We thought we were breaking boundaries and taboos around women’s bodies

The Auckland University Students Association is putting on a Womensfest September 21-25.

It’s time for another Womensfest! The AUSA Womens’ Rights Officers have been working around the clock to bring you a great week filled with events on womens’ rights, issues, culture and intersectionality! Don’t miss it – come along and get empowered!

Good stuff, right? But there’s a problem.

One planned item is the Vagina Cupcake event.

Uh oh.

One response:

Hiya WROs! I was one of the WROs in 2011 and I’ve learned a lot since then. For example, we did things for fun (luckily not during our Womensfest, but unfortunately during our KATE) like vulva origami and vulva cupcakes, for exactly the same reasons as you are now – we thought we were breaking boundaries and taboos around women’s bodies, and doing something new and exciting.

What I didn’t think about then was that we weren’t representing all women’s bodies, and in fact what we were doing was a pretty cruel slap to those women who were already the most excluded. It wasn’t new and exciting, but an old exercise in cis privilege. It was reminiscent of the ways a lot of old-school feminists try to exclude trans people from women’s spaces by emphasising specific shared traits or experiences of “womanhood”, e.g. having a vagina. Which if you think about it is not a great thing to base a sisterhood on!

I’m actually really embarrassed about a lot of the things I did out of ignorance when I was WRO, but history doesn’t have to repeat. Luckily there are lots of fun ways to celebrate Womensfest without resorting to a reductive feminism rooted in the vagina, aka Cunt Feminism. If you want to learn how not to be a cunt feminist I suggest you listen closely to the constructive criticism that you are being given by your peers.

Surely she means cuntstructive criticism.


20 Responses to “We thought we were breaking boundaries and taboos around women’s bodies”