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Nina Paley Cancels The Vagina Museum

“How can I, as a woman, work with organizations that cancel women? I would be working against myself and my sisters,” Paley wrote.

Nina Paley Cancels The Vagina Museum

Nina Paley, a free culture and feminist activist, has denied permission to The Vagina Museum to screen her 2019 film Seder-Masochism, citing the organization's pattern of "woman-erasing language."

According to a statement released by Paley last night, this is the first time the artist has ever denied permission for any of her work to be screened. Paley is an outspoken free culture activist, and her work does not require permission for use.

Seder-Masochism is an award-winning, animated, feminist retelling of the traditional Passover Seder. However, it has been repeatedly pulled from venues as Paley has faced years of cancellation for her feminist views.

The Vagina Museum's History of Misogyny

According to a glowing profile in Time Magazine, The Vagina Museum's goal was to "educate visitors about women’s health and destigmatize the female body."

But the London-based museum quickly pivoted away from any discussion of women or femaleness, completely erasing women from the conversation about their very own bodies.

According to the Vagina Museum's website, "We believe that defining women by anatomy, as so many patriarchal institutions have done before, would be trans-exclusionary."

However, the museum does exactly this. They call women things like "people with vulvas" and "bleeders."

My Visit to the Trans-Inclusive Vagina Museum
Placards declare “Menstrual blood is the equivalent of semen” and all references to women are removed

Free Culture and the Art of Cancellation

Charlie Corubolo (They/Them) reached out to request permission to screen Seder-Masochism despite the film being free culture – meaning that Paley has rejected copyright and no permission is required to screen or use the film however they want.

Paley's website states:

"Please don’t ask my permission to re-use my work. YOU ALREADY HAVE PERMISSION. Please copy, share, re-use, redistribute, edit, modify, sell, etc."

Despite this, Paley chose to deny the Vagina Museum's request, taking advantage of the opportunity to raise awareness of the organization's misogynistic erasure of women.

“How can I, as a woman, work with organizations that cancel women? I would be working against myself and my sisters,” Paley wrote.

In response to having their request rejected, the Vagina Museum took to Twitter to claim they were being harassed and abused:

Neither Paley nor anyone she is aware of harassed or abused anyone at the Vagina Museum.

Paley describes the request to screen Seder-Masochism as "cancel bait" and says such requests are often insincere, or quickly revoked.

"That email looked so much like other emails I have gotten where someone invites me to screen or speak and then cancels me," Paley told 4W. This, she says, happens four to six times per year.

"The UKVM is a misogynistic institution... I'm confident if I had responded affirmatively they would cancel me once they found out I am gender critical."

Still, the film remains available for anyone – including the Vagina Museum – to screen or use.

"It's hilarious to anyone who understands free culture and my stance on it, because they can totally screen it anyway," Paley said.

You can watch or download Seder-Masochism for free at: https://sedermasochism.com/download/

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