“Make Love Not War” was a movement that seemed revolutionary in the 1960s. The idea that sexual freedom could be the alternative to a war in Vietnam was established by the younger generations in hopes for a more peaceful future. Little has changed today, as online activists continue to try to tear down the glorification of gun possession with eye-catching proclamations of sex.
Few images are more disturbing than politicians with their gleaming eyes set on success, all the while proudly holding massive firearms. To see a Presidential hopeful triumphantly raising a rifle in the air as his picture is snapped is a disappointing if not gross representation of the United States, and at times, it can feel like there is nothing left to do but continue scrolling past the figures’ grinning, gun-slinging faces.
That was until Matt Haughney, an activist with a hand for photoshop and Tumblr, started #GOPdildo, unloading onto the Internet images of G.O.P. members waving, cocking, cradling and aiming dildos. Trading the guns in the original images for monstrous sex toys was Haughney’s admittedly satirical attempt at calling attention to gun control laws, or lack there of, in the United States.
Though I don’t usually love the idea of taking someone’s photograph and making it appear vulgar, the photoshop here serves a greater purpose in suggesting that guns are more vulgar, destructive and shocking than dildos could ever be.
Acknowledging that some of the figures in the doctored images look so unbelievably illustrious that one would doubt there ever being a gun in place of a giant, purple dildo, Haughney has credited the link to the original images beneath each post. The inclusion of the initial, unedited photograph is what gives Haughney’s project its real impact.
In this era, we’ve become numb to shock value. For most young adults in 2015, Miley Cyrus sucking her own large dildo strap-on is not considered pornographic, but rather another fleeting image that landed the cover of Candy Magazine. Instead, what shocks us is a seemingly more mainstream, safe-for-work category of images: the celebration of guns among public and political figures.