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A breast-cancer ribbon makes everything better

New mural in Allston

Before and after.

UPDATE: Mural replaced.

There's a bit of an uproar in Allston today, the day after two artists painted a mural featuring a black woman petting her pussy at Cambridge and Linden streets.

Brad Squirrels reports on the reaction to the mural, which went up even as #metoo continues to roll across social media:

After being told by more than a few area residents (in person & through Boston 311) that it's a bit risquée and, frankly, misogynistic, artist makes changes that include adding a "girl power" tattoo and a breast cancer ribbon, and complains about being "bullied"

One of the artists.
The other.

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Comments

Jack Tongue

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This is commissioned by the city? Someone did not think that one through.

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Worry, im sure the artists will reflect in the subsidized loft commissioned by the city.

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Do we know that it's commissioned by the city? How?

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These guys are apparently part of the mayors 'mural crew'. I do not know that it was commissioned, hence the question. I can only presume someone is approving the work of the mural crew.

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If the artist decides to sell prints of this work of art I will buy one.

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Kind of reminds me of the graphics on Hook-Ups skateboards in the '90s.

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What is wrong with a plain, unadorned wall?

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Since Jack Young Company moved away from Allston earlier this year and this building was left empty, the "plain, unadorned wall" has been repeatedly tagged with the usual crappy graffiti, and has had to be repainted roughly once a month. I walk past this corner twice a day, and I like the mural a lot.

The added tattoo and breast cancer ribbon are a bit silly (and don't get me started on the whole pink-ribbon nonsense in general,) but TBH I'm not sorry that the cat was repainted so it's beside her, rather than between her legs.

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Allstonian, as someone who actually sees this daily and is "impacted" by it, I value your opinion. If the locals say it's OK, it's OK and let the Internet art critics be damned.

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I could live without the babe and her, um, kitty, and the army of rats around her, mostly because the whole "Allston Rat City" thing gets a lot less amusing when you occasionally have to chase rats out of your basement and find them scampering across the front steps on a regular basis. But even so, I'm not outraged by that section of the mural.

More importantly to me, the part just to the right of this section, which reads "Allston" in gorgeous, multicolored letters, and the self-portrait in the doorway are awesome, and when I got off the bus on Monday and found the crew there working on the mural, I stopped to tell them just that.

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Oh, so it's the rats that bother you?
Not the objectification of women. Or the co-opting of breast cancer or girl power.
Do you own a mirror? If so, please go spit into it.

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Female-specific-not-breast-cancer survivor here, and daughter of a woman who died of a different FSNBC. Go spit in your own damned mirror.

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Um, you do realize that the people complaining about this, the ones who filed at least six separate Bos311 reports, and the ones who went up to the artist in person and objected to it, are in fact "locals" and not "internet art critics", yes?

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They left behind a trail of diamonds from clutching those pears SO HARD

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Where did her other leg go?!

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The cat ate it.

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It was originally drawn to depict the cat between her legs with its tongue out.
Just in case anyone is still trying to say that this all just good fun and women are too uptight about every little thing.

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Agreed, that was offensive and I'm glad it was changed.

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Then the original "intent" of the artist changed too. Is it still art then?

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Artists change their original work all the time, and have been doing so for hundreds of years. Why would that make it no longer art?

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Part of the original work was some hard sexual overtones. Now that people had some inner soul conflicts between their white guilt and feminist side, the artist needed to compromise?

I would have said take it or leave it. Not my call I guess.

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Why does this have to tie into white guilt and feminism?

The commissioned work was in poor taste when you consider the venue. The effort to fix the work was token at best. That pretty much sums up the issue at hand.

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is an outdoor wall in a part of Allston occupied mainly by college students. If the work in in poor taste there, where do you think it should be instead?

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Why is a commissioned mural that features a sexualized woman with a cat in between her legs in poor taste in a public location?

I sure hope the city did not pay for this to be done...

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He can create whatever he wants and sell those creations personally, but this is a busy public place at a bus stop and across from a daycare. He maybe should have thought about the "hard sexual overtones" and how that would work with the placement. Try to imagine you are a lone woman sitting at this bus-stop next to this mural of a over-sexualized woman having her crotch licked by a cat, around midnight and a bunch of drunk Allston college guys comes along. Or you're a teenage girl who has to wait at this bus stop with some of her male peers to take the bus to school every day. Do those sound like comfortable scenarios to you?

So yes, he needed to compromise.

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Would a kid get the joke?

Nope.

Rewatch the Muppet Show sometime and see all the jokes you didn't get as a kid!

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Not a fan at all of this style of graffiti (too childish and silly) and the over the top pussy between the legs just killed it. Come on grow up. Is the artist a 14 year old boy? Is the audience he she is aiming for?? Because I can't imagine that appealing to anyone older. The gorilla at least is lot more interesting.
Just because it's art doesn't mean it's any good,

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Not a fan at all of this style of graffiti (too childish and silly) and the over the top pussy between the legs just killed it. Come on grow up. Is the artist a 14 year old boy? Is the audience he she is aiming for?? Because I can't imagine that appealing to anyone older. The gorilla at least is lot more interesting.
Just because it's art doesn't mean it's any good,

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Taggers are less likely to tag a mural than a plain wall. Murals are a deterrent to a large percentage of vandals. It ends up looking neater to have a cohesive mural than a thousand tags or a bunch of mismatched paint swatches where tags were hastily covered.

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I would rather see a billion tags than this BS

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and go to jail and be forced to pay for a company to sandblast or paint off the tags. Sorry but murals are just tacky, regardless of the content.

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murals are just tacky, regardless of the content

Check out this recent book showing most of the murals in Boston and then come back and repeat your quote.

http://www.wbur.org/artery/2017/09/20/photographing-boston-murals

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but I see no problem with it. Especially when I hear about who is pissed off by it. And yes, I have checked my white male privilege, thank you very much.

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I'd say you're part of the problem, but I'm guessing you're proud of that.

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Supporting an artist's freedom of expression: "Part of the problem."

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Which problem might that be?

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Bode has been influencing hip-hop/graffiti art practically since he was alive.

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Who exactly are you referring to with "when I hear who is pissed off by it"? Do you mean women? Maybe you mean breast cancer survivors? Friends and family of survivors? Maybe just decent humans who think the world is better without overtly misogynistic public art displays?

You should probably re-check that white male privilege.

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Mrs. Slocumbe! I love that character!

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Maybe I mean the easily triggered by a piece of ridiculous wall art and who use that outrage to spread their issues with just about anything into a cause to bitch about on social media. Maybe I wouldn't be so cynical if so much time wasn't wasted on bullshit like this when the real fight is out there taking healthcare away from children and spitting on dead black servicemen.

Maybe.

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Let's break down that paragraph:

"Easily triggered": I would argue that the desire to see women treated like human beings and not sex objects does not constitute "easily triggered".

"Spread their issues": Yes. The issue of sexual harassment and abuse is actually a pretty big issue. #metoo

"Bullshit like this": You are wrong. Objecting to images, acts, and displays of misogyny and sexism is not bullshit.

"The real fight": There are lots of things to fight for. Pointing out other valid issues does not invalidate the issue at hand.

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It would have been refreshing to see a mural depicting a woman of color in an uplifting and/or empowering light rather than as a hyper-sexualized seductress. Allston, you can do better than this.

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Wow, big shock that men are totally okay with this.
Hey guys, probably every woman you know has been sexually harassed or assaulted and maybe she doesn't want this in her face when she's waiting for the bus or walking her daughter to school.
But go ahead, be okay with it.
This mural was bad enough in its original form, but throwing a girl power tattoo and a breast cancer ribbon onto it is next level bullshit. No you don't get to co-opt female empowerment to inoculate yourself and you don't get to use a symbol of women's physical and emotional trauma to turn your garbage misogynist art into something feminist. Just stop.

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And I'd be totally okay with the artist painting a mural with a male depicted in a similar fashion.

Because I'm not an insecure prude who panics around "sexualized" imagery.

I thought our society was growing out of that nonsense toward the end of the previous century, what with most people dispensing with archaic religious morals and taboos.

Too bad you prudes invented a new philosophy to rationalize your insecurities.

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Wow, big shock that men are totally okay with this.

Some men are OK with it, I guess. I'm not, particularly. I imagine some women are OK with it, too. Maybe we could leave the identity politics out of this?

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Virtue signalling is everything.

Don't you know it is the current year?

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Used to be known as "being a decent human being."

Use of that term is a good clue that you can safely ignore anything else that person has to say.

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When a distasteful mural is morphed into some partisan victimhood claptrap it is an entirely appropriate descriptor.

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For demonstrating the point I was trying to make with eloquent simplicity.

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"Virtue Signalling" used to be known as "being a decent human being."

I believe "Virtual Signalling" used to be known as "bragging constantly about what a decent human being you are."

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtue_signalling:

Virtue signalling is the conspicuous expression of moral values done primarily with the intent of enhancing standing within a social group.

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You quoted from something (a blog post?) that you did not link to.

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Reminds me of the mural episode of Silicon Valley (Google-image at your own risk).

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He's such a phony he'd say he likes it.

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and billion dollar entertainment industries that are also pretty risqué, but you don't usually hear too much complaining about them. But misogynistic? That's definitely debatable. Many models, performers, artists, etc. freely choose to engage in poses like the one portrayed, and many people- male and female- like to dress in a sexy, provocative fashion when in the mood- is it wrong for them to do so? Is it the joke about female masturbation that makes it misogynistic? If the mural had instead depicted a sexy male cartoon character holding a banana or a hot dog down there, would it be considered misandry? If erotic imagery is inherently misogynistic that there is certainly an awful lot of it out there to police beyond this mural.

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No. It's the gang of rats staring at the stereotypical black female porn character with their salmon colored phallic noses poking around. How's that for a double whammy both racist AND sexist all in one interpretation? This offends not just the educated and independent black woman but ALL women!

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... the nearest publicly funded erotic mural featuring a male in a sexualized pose

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as a counterpoint to this one?

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Not a mural, but there's a statue of a nude boy fornicating with a turtle in Worcester.

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10-18-17 2pm EST: google experiences a mysterious uptick in searches for "turtle sculpture worcester"

ps. omg

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Is also the symbol of the trash-rag TurtleBoySports, which is a sad pathetic little attempt at hyperlocal news done in a way that is beyond disgusting.

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featured in Worcester's Amazon proposal?

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statue of a nude boy fornicating with a turtle in Worcester.

I guess you could say that Mona Lisa is a painting of a woman playing with herself. I mean, where do you think that smile is coming from?

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Her hands are on the table, dude.

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With a gorilla and pussy, the Globe reports.

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I'm not offended by the woman/gorilla but the lack of creativity is notable. He seems like a good artist. Too bad he can't think of any subjects beyond references to sex/anatomy.

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the streets are one of the most democratic places of all, if any person is that upset with it go and paint over it, it takes about 5 minutes. problem solved.

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the streets are one of the most democratic places of all, if any person is that upset with it go and paint over it, it takes about 5 minutes. problem solved.

Umm...

.... Seriously?

And, if you don't like the color your neighbor has painted his house?

Allow me to introduce a key concept: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_property

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