Photo: Screenshot via YouTube
Photo: Screenshot via YouTube

Casey Jenkins is knitting a permanent record of all the misogynistic abuse she gets online with her bloody human vagina, and there's nothing meninists can do about it.

The Australian artist's 2013 performance piece 'Casting Off My Womb' featured her knitting a long passage from yarn she inserted into her vagina every day for 28 days.

The white wool turned red and then back to white again with her menstrual cycle.

Jenkins said it was:

...a long, slow meditation on the intimate understanding we have of our own bodies and creative potential and how it's impacted by societal stereotypes and expectations.

But of course, because it's the 21st century and the internet is a thing we all have, she got thousands upon thousands of abusive messages from online trolls who just couldn't let her do her thing without threatening rape or telling Jenkins she's ugly.

But the artist's follow up act is probably the most flipping the bird response she could have had: for her second vaginal knitting performance, Jenkins is making a record of all the abuse that's thrown at her online.

Some say the perceived anonymity of the internet creates and fosters sexist attitudes. I'd be more inclined to say it exposes them, like lifting a rock to reveal a bed of slugs.

One of the saddest and most interesting things about the gendered abuse she has received, Jenkins says, is that so much of it comes from people who present as women.

...the very people who would themselves be the target of abuse if they ever stepped into the spotlight in a way not deemed to support dominant culture.

It made me reflect on the immense power our society has over us... the power of social shaming in directing behaviour and shaping culture should not be underestimated.

While the project has been emotionally and physically difficult, Casey says it's better to deal with online abuse in the open rather than go with the prevailing advice of 'just don't read the comments'.

I don't want to be crushed by reality, but I don't want to blinker myself to it, either.

If you're in Melbourne, 'Programmed to Reproduce' will be at North Melborne Town Hall until 13th March as part of the 2016 Festival of Live Art.

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