The First Amendment and Betty Dodson’s Genital Art

gential_artphoto via erix!

We admit, genital art isn’t really our thing. We’ve seen our share at downtown art shows (and, ahem, on our own TV show in the U.K.), and, while we’re glad that people are out there creating work like this, we don’t have any hanging on our walls. That said, we totally, absolutely, 100% understand how important genital art is in helping both women and men understand what sex organs really look like outside of the porn world. As porn increasingly becomes a source of sex education, and as women feel pressured to dye, bleach, and pluck their way to the perfect look — or even, god forbid, go under the knife to get it via labiaplasty — images of real, live, average vulvas become more important than ever. Which is why we’re disappointed on behalf of average vulva-owners everywhere — in particular those vulva-owners who think their own vulvas are sub-par — that Betty Dodson has been forced to remove her Genital Art Gallery from her website due to a revised regulation stipulating that all genital imagery be subject to the same rules as the entertainment industry.

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  1. Well, this is sad news. Even though I watch a fair amount of porn, I’ve never had a complex about my labia or “unbleached” anal area (I hadn’t heard of that one), but I can imagine how much of a service the genital gallery was for a lot of young and impressionable people.

    I will always be grateful to Ms. Dodson for her videotaped illustration of the clitoral complex; before that, I had no idea of the size of this essential organ in its entirety and the full extent of its contribution to a woman’s sexual pleasure. If the genital gallery did as much for people as the clitoris video did for me, I can understand what a loss it will be if the new regulations lead to a chilling effect and hesitation to contribute.

  2. By one of those odd circumstances, a friend was in town and had borrowed his friend’s apartment. Which doesn’t mean much except that my friend is a fairly serious artist and his friend is a VERY serious scholar and collector, so there is unbelievable stuff spilling out all over the place…like, for example, an Andy Warhol portrait of said friend. Anyway, amidst all this stuff–he’s an expert on Picasso and there are Picassos everywhere, and not one but two Freud portraits–the eye is invariably and to a smallish painting of…wait for it…a slightly larger than lifesize penis. Gorgeous. Perfect. And also by Warhol. That apartment is truly an embarrassment of riches, and for my money that Warhol was the star. At least in the art world, genitalia are our friends.

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