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Anti-Bush panties


THURSDAY, July 29, 2004 -- If, as artist Barbara Kruger suggests, your body is battleground, then no oneís waged so vicious an attack ó in my lifetime at least ó than the Bush administration. And it makes perfect sense that people are fighting back on that same warzone. Take the Axis of Eve, for example, a feisty faction of young women activists working to "expose and depose President Select George Bush and his deceitful administration," believing that Bushís "perverse efforts to control our bodies and freedoms must be countered and confronted in creative ways." An earnest campaign, no doubt, and certainly a war worth fighting.

Their weapons for the battle? Panties. Protest panties. Panties splashed with naughty puns to provoke political protest. Youíve got your choice of, for example, "Down on Bush," "Expose Bush," "Lick Bush," "Drill Bush Not Oil," "Give Bush the Finger," and, for first time voters, "My Cherry for Kerry." Theyíre clever. Theyíre saucy. And last night at the Enormous Room in Central Square, the Axis of Eve held a "Down on Bush Panty Ware Party" to sell some skivvies and perform in the name of creaming Bush (I donít think that oneís in their line yet).

But letís just say the event didnít leave me panting. The Enormous Room was packed with thin people with pretty smiles eating hummus and trying not to spill their drinks. The Eves were the ones wearing the undies. One wore fuchsia fishnets below a "Give Bush the Finger" pair; one had a fringe of scarves tied around her waste like a Steven Tyler microphone; and another, whose limbs seemed twice as long as the average humanís, wore a long black dress with lacy white petticoats beneath it. She lifted her skirts every once and a while to expose her anti-Bush unmentionables.

Despite the scantily clad, there was a surprising lack of energy in the air. One young woman in a sweater set and pumps talked about her doctorís appointment. Another couple discussed whether the Sox were going to trade Millar. I heard no talk of politics. I heard no talk of protest. I heard nothing of how Bush has systematically eroded the rights of women, or how Kerry needs to focus on "human rights for women," as Barbara Ehrenreich proposes in todayís New York Times. Instead of feeling spurred to spread the word, sparked to tell my friends to vote, more enraged by Bush, and more thrilled by the prospect of change, I felt bored and claustrophobic, and was quickly tiring of everything having to do with panties.

After a couple of performances, I decided to check out the merch. As I stood over a table covered with colorful undergarments, one girl held up her brand new "Lick Bush" thong to her friend.

"Itís a really good ó" Her words were lost as "Roller Coaster of Love" played for the third time.

"What?" her friend shouted above the song.

"Itís a really good CUT," the girl repeated, pointing to her panties.

"Oh," her pal nodded. "I thought you said cause."

"That too, that too," said the girl enthusiastically.

I bowed out after that, feeling a bit like an unsatisfied lover.

Issue Date: July 29, 2004
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