Three 20-something women trying to figure out what it means to be lay, Catholic, and modern all at once.

January 30, 2009

On 'V-Day'

With the feast of St. Valentine just around the corner, I thought I'd write a little bit about something I find insidious -- it's called 'V-Day.' If you're a woman, you've undoubtedly heard of it. It's the day that raises awareness for violence against women. Or at least, supposedly. They raise awareness by showing the insidious play 'The Vagina Monologues' on every college campus. Ugh. What a horrible play. What I find even more offensive is this. They straight up attack the Catholic Church on their site. They claim that the Catholic objection to the play is based upon misinformation and that they will refute such misinformation with 'facts' or in their terms 'reality.' Here's a little snippet:

MISINFORMATION: CNS [which by the way stands for 'Catholic News Service'] describes "The Vagina Monologues" as a "vulgar play", "complete with a favorable reminiscence about a lesbian seduction of a 16-year-old girl" and "explicit discussions of sexuality and sexual encounters including lesbian activity and masturbation."

REALITY: The monologue referred to reflects the real-life experience of a real woman who was interviewed by Eve Ensler. The monologue accurately reports the woman's experience.

The pieces in "The Vagina Monologues" are all reflections of real women's experiences. Some of the stories are not politically correct, but they are all real. It is important to allow all of the voices of women to be heard, regardless of how we personally feel about their experiences, as violence against women happens everywhere affecting one in three women worldwide.

"The Vagina Monologues" has been successful as a play in part because it inspires reflection and thought among audience members, and dialogue among people who have seen the play. The Vagina Monologues has proven vastly liberating because it gives voice to experiences and feelings not previously exposed in public, and reflects how shame and self-deprecating thoughts of women’s bodies has kept women separate from power and pleasure. The overwhelming response to the play was mobilized by grassroots organizations who recognize how negative attitudes towards women’s bodies contribute to violence perpetrated against women by men and by themselves.

Violence against women happens everywhere affecting one in three women worldwide. V-Day envisions a world where women live safely and freely. Each year V-Day continues to grow and inspire women and men throughout the world to help create V-World, a place where women and girls are free from violence. V-Day will continue this mission until the violence stops.

The site claims that the Catholics (particularly the Catholic universities who protest the play as a matter of conscience) are wrong about the play. They critique what they call 'misinformation.' Their response being the 'reality' does not refute the claim here, but only says that the play is base on 'fact.' Ok -- so why does that make it good?? Isn't the critique given here just a re-iteration of the 'facts' portrayed in the play? What kind of message is this play sending out about an authentic feminine sexuality?

Now I am SO against violence toward women. But to show a play that clearly objectifies women by reducing them to their anatomical part? Does that solve violence or promote it? I say 'part' because the title of the play clearly reveals which 'part' is to be associated with femininity. If we want to stop violence toward women, why reduce them to this? Why fixate on sex? Is that the only way women are violated? And how does the play inspire reflection?

And what about abortion? That is absent from the V-Day agenda. Is that shocking to any of you? Isn't abortion one of the most atrocious acts of violence toward women?? What can we do to raise awareness? Will we let organizations like V-Day speak for us?

1 comment:

La Italiana said...

Interesting follow up:

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