It’s a sad state in affairs of the heart that across our country Valentine’s Day has become “V-Day”, as in Vagina Monologues Day. V-Day was born on February 14, 1998. It stands for “Violence, Victory and Vaginas”.
Sad for a number of reasons:
- To begin with,the premise of a monologue by one gender complaining about the opposite gender on a day where supposedly love is celebrated doesn’t bide well for relationships between men and women. Obviously.
- The Vagina Monologues describes the seduction and statutory rape of a thirteen-year old girl by a lesbian as a romantic “event”. Let me point out, this is morally wrong. Statutory rape is statutory rape, folks.
- Then there’s the objectification of women as vaginas. Ensler claims that “Vagina stories found me”: Women are their gonads and nothing more.
- And worst of all, the premise that all men are predators and pervs – and women their eternal victims.
Now, I have and enjoy a vagina, and this focus on vaginal be-all strikes me as silly. Unlike a silly woman that Ensler mentions in The V-Day Edition of her play, I don’t need to spend a whole day looking for my vagina. Unlike my cell phone and my reading glasses (which I have spent a whole day looking for), I know exactly where my vagina is at all times. So do millions of women around the world: it is no big deal. As Kathleen Parker says,
Not to be a spoilsport, but it’s not as though vaginas have only suddenly come to mankind’s attention. And the Big O, though universally regarded with awe, is not advanced physics.
I find it ridiculous that there’s even a need to have to explain this.
While proceeds from all performances of TVM on V-Day go towards local groups that work to stop violence towards women, and the original play did speak out against vaginal mutilation, what does this vaginal mentality accomplish?
Certainly not any better understanding between men and women.
As Mama said,
The endless propagandistic screeching about the evil and inherent treachery of men has taught many women to be acutely and deeply defensive in their relationships with men. The trust is gone, and that trust is what is needed in order to establish the type of reflexively loyal and intimate relationship which we naturally desire and of which we are naturally capable. (That’s men and women!)
College girls who buy into the campus vaginal monologuing will never understand that love, real love, means surrender. For as long as you believe that any man, no matter how good or how much he loves you, is a predator simply because he is a man, you will never ever truly love him.
And you know what? There is no guarantee that you won’t get hurt when you truly love. Even if the guy is a great guy who really loves you. In fact, the odds are very high that you will get hurt down the line. That’s just the way life is.
This is not my vagina telling you: it’s my heart.
Self-realization? More like dehumanization:
Colleen Carroll Campbell explains how:
By explicitly equating themselves with their sexual organs (“My vagina is a shell, a tulip, and a destiny. . . . My vagina, my vagina, me,” “my clitoris . . . was me, the essence of me”), the play’s characters parrot the premises of pornography: That women are objects, not subjects; that women are the sum of their sexual organs; that feminine sexuality and identity can be reduced to feminine body parts. By encouraging audiences to chant vulgar slang words for a woman’s sexual organs, the play dispels any sense of mystery and reverence about feminine sexuality and contributes to the desensitization of a culture already drowning in obscenity. By presenting the lesbian seduction of a minor as a “salvation” experience in contrast to the many heterosexual encounters that portray men as perverts and predators, the play perpetuates the pessimistic view that men and women are doomed to use and abuse each other.
The Monologues defines healthy sexuality as the selfish pursuit of sexual pleasure and encourages audiences to become connoisseurs and voyeurs of all manner of sexual experience. In doing so, the play champions the very commodification of sex that endangers women — including those trapped in a sex trade driven by our culture’s insatiable appetite for unlimited and instant sexual gratification. Ensler may have intended to extol the best virtues of women, but she wound up imitating the worse vices of men.
By no definition of the word do I see any victory in any of this. I see a lot of one upmanship, and a lot of gaining and keeping the upper hand, and a lot of people using each other, and a lot of the characteristics of a culture of pornography, but no victory.
No victory for anyone.
Is this part of a trend towards a neuterized society?
Last year Dr. Melissa Coulther made a very convincing case:
Hatred for both the essential uniqueness of men and women have created a hostile environment for all people. The unintended consequences of neuterizing–both men and women feel betrayed by their innate gender tendencies and with their self-loathing project this hatred on society.
We can argue about that later.
Clearly the notion of celebrating love on Valentine’s Day is a thing of the past. Now it’s all about the alliteration: “Violence, Victory and Vaginas”.
In all this V-Day celebrating, nowhere does the notion of virtue enter the picture. Instead, the day is dedicated to “Violence, Victory and Vaginas”.
Violence, Victory and Vaginas?
PS [ ON STAGE ] “The Vagina Monologues”
For the seventh year, George Mason University’s Sexual Assault Services will present the Eve Ensler play (featuring a new monologue about peace), performed by students and others in the GMU community.
Now peace is about vaginas, too.
Update : Larwyn emailed,
I won’t be happy until the entire world has read Gerard’s “Voice of the Neuter” at least twice.
But it would illustrate the last point of your post beautifully.