Friday, February 11, 2005

Yawn ... "The Vagina Monologues" ... again?

Lenoir-Rhyne College Professor Paul Beidler is advertising a reading of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues for Valentine's Day this year, to be hosted at his house near campus. On the whole the campus tends to be indifferent toward this sort of thing. But I sent Paul the following email, which I here make available as an open letter to anyone wishing to read it:

... sigh ... If it's attention you want, enjoy this, because it's probably all you're going to get in this slough of apathy and indifference. Just what do you think you're doing with this belated celebration of Ensler's Vagina Monologues? The hype over this is "so yesterday," unless you can find something redeeming here for rehabilitating it. What is this, an official school function, or a private invitation to a Beidler family book reading? I couldn't help noticing your posters all over campus. It might have been more exciting if you thought anyone in the administration actually cared enough to be scandalized about it. The part that makes the least sense is your rationale for the event: "to raise awareness of domestic violence." What kind of awareness? One could raise awareness of the national scourge of pornography that fosters images of women as slabs of meat by inviting an audience to a screening of uncut porn. But to what end? Awareness can cut both ways, can it not? It could foster addiction to porn as well as resistance to it. It all depends what your purpose is.

Do you think people are going to seriously think you wish to decry rape and other violence against women? The section of Ensler's book entitled "The Little Coochi Snorcher That Could" celebrates the lesbian rape of a 13-year-old girl by a 24-year-old woman who plies her with alcohol (Coochi Snorcher being the nickname of the little girls's genitalia). Both by statute and by feminist definition, the event is rape. The only difference--and one Ensler celebrates--is that the rapist is not a man. After the event, the molested girl says "I'll never need to rely on a man," declaring "... if it was a rape, it was a good rape." Come on. Why is rape wrong only in a heterosexual context, but when it's commited by a lesbian against a girl who just happens to be 13-years-old it's not only supposed to be excusable but celebrated as though it were a sacrament?

I suppose Ensler's unabashed hatred of men and heterosexuality could get a rise out of some students. Ensler's riff on the word "cunt" could even provide a sufficient rush of excitement among lapsed church-goers near the buckle of the Bible belt to fulfill their craving for feeling naughty. But give me one good reason why I should find this worth supporting. Don't you ever reach a saturation point and just find this stuff a hideous bore?

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