‘Body of Women’ -- Earth Day event celebrates…chests

It was billed as "Body of Women," at the lovely  church on Central Park West and  75th Street, on a night that was colder and drizzlier than recent nights have been, late April. Entry was $20. Snacks and drinks were sold and hawked for the cash that is needed by the various sponsoring groups.

Thought it would be a panel discussion or something. Instead, it began with a 5-minute film on women empowerment (I missed all but the credits). Or perhaps abortion. Or not abortion.

(Likely, not the latter.)

Then there followed skits they called  Breastimonials, 10 different skits of woman or women talking about how their breasts are too big or too small, or  cancerous, or "twisted like dials" by men without finesse, I think the breastimonials were genuine and not written by others or created for actors.

I found these breasty vignettes unexceptional and largely uninteresting, as they seemed stagey even if true, and they were pitched at the audience, which giggled and  laughed at  things that were not particularly funny or approval-worthy. The last one, on a woman who had had cancer and had  had a double mastectomy seemed most useful and instructive. Some of the audience nodded as she described the  tubing and the  hope for a return to  breast sensation.

In between these 5 minute or so   avowals were skits on transvestites on a stage, but being mistreated by a landlord who had the nerve to demand payment, as well as a quintet of quite acceptable music and  rock songs of their own, with a synthesizer, guitarist and  drummer as accompaniment. These women, dressed in cunningly tattered trendoid clothing, then in  glittery shorts or bandeaux or whatever, black lipstick, were quite good, and  should be on SNL sometime, though they probably won't be.

On sale were many  felted or cotton "pussy hats," buttons and  paraphernalia, as well as a table for Sanctuary for families, against violence against women.

it was in the end delightful that not a word smearing our new President emerged, and politics--aside from violence against women, presumably--was left at the door. Other than the overall perception that violence against women 16-24 and campus rape are two of the country's most pressing exigencies--which they are not.

No one mentioned domestic violence abroad, FGM, honor killings under sharia, rape as  a weapon of war in the Levant, only that in their lifetimes, 1 of 3 women "will be assaulted, raped or the  subject of a beating." The moderator stressed: "That's one billion women, worldwide."  The presenter asked for those who had been raped or beaten to stand, and a few of the approximately 150-175 women (a few men) stood. These were, surprisingly, all large women, to a one. (Did their prior rapes or assaults impact subsequent weight gain, one wonders.) Then the presenter asked for  us to stand if we knew women who had been beaten, raped, etc. The vastmajority stood. She said those who did not stand but wanted to would be "silently supported" by the rest of us.