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Thong song
Naked ladies get press

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2004, NEW YORK -- Naked ladies get press. Even half-naked ladies get press. And so Axis of Eve, an independent female underwear company, invited women of all shapes and sizes to don a pair of their anti-Bush/pro-Bush-protest panties and flash photographers in Battery Park -- certainly one way to guarantee that your protest will make the late-night news. Which made the 6 o'clock event an anti-Bush protest, a fashion show, and a photography shoot all in one.

By 5:45 p.m., three times as many photographers as panty flashers formed a circle on the lawn. The mostly male photographers ogled the 100 or so women lined up on the grass, all wearing Axis of Eve underwear printed with bad female-genitalia puns: DRILL BUSH NOT OIL; EXPOSE BUSH; FIRE BUSH; GIVE BUSH THE FINGER. Aside from the panties, it doesn't matter what they wore. No one noticed.

Five minutes to six, nonagenarian Senate candidate Doris "Granny D" Haddock showed up. Thankfully, she hadn't decided to join the mass flash. She'd just come to watch.

The clock turned six. The panty procession marched forward about 20 feet, to a leopard-print blanket thrown on the ground that formed their kinky finish line. As the women danced and demanded "Get outta my bush, Bush," cameramen let out their inner pervs, pointing their equipment at women's crotches. It was creepy.

After the undulating underwear wearers reached the leopard bedspread, an Axis of Eve leader crowned with flowers announced that it was time to flash. "Women voters stand proud! Time to shout our protest loud." The women shouted by lifting up their skirts, pulling down their pants, and letting mysterious things jiggle. They smiled. So did their scars. Blue bruises played peekaboo. Stretch marks stretched. It wasn't all a pretty sight.

Then it was over. At 6:13 p.m. The whole photo opportunity/protest/fashion show/icky advertisement lasted just 13 minutes. Thank God.

Afterwards, over on a park bench, an older woman sold underpants for 10 dollars a pop. "I don't think there are any 'Lick Bushes' left," she said to a young man who wanted to actualize some of the fantasies he'd just had by buying his girlfriend a pair. The young man, who made a point to announce loudly that he wanted a pair sized small, traded a 10 dollar bill for a red set of FIRE BUSH bloomers.

Nearby, a dark-haired woman told an acquaintance why she'd been asked to stand in the back. "Give Bush the finger" was too dirty for the media," she explained. She was definitely sulking.

At 6:30 p.m., on the edge of the grass, a Hispanic woman asked, "Where's the rally?" Someone told her the rally was over. She looked around. "Oh. So they don't need the tear gas for those panty people?"

Issue Date: September 1, 2004
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