Open Source Boob Project

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Event: Open Source Boob Project, OSBP
Name(s): theferrett
Date(s): April 21, 2008
Type: meta, online
Fandom: Multifandom
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A singular project, perhaps adding to (or more likely detracting from) our understanding of the term 'open source'. That term in the software context, as set out in the GNU General Public Licence states that the essential foundations of 'open source' are as follows:
There are four freedoms that every user should have: the freedom to use the software for any purpose, the freedom to change the software to suit your needs, the freedom to share the software with your friends and neighbors, and the freedom to share the changes you make.

It is not entirely clear how far the equation between 'open source software' as described above and 'women's breasts' was intended to be taken by the Open Source Boob Project, which premiered at Penguicon in 2008 and was brought to the consciousness of fandom at large by a post[1] by Livejournal user TheFerrett.


In 2007, TheFerrett attended ConFusion, during which he and a group of friends had had a revelation. His LJ entry on it, dated April 21, 2008, started with this:

"This should be a better world," a friend of mine said. "A more honest one, where sex isn't shameful or degrading. I wish this was the kind of world where say, 'Wow, I'd like to touch your breasts,' and people would understand that it's not a way of reducing you to a set of nipples and ignoring the rest of you, but rather a way of saying that I may not yet know your mind, but your body is beautiful."

We were standing in the hallway of ConFusion, about nine of us, and we all nodded. Then another friend spoke up.

"You can touch my boobs," she said to all of us in the hallway. "It's no big deal."[1]

From here, The Ferrett conceived of the Open Source Boob Project.


The project premiered at Penguicon complete with a philosophy, rules, and accessories.

"At Penguicon, we had buttons to give away. There were two small buttons, one for each camp: A green button that said, "YES, you may" and a red button that said "NO, you may not." And anyone who had those buttons on, whether you knew them or not, was someone you could approach and ask:

"Excuse me, but may I touch your breasts?"

And if you weren't a total lout - the women retained their right to say no, of course - they would push their chests out, and you would be allowed into the sanctity of it. That exchange of happiness where one person are told with gropes and touches that they are desirable and the other is someone who's allowed to desire."[1]


Initial responses to the Open Source Boob Project were somewhat mixed. This changed rapidly as the post spread through LiveJournal. The vast majority of women posting were extremely upset that their bodies were considered targets of opportunity.

Reactions include "it's a selfish grasping onanistic power play disguised as utopian openness and universal freedom." And, "Anyone who thinks that male assumptions of privilege and sexual objectification don't exist any more, and female safe spaces are not necessary, can just take a gander at The Open Source Boobs Project (which as someone said, is more like "The Public Domain Boobs Project" as in: women's breasts should be usable by anyone, ewwwwwww.)"[2]

Nineveh_uk encapsulated her response in the Dorothy L. Sayers' story, I've Been to a Marvellous Party.

Other Links to Discussion

The community unfunnybusiness on Journalfen has a a list of links. [3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 TheFerrett, The Open-Source Boob Project, The Ferrett, April 21, 2008
  2. msilverstar post on LiveJournal dated 2008-04-23, accessed 2011-07-01
  3. reference link

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