With the Charlie Hebdo attacks still fresh in our minds and people around the world debating the scope of free speech, another French institution finds itself in hot water over artistic expression. This time it is the Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital, which you might remember as the place that opened a wine bar for terminally-ill patients, but it has apparently been home to a fresco that depicts Wonder Woman as the centerpiece of a superhero gang bang involving Superman, Batman, Supergirl and The Flash, whom I assume is always the first to finish. Lousy jokes aside, some people haven’t been laughing at the mural, as hospital staff painted over it yesterday, following outcry from at least one feminist group.
Aside from the fact that it’s just plain crude, members of France’s feminist group Osez le Féminisme were outraged, according to Vice, because the presumed medical students who altered the mural to add speech bubbles that included the phrases “Take it deep,” “Take that health reform” and “You should inform yourself a bit better” were using rape to express their “discontent” with Marisol Touraine, France’s Minister of Social Affairs and Health. Additionally, the group wrote (with the help of vague Google translation) that a mural like this is a “misogynist menace” and that such “patriarchal crimes” can be responsible for “eroticized extreme violence.” A spokesperson for Osez le Féminisme told Vice:
It represents a woman who is the victim of a collective rape. When you know that each year in France, 75,000 women get raped, that only 10 percent of them make a complaint, and that it leads to a sentencing in only 2 percent of the cases, while at the same time future doctors find it acceptable to paint such frescoes in their waiting room, it means there is a huge problem with attitudes. What’s even more shocking about this fresco is that it was used for political purposes. It’s a very degrading and humiliating message, and a clear attack toward the health minister. (Via Vice)
The group has asked that the “artists” responsible for the speech bubbles be punished accordingly because this “clearly violates the first articles of the code of medical ethics in France.” The hospital’s leadership reacted by having staff members completely paint over the mural that may have been there for as long as 14 years before the Facebook group “Les médecins ne sont pas des pigeons” got the viral ball rolling on Saturday. They will also take “disciplinary, or even judiciary action” against the students or staff members responsible.
So I’m sure you’re wondering what the mural looks like. Well, you can see the unedited fresco at Vice, but here is the slightly-painted-over and still very NSFW version…