Anne (netmouse) wrote,

The Open Source Boob Project and subsequent stoning

This morning I find myself asked in email both what my take on the OSBP is and (in a separate message) whether or not someone can quote a comment I made on it elsewhere. People are welcome to quote me, and in fact here I will quote myself.

To me this was really about gender-nonspecific personal connection and permission-granting (or not granting), not women caving to the male power or notions of body-rightness.

A lot of people are concluding it was a "You had to be there" kind of thing, but it's frustrating that people clearly don't understand.

Society has been telling us women all our lives that our breasts are not our own to make decisions about--that they are inherently only for certain approved purposes and we must otherwise cover them and protect them from detailed touch or inspection with things like bras and clothing and moats and lions and tigers, if necessary, because the only person who is allowed to see and touch them is YOUR MAN and you aren't allowed to assert a non-standard set of access permissions yourself.

This project stood that on its head. It was in fact a fine case of feminist rebellion, combined with general rebellion against socially defined rules and toward opt-in interpersonal intimacy and appreciation.

I am really sorry that at least one track of the widespread online discussion of this project was headlined with mean disdain and an association of it with the thousands of creepy, unsanctioned gropes and feels that many women have suffered over the years, especially at conventions. The way the people who started it have been attacked for the pure pleasure they found in opening themselves to this idea and in thinking that their thoughts and feelings about it could be shared with a larger group is nothing less than horrible. Clearly it isn't for everybody, but they never *said* it was for everybody. They also didn't claim it was without flaws, and obviously one issue with it is that people may have chosen to participate due to perceived peer pressure, and/or without understanding that the little buttons meant "I may say no" just as much as they meant "you may ask."

I also think the name of the project is not quite right, since "Open Source" traditionally means no barriers, anyone can play, and while anyone could join this project, it was about permissions and consensual contact, not about making your body a public resource or about taking away your right to control access. As I said above, it was rather the opposite.

And I think it was a good thing, and I admire my friends who started it, and I stand by them, and I am not ashamed that I was pleased to take part.
Tags: access, boobs, feminism, open source boob project, pride, touching
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