An art gallery in Bushwick, Brooklyn will be dropping trou on a brand new exhibition this weekend: a treasury of dick pics, many of which were obtained under false pretenses, and all of which are being showcased without consent. Gentle readers, I know I say this a lot, but this time I mean it, hard: I hate this.
The artists behind the exhibition — who Vice profiles anonymously due to the fact that they're publicly displaying other people's penises without the penis owners' permission — claim that the project is a send-up of sexting culture that encourages men to wag their dicks in front of their cameraphones with abandon. It's a feminist-ish response to the abject unfairness of being subjected to constant dicks, dicks, dicks all the live-long day. One expert quoted in the Vice piece described unsolicited sexts as "flashing" and a violation of a woman's autonomy.
I might feel differently about the exhibition if unsolicited, creepy flashing was how the women curating it had obtained their junk snapshots. But it's not. From Vice,
Most of the women have gone the straightforward route in collecting dick pics, using versions of their real OKCupid profiles and brief conversations—sometimes just going right for the jugular and straight-up asking for a dick pic, avoiding flirtation and conversation at all costs. One of the artists, however, went a step further by posing as a gay man on Grindr and wound up with 150 photos...
Yeah, that's not the same as being "flashed." The people whose genitals are being displayed weren't violating anyone; it sounds like most of them were responding to explicit requests for dirty photos. I've made my feelings on dick pics clear — generally speaking, it's a bad idea to send one, and it's an extra bad idea to send one to a woman who didn't specifically ask.
One anonymous curator defends the exhibition, saying that no one will know whose dick is whose, that all faces have been removed. But, uh, if the small number of people who have received sexts from me were going to display pictures of my boobs in an art exhibition and I found out about it, "YOUR NAME WON'T BE ON IT!" would hardly serve as consolation. (If anything, I'd want credit. [JK, kind of.])
Does sending a person a sext give them the right to publicly display your junk? Do genitals captured on the screen of a phone become art because some Bushwick hipsters say it is? Will anyone duped into sexting show up at the gallery and stand next to their snapshot, grinning?
This leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Pun intended.
[Gif via Buzzfeed]