If you haven’t heard about the flap at Yale University over Aliza Shvarts and her abortion-as-art exhibit, I’ll break it down for you. For her senior art project, Shvarts allegedly inseminated herself multiple times, after which she induced abortions and collected the residue for display.
Since no one is anyone these days unless she’s on TV, she videotaped the miscarriages as they were happening. She’s going to play that at the exhibit, too. I don’t know who the lucky sperm donors were (or if they knew they were going to be part of someone’s art homework), but she refers to them as “fabricators.” Isn’t that romantic?
I say allegedly because, according to Yale officials, the whole thing was a hoax. I guess the backlash didn’t suit Shvarts very well because her most recent story is that the hoax was a hoax. She says she inseminated herself and took the abortifacients, but who knows for sure if she was really pregnant? Who cares, right? That’s not the point. The point is…I don’t know what the point is.
According to the artist, the goal of the exhibit was to spark some kind of debate about the relationship between art and the human body. “I hope it inspires some sort of discourse,” Shvarts says. “Sure, some people will be upset with the message and will not agree with it, but it’s not the intention of the piece to scandalize anyone.”
Sure it isn’t. There’s nothing scandalous about repeatedly videotaping your own self-induced abortions. I suppose she didn’t give a second thought to all the women who have agonized over the decision to have an abortion, not to mention all the women who have suffered through miscarriages. Who cares about them? This is art, stupid.
There’s been a bit of outrage over the last few days, but not quite enough. Some people are yakking about freedom of expression. The Yale Women’s Center issued this statement:
“The Yale Women’s Center stands strongly behind the fact that a woman’s body is her own. Whether it is a question of reproductive rights or of artistic expression, Aliza Shvarts’ body is an instrument over which she should be free to exercise full discretion.”
Please tell me that’s a joke. Tell me that statement is part of the hoax. I can hear the conservative pundits now. Shvarts will probably be held up as the new poster child for liberal feminism. The jokes about NEA funding have already started, and that makes me angry.
What do feminism and reproductive freedom have to with self-mutilation? This whole thing reminds me of an episode of Jerry Springer I saw once. There was a porn star hawking her latest movie where she did a “gangbang,” supposedly with 350 partners. If that woman wanted to degrade herself any more than that, what would she, what could she possibly do? Nothing. There is nothing more degrading than being voluntarily gangbanged – or for that matter, making a public spectacle of your hemorrhaging uterus.
You want to have a debate? Let’s talk about narcissism and self-promotion. Let’s talk about the fact that being a feminist does not make you “pro-abortion,” and vice-versa. Being a feminist means being sensitive to the suffering of other women. Liberal feminism is not synonymous with stupidity.
Hey Aliza, next time you want to make a point about art and the human form, do us all a favor and do something a little more tasteful. Next time go for the gangbang.