By Jo Piazza / current.com / @jopiazza
For a party celebrating a party that despises female genitalia, there certainly is a lot of talk about lady parts 'round Tampa this week.
This is owing in large part to protests instigated by Code Pink, an anti-war, pro–women’s rights group that had the grand idea to dress as vaginas during their activities in Tampa.
Those vaginas, which fall loosely over wearers’ neck much like a vintage Halston halter dress, have taken on a life of their own at the Republican National Convention. They sing. They dance. They are near omnipresent. While driving to an event last night, I watched as a man carried them, slung limply over his shoulder, to the next protest.
“Are those THE vaginas?” I yelled out the window.
“They sure are,” he replied and flapped the ends of one at me lazily.
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I wanted more of those vaginas in my life.
I went straight to the source, the vagina designer if you will — Los Angeles–based costume and prop designer Tighe Barry.
“We were sitting around all together, and we decided the war on women has to become more well known,” Barry said. “So we decided on the theme — bring your vagina to the RNC.
“It is an anatomical body part and nothing to be ashamed of. So they asked me to make vagina costumes, and I said I would be honored.”
Barry, whose film credits include "Dante's Peak," "Holes" and "The Fugitive," was inspired in part by Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues.”
The 6-foot-long Code Pink vaginas are constructed from a foam core and lined with a patterned pink ribbon Barry bought in the fashion district in LA. The insides of the vaginas are composed of a fuzzy material obtained secondhand at the Salvation Army. “Everything here is inexpensive,” Barry said.
It was the desire and attitude that brought it out. Premade vagina costumes are available on the Internet, but Barry and Code Pink didn’t want to go in that direction. “There are commercially made vagina costumes, but they just were not for us,” Barry said. “It’s amazing to think that Chinese workers are paid 25 cents an hour to make vaginas for American women.”
Code Pink was able to create their larger-than-life-sized vaginas for less than $7 a costume, and they plan to reuse them in protests through the rest of the year.
“The vaginas are receiving some wear and tear, we are using them so much,” Barry said. “But all told, I think they are holding up quite well.”Watch Al Gore introduce Current's convention coverage.
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