Genocide Awareness Project devoid of the other side of women’s choice and wanted to see the result of changing the approach.
“What if we put the women’s situation back in there?” Elliot said.
The demonstration was well received and appreciated by many for it’s unique approach to feminism.
“This is exactly what the world needs right now,” said Cynthia Nesbit, Cincinnati resident. “[It’s] better than boobs in bras in your face, we see plenty of that.”
The students set up a “free speech board” where anyone could write their opinions about the demonstration.
The board predominantly contained notes of gratitude and appreciation for the models’ bravery.
Students across campus found the event empowering, but jarring.
“[It’s] kind of making me uncomfortable right now, but I like the message,” said Stephanie Peek, a second-year marketing student.
Any organization that would like to recreate the demonstration is able to do so, Elliot said, due to the structure of the display.
“It’s a concept that is all encompassing,” Elliot said. “You can put a lot of different experiences into it.”
UC Police patrolled the demonstration due to a large amount of protest the exhibit received prior to being put on display.
Several campus organizations approached UC President Santa Ono requesting the displays not be shown, but were denied. Ono said the demonstration is an opportunity for campus to have stimulating discussions and grow.
“I see this exhibit and others on campus as an opportunity for us to grow as thinkers and leaders on all sides of such issues — to interrogate our assumptions, grapple with our differences, clarify our convictions and, above all, uphold our commitment to civility and collegiality,” Ono said.