L. Neil Smith's
Number 257, February 1, 2004

"It's up to you, Democrats"

A Not Very Funny Valentine
by Wendy McElroy

Special to TLE

"The Vagina Monologues" (the VMs) are coming to a theatre near you...again. Eve Ensler's PC-feminist play is being dusted off on campuses and in communities around North America for production, often at taxpayer expense. Since 1998, the play has been part of a V-Day drive to convert February 14th from chocolates and Valentines to Vaginas and Violence—that is, to spotlighting male violence against women. But the backlash may surprise this year's promoters. The hostile reception provides another indication that society is no longer willing to tolerate political correctness.

What is V-Day? It is self-described as a global event to combat violence against women, which occurs in the weeks surrounding Valentine's Day. 2004 is touted as a celebration of "Vagina Warriors," with reportedly "over 2000 community-based V-Day benefit events" scheduled—900 in the U.S. V-Day's centerpiece is the VMs.

The VMs consists of fifteen vignettes in which women speak out as vaginas about their experiences, including rape, lesbianism, and genital mutilation. (Puzzling, I know to those who thought feminists objected to women being viewed as body parts.)

The original play included a scene entitled "The Little Coochi Snorcher that Could"—a reference to the nickname of a 13-year-old vagina. A 24-year-old woman plied the child-vagina with alcohol, and then they had sex. Both by statute and feminist definition, this is rape. Nevertheless, the Coochi Snorcher declared, "...if it was rape, it was a good rape." In the wake of outraged protest, the reference to "good rape" was prudently deleted from 2002 performances and the girl became 16.

But the sex scene stay and the surrounding language still makes clear the "goodness" of the lesbian statutory rape. The girl-vagina concludes that now she will "never need to rely on a man."

The VMs promotes lesbianism, pedophilia, and the view of men as violent, women as victims. If the play did so honestly and at its own expense, then the worst that could be said is "boycott the trash."

But shouting VAGINA—the word occurs more than 100 times—is hyped as true liberation and a way to end violence against women. Thus, those who criticize the VMs are anti-liberation and for violence. Moreover, the play is widely sponsored or hosted by university campuses who use tax and tuition dollars. Many of these same campuses have suppressed conservative views.

In past years, there have been isolated protests from male and conservative students, who were largely ignored or punished. For example, Robert Swope wrote a piece protesting the use of tuition dollars to finance a production at Georgetown; immediately afterward, Swope was fired from the student newspaper.

This year, however, the protests are widespread. They push well beyond complaining about tax or tuition money spent to promote a politics and morality that revolt many taxpayers. The objections include:

  • the VMs' vicious anti-male bias. One vagina offers the depiction of a young boy: "Edgar Montane, who is ten, gets angry at me and punches me with all his might between my legs. It feels like he breaks my entire self. I limp home. I can't pee." The VMs unremittingly portrays men as rapists, predators, and aggressors. In between, skewed feminist statistics are offered to support this anti-male worldview.

  • the inappropriateness of some of the venues. The VMs will be performed at Amherst-Pelham Regional High School in Massachusetts. On his January 14th show, Bill O'Reilly discussed the impropriety of using tax money to feed graphic and ideological sex to children.

  • the double standard by which administrations support the clearly ideological VMs and, yet, routinely suppress. O'Reilly also pointed out, "The same school district [Amherst] rejected a production of West Side Story [in 1999]" because it allegedly promoted racial stereotypes." Speech codes are rampant on college campuses. And, since "women" are a group protected against "offense," the codes tend to restrict the speech of men, especially conservatives.

  • the activities funded by profits from the VMs. Eve Ensler waives profits from Valentine's Day performances if the proceeds go agencies that aid women. Thus, a small New Hampshire theatre is now in the midst of an abortion debate because its proceeds are earmarked for the Portsmouth Feminist Health Center, which offers first-trimester abortions.

The foregoing conflicts are reason for optimism.

In the 90s, Ensler's original play complete with the "good rape" had the world applauding. It won the prestigious Obie award. Famous actresses clamored to be included in the cast. The New York Times called Ensler "the Messiah heralding the second wave of feminism."

The current backlash is part of a "tipping point" in our culture. The tipping point is similar to the supersaturation of a liquid, to the high school science experiment in which sugar is added bit-by-bit to warmed water until, suddenly, the water hits its saturation point and the sugar precipitates, like snow, to the bottom.

Our culture has been saturated by political correctness. Indeed, some universities, like Loyola, are refusing to sponsor the VMs this year. We are ready for political correctness to fall out of the social equation. It is time to tip from "correctness" of expression to freedom of speech, which everyone exercises at his or her own expense.

Visit my home page and blog, drop by ifeminists.com, For photo (05/02/02)


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