Students Condemn Project Vulva for ‘Transmisogyny’

Last Thursday, students at Scripps College hosted an event at The Motley called “Project Vulva” to initiate dialogue about the stigmatization of vulvas in society. “Why is it that, generally, society is so comfortable with the image of the penis and vulvas are considered taboo?” states Project Vulva’s Facebook page. “In middle school people would scribble penis pictures on the desks in the classroom. There is always that kid who passes out at the party and someone draws a dick on his face.”

Project Vulva’s organizers described the event as “an educational and interactive art show displaying your friends [sic] depictions when we asked them, ‘Can you draw a vulva?’ We will also have cupcakes that you can decorate like vulvas. Supplies are limited!” The event’s stated goal was “to create an open dialouge [sic] educating people about the vulva in order to confront society’s stigmas and stereotypes, and make people more comfortable with the many varying images and types of cis and non-cis vulvas.”

However, the event faced harsh backlash from students who found it offensive to the trans community. One student, who felt that Project Vulva’s claim that penises are not stigmatized was untrue, wrote, “Society is not comfortable with the image of a penis on a woman. This event feels extremely transmisogynistic and to say penises are universally accepted as non-taboo is transmisogynistic. I can’t say I’m surprised though. There are infinitely many ways to celebrate genitals without making transmisogynistic remarks in the process.”

Another commenter wrote, “Right like this entire event is so incredibly violent to trans women specifically. I’m so disgusted.” The comment went on to state, “Equating genitalia to a person’s gender is and always will be transphobic.”

In defense of the event, one student tried to clarify the event’s description and commented, “I’m not really trying to protect transmisogyny and I honestly don’t know why you’d accuse me of that.” However, the comment only sparked further backlash.

“I don’t need your help parsing out the finer details of this garbage, cis, white event,” responded one commenter. “A trans woman is telling y’all this makes her feel uncomfortable and that’s not enough for you to rethink your stance on this? You’re gross, this whole thing is gross, have fun with your ugly cupcakes.”

The conversation intensified as more people defended the event, with one commenter arguing that students have a right “to try to explain our purpose and ask questions when attacked.” This outraged other students who felt that the word “attacked” has racist connotations.

“These women did not ‘attack’ you or your event,” replied one student. “You responded to their very very very credible and personal (as trans women of color) critique by using racialized terms (such as ‘attack’) to discredit their actions and hence discredit anything they are pointing out to you. That is wrong and racist.”

In response to these concerns, one of Project Vulva’s organizers wrote, “It has come to our attention that certain aspects of our project implied a binary perception of gender, as well as a limited relationship between gender and genitalia. We apologize to those offended. We strive to be as inclusive as possible, which is why we are doing our best to incorporate all viewpoints into discussion. We hope that everyone can attend our event and continue to have progressive conversations.”

Additionally, officials from The Motley issued a statement: “The Motley wants to validate and support the critiques that have been voiced concerning Project Vulva. We are deeply sorry for the hurt experienced by the trans community both in the space of the Motley and on the Scripps campus in general. Being a privileged and exclusive space has long been imbedded in our herstory, and though we have tried and are trying to become an inclusive space where everyone can feel safe and accepted, we recognize that we have failed.”

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Image: Pinterest

18 thoughts on “Students Condemn Project Vulva for ‘Transmisogyny’”

  1. So much to critique about this article… Let’s start with this. Are you sure that all of the people who commented on that FB post are students at the Claremont Colleges, like you say they are? A couple of em are, sure, but a few of the people you quote seem to have no affiliation with the Claremont Colleges. A simple click on their Facebook profiles would have shown you that. I understand you want to find the PC bogeyman at the 5Cs, but do some **** fact checking first smdh.

    1. You think you can fool me? You’ve edited the article since I posted this comment to make it look like I was making stuff up. And you might have gotten away with it too, if not for those meddling kids who know how to use Google Cache, which stored the original version of the article in its database. For the Chrome users following along at home, you can type in “cache:” (no quotes) before the beginning of the web address, or you can just click the below link from any browser:

      http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fclaremontindependent.com%2Fstudents-condemn-project-*****-for-transmisogyny%2F&oq=cache%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fclaremontindependent.com%2Fstudents-condemn-project-*****-for-transmisogyny%2F&aqs=chrome..69i57j69i58.1819j0j4&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=93&ie=UTF-8

      There: proof that you changed the article and tried to think no one would believe my original comment. You only used the word “commenter” once in the original version of the article, and you’ve replaced three instances of the word “student” with references to comments or commenters.

      I don’t know what you’re trying to do, but I do know that someone representing your organization is simply lying to one of its readers. That’s despicable. You could’ve just recognized your mistake and issued a correction, which is what any reputable news source would have done, but instead you came up with a convoluted attempt to covered your tracks — but it backfired. You all should be ashamed.

      1. Lol, CI is up to its old tricks again? Hannah must be taking a leaf out of Brad’s book. Nothing like “Upholding Truth and Excellence at the Claremont Colleges.”

        Where’s Chris? Bring him back!

  2. Wait, I’m confused. No one said these were FEMALE vulvas. Just vulvas. And vulvas DO have a stigma because people a) don’t know what they look like and b) are thought of as gross. there’s nothing wrong with learning and celebrating genitalia. i find it incredibly ironic that women are preventing fellow women from expressing themselves and celebrating their bodies. just another example of silencing on this campus.

    1. I’ve never heard a single person say that vulvas are ugly much less have a stigma. All vulvas are female. Most men who are heterosexual love the gateway to paradise.

      Bruce Jenner doesn’t have one given his XY chromosomes. Guys like Jenner are not fellow women. He has a ****. Why do you play the game and parrot the lie that men playing women are women. Look between you legs, even if they cut it off they will not be like you.

  3. Dudes in dresses are not women, they are dudes in dresses. Bruce Jenner, for example, is a 65 year old cross dresser. He suffers from a sexual identity disorder. He cannot ever be a woman. Every gene in his body is male. My prediction is he will take his own life someday once he realizes that all the make up in the world, all the feminine traits he has manufactured, all the lingerie he puts on, he will never be a woman. Besides he still has a ****.

  4. Ten years ago, I asked a trans woman to help me carry some folding chairs downstairs to a meeting room. The woman screamed at me that I was “challenging her womanhood” by asking her to do “a man’s work.” She was enraged.

    I reminded her that she was a strong able-bodied young woman. I was a physically disabled woman twenty years older than her, yet I was carrying folding chairs down two flights of stairs all by myself.

    I also had to remind her that I was her supervisor and moving the chairs actually was part of her job description, not mine. I was helping her do her job as she sat on her **** screaming at me about how transphobic I was for asking her to do her job. And for doing what I as another woman was doing.

    She later filed a formal complaint against me for being “transphobic” based solely on this incident. That was the moment that I first began questioning whether other specific accusations of transphobia were warranted.

    Yes, there is real transphobia in the world and we all need to fight against it. But displaying vulvas is not transphobic unless you have so twisted terminology and logic around in your mind that you are no longer making sense. A ***** simply is female genitalia, not a dehumanizing political or personal statement on what a woman’s genitalia must look like to be acceptable.

    A few decades ago, I witnessed pioneers and leaders of the trans movement taking a few sexuality and gender courses and reading a lot of cutting edge books about ***, sexuality and gender identities written by radical scholars. These leaders thought they had mastered the terminology, but then they taught trans people that “female” and “woman,” (like “***” and “gender”) were identical concepts. The theoretical conflation of *** and gender in the transgender movement was one of the most unfortunate outcomes of the 1990s, and its ramifications will be with us for a long time to come. Decrying the display of vulvas as transmisogynist is one of the ramifications.

    You cannot force me respect your distorted thinking just because you are a trans woman. Your personal experience (or exploitation, vulnerability or suffering) does not make you right. Stop screaming at me and start thinking.

    1. Your comments strike me as quite balanced and reasonable, Diann.

      Unfortunately, whilst discrimination and bigotry probably do still exist, there are always going to be those who will look to be gratuitously offended, especially if it provides a ready-made excuse to avoid their responsibilities

      The irony (for me, at least) is that your colleague, apart from being bone-idle, was sexist as well – “men’s work” indeed.

  5. OMG. The convolutions of outrage swirl endlessly in labarynthian (or, is that labiarynthian?) paroxysms of tortured ‘logic’….Makes my head hurt…

  6. “I will, I *WILL* find a way to be outraged and offended by this! Ok, wymyn, bear with me… I know this is a stretch, but what if we go with…”

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