Lime jello was created inside the screen of a mini video player and left in the former ‘Women’s Lounge’ - now an abandoned, decaying ruin in the basement of Walker Memorial to collect dust and then placed in a pouch to grow the bacteria from what once was a sacred safe space for women at MIT 140 years ago. The video player was then candied in pink sugar into a cyber confectionary. The video playing is of girls at MIT being hot and sexy in an explosion of hyper-femininity that takes place in MIT’s biggest lecture hall.
In 1882, female MIT alumni raised $8000 to build women’s lounges and bathrooms to eliminate facilities as an excuse for the administration to reject female students. In 1941, MIT President Karl Compton stated that “in choosing MIT, you've taken on a man-size job, and it will take man-size effort to get it done.”
The girls in the video at MIT today, are oblivious to the existence of the abandoned Women’s Lounge - once a sacred safe space for women at MIT. What lingers of this history manifests itself through the mold that covers the screen. The generations of past women at MIT join the current students in the liberties they now enjoy by flourishing in the wet and hot environment in the pouch as the girls in the video expose their bodies.
The wet, hot, sugary femininity that drips out of the frame is censored by the mold over the screen. The girls are covered, blurred, and difficult to identify. But the motivation for censorship isn’t exactly disapproval. It’s an acknowledgement of the reality of the consequences girls continue to face from exposing themselves in the ways that they want to and to ultimately protect the girls in the video from a world that has surely changed, but not enough.
In high school, my mom would would pull my crop top down a bit before I left the house. The 140 Year Multi-Generational Wet & Hot Man-Sized Effort is to love pragmatically.