V is for vulgar
THIS YEAR "The Vagina Monologues" will be performed on over 600 college campuses nationwide. "The Vagina Monologues" is performed to compete with one of the nation's most endearing holidays. To radical feminists, V-Day doesn't stand for "Valentine" but for violence, victim and, of course, vagina.
In 1998 the V-Day campaign was launched as an outgrowth of "The Vagina Monologues." Playwright Eve Ensler and her cohorts made it the mission of V-Day "to end violence against women" and proclaimed "Valentine's Day as V-Day until the violence against women stops."
Nobody should fault the mission of the V-Day campaign since it contributes tremendous amounts of money to causes committed to ending violence against women. However, one should disagree with the timing of the V-Day campaign as well as means used to achieve this end.
The purpose of Valentine's Day is to celebrate love and friendship, two essential ingredients in preventing violence against women. Why refocus the positive message of this day to one of vulgarity?
Anyone who has endured a performance of "The Vagina Monologues" or has read the play should sense a disconnect between the message of the monologues and the mission of the V-Day campaign. How is this crude and tasteless expose helping to end violence? Outside of one monologue entitled, "My Vagina Was My Village," dedicated to female rape camp victims in Bosnia, women are painted as desperate characters obsessed with their vaginas.
First and foremost, "The Vagina Monologues" effectively reduces women to their vaginas.
For years feminists have remonstrated against swimsuit contests in pageants like Miss America, claiming that they objectify women's bodies. Ironically, one monologue, "The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy," does just that. It opens with the line, "I love vaginas. I love women. I do not see them as separate things." This Vagina Warrior, who was once a successful tax attorney, has voluntarily reduced herself to her anatomy. While this vagina-lover has the right to do whatever she wishes with her life, it seems that she has strayed far from the intent of early women's rights activists like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony.
Second, "The Vagina Monologues" does not discourage violence against young children or advocate educating children in order to prevent future acts of violence. As a matter of fact, Eve Ensler's interview of a six-year-old girl about her vagina should qualify as a form of child abuse in and of itself. Ensler asked the child questions like, "If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear?" and "what does your vagina remind you of?" How is a six-year-old coming up with metaphors for her vagina going to protect her from future violent acts against women or advance the mission of V-Day?
Another disturbing monologue is called "The little coochi snorcher that could." The monologue details the molestation of a 13-year-old girl by a lady in her neighborhood that she admired. The lady invited her over, gave her vodka to drink and a "teddy" to wear. She kissed the young girl, taught her how to bring pleasure to herself, and then asked her to demonstrate what she had learned for her. Instead of condemning this sick act, Eve Ensler condoned it, stating that "she transformed my sorry-ass coochi snorcher and raised it to a kind of heaven." If a man treated a young boy the same way he would undoubtedly be called a pedophile.
"The Vagina Monologues" is no kinder to men than it is to children. Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers noted that the play is "poisonously anti-male" as it focuses on the heinous acts that men are capable of committing. Instead of celebrating men who are loving husbands, great fathers and upstanding members of their communities, Ensler chooses only to highlight the negative. The lone scene in which she is remotely kind to men is in a monologue about a guy named Bob. Bob is a connoisseur of vaginas as he loves to stare at them for hours. His adoration of vaginas helps a woman learn to appreciate her own and for that he is a hero of the Vagina Warriors everywhere. While Bob would probably make a fine gynecologist, his appreciation of female anatomy is this segment does nothing to cut down on violence against women. Instead, it depicts men as pathetic creatures only obsessed with one thing.
These are just a few examples. The content of "The Vagina Monologues" is not helping to eradicate violence against women. It is demeaning to women, degrading to men, dangerous for children and uncouth.
This year celebrate Valentine's Day and continue to campaign against V-Day until the vulgarity ends. Skip "The Vagina Monologues," donate to your favorite charity and buy your sweetheart some chocolate.
Meredith Ramsey is president of the Network of Enlightened Women. She is a third year in the College of Arts and Sciences.