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Thursday, May 05, 2005

You can love your vagina, but not your penis

--posted by Tony Garcia on 5/05/2005

(H/T to SCSU Scholars)

Remember those Winona girls peddling smut in their school?

Well, someone wanted to point out the disingenuious argument that the whole ordeal was about free speech. If the whole ordear was about free speech then "I (heart) my penis" and Penis Monologues would be free speech as well.

Not so at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island.

On the one hand there was this:
The high point of the day is a performance of Ensler’s raunchy play, which consists of various women talking in graphic, and I mean graphic, terms about their intimate anatomy. The play is poisonously anti-male. Its only romantic scene, if you can call it that, takes place when a 24-year-old woman seduces a young girl (in the original version she was 13 years old, but in a more recent version is played as a 16-year-old.)1

But wait...this was not a one day smut-offensive.
The week before V-Day, the Roger Williams campus was plastered with flyers emblazoned with slogans such as "My Vagina is Flirty" and "My Vagina is Huggable." There was a widely publicized "orgasm workshop." On the day of the play, the V-warriors sold lollipops in the in the shape of–-guess what? Last year, the student union was flooded with questionnaires asking unsuspecting students questions like "What does your Vagina smell like?" None of this offended the administration or elicited any reprimands, probations, or confiscations.

Well, why not let the other side of an issue have say on a college campus. Afterall, colleges desire, according to the Supreme Court to "[stimulate] advocacy and debate on diverse points of view."

So why is is a problem when,
the campus conservatives artfully (in the college sense of "artful") mimicked the V-Day campaign. They papered the school with flyers that said, “My penis is majestic” and “My penis is hilarious.” The caption on one handout read, “My Penis is studious.” It showed Testaclese reclining on a couch reading Michael Barone’s Hard America, Soft America...

...the promoters of P-Day were ordered to cease circulating their flyers and to keep Testaclese off campus grounds. Mindful of how school officers had never once protested any of the antics of Vagina warriors, the P-warriors did not comply. The Testaclese costume was then confiscated and formal charges followed.

So, what does all of this mean?

The V-day scam and the Vagina Monologues are not about "free speech" or "ending violence against women". It is also not truly about "free[ing] up repressed feeling about...negative body images"2. It is instead a two-fold movement. First it is a glaring poke in the eye to the moral-based opponents of Eve Ensler who fought against her receiving NEA grants years ago for being obscenity.

The Vagina Monologues are but one facet of militant feminism...the kind that think that Herland3 is the panacea of life. Denise Caster writes how "this play demonizes heterosexual sex and childbirth".4

The very fact that V-day is actually more about anti-male philosophy is supported by the result of P-day disciplinary actions at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. The fact that the message of Vagina Monologues viewers is generally free speech (as in the case of the Winona smut-peddlers) shows how the very purported theme are more for shock, more for anti-men feminism and less for self-love. The latter is only a disguise.

If the Vagina Monologues and the Penis Monologues were treated equally I would be saying that they both contribute to a political discourse. But that is not the case. In fact, I find very few references to self-help gurus pointing women to the Vagina Monologues to help them with their self-image issues. That alone speaks volumes.

1 Another description of the opening scene is at Lew Rockwell's website which also discusses the implications of minimizing rape and molestation.
2 Quote from CNN/TIME 2001 article Activist has whole world chanting the V word
3 A summary of the story can be found at Fiction Writing for Writers by Writers
4 Denise Caster's article was published on 8/3/04


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