Note: This column is not a direct response to any letters to the editor we have received (as it is not our policy to respond to the letters). I planned on writing on this subject before we received any letters. I reserve the right to mention claims given by any relevant source (letters or otherwise) but will not mention any names of the authors of those letters or other forms of protest to The Vagina Monologues. With February here, young people about campus (and especially women) are gearing up for one of the most important holidays of the year. After taking two years off, “V Day” is returning to Tech Campus.and I’m not talking about Valentine’s Day.
Rewind to two years ago, when the Backdoor Players staged the previous rendition of The Vagina Monologues. Although I couldn’t act in the piece (no dudes allowed), I offered to compose an original soundtrack for the performance. The offer was accepted.
As we neared the beginning of performances, I arrived at rehearsal one night to set up my gear and found the cast sitting around a stage reading a memo from a professor on campus. He had written a long, rambling, pretentious, and ultimately asinine protest to the staging of the show. While the cast attempted to laugh off the attempt at censorship, I could tell that several people involved were hurt by the mean-spirited attack on their right to empower themselves.
Fast-forward to the present. As I write I can’t help but think back to the faces of those women two years ago. They had every right to be proud, but were unpleasantly reminded of the misogyny still rampant on our campus.
The standard arguments against the show are numerous: the show is profane; the show is subversive; the show casts sexual intercourse in a non-traditional light. Thus, some folks here on campus don’t want The Vagina Monologues to be staged.and here is where I get angry.
I have a theory that the sort of man (its always men.ever notice that?) who raise a ruckus over the staging of The Vagina Monologues (both here and elsewhere) must go around with a full watering pot to sprinkle on the women in their lives. After all, women are just pretty flowers to be looked at, right?
Here’s a few facts pulled from the website of the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network: one in every six American women will be sexually assaulted during their lives; sexual assaults occur every two minutes in this country. I imagine every person who reads this article knows more than six women. Think about it, and do the math. The small-minded bigots who want to censor The Vagina Monologues apparently believe that women don’t have the right to object to this heinous situation. The implications of this attempt at censorship are too grim for me to go in to.I’ll let you figure them out
Yes, the show does contain a fair amount of profanity. And, if you can’t handle some “bad” words, feel free not to attend. But don’t let your childish sensitivity provoke you to try and stifle voices that deserve to be heard.
Some protestors claim that the show objectifies women. I recall, from the last time the show was staged here, some dimwit linking The Vagina Monologues to pornography. Pornography does, in fact, objectify women (and men, as well). Those who work in the adult film industry agree to be objectified for monetary gain. Women who participate in The Vagina Monologues do so to challenge conventional notions about sexuality. The show does not reduce women to a single body part; it celebrates what it is to be a woman (a vagina is fairly essential to womanhood). Without exception, every woman I’ve talked to who has been a part of this show loved the experience and grew as a person. If you don’t understand objectification, don’t use it as an argument.
And, yes, the show does discuss non-marital sexual activity. Evidently, some people need to be reminded that, in America, consenting adults have the right to engage in sexual activity.
To be sure that I’m not going out on a limb, I polled several women in my office about the event. Despite various political or religious affiliations, most of them plan on attending. No one I asked objected to the show. I polled some women friends and women on campus. No objections and lots of support. I didn’t poll any men, because, frankly, who cares? I only presume to give my opinion because I knew the women in the cast supported my doing so.
So, if you are a man and your far-right, misogynistic world view is challenged by this show enough to try and stifle the women involved in the production, do everyone a favor and just shut up. You’re wrong, you’re a bigot, and you’re fighting a fight that you will not win.
I hope you attend the show. I assure you that you will learn quite a bit about the plight of women in our society. Complacency and censorship accomplishes nothing.
On a final note, I want everyone to say it with me now: vagina. If the word bothers you, work on growing up.
See you next time.