Last week I went to a really wonderful student performance of the Vagina Monologues at put on by LSU’s Women Organizing Women. The women were excellent performers, and really got into their various roles. It was beautiful, and the balance they struck between celebrating bodies and mourning the violence done to them was quite impressive. I enjoyed myself.
That said, there were a few things I had issues with. The first was a quote from the ever-irksome Andrea Dworkin about how equality can never exist alongside (among other things) pornography. As someone who finds a lot of legitimate personal expression in creating (and often viewing/reading) pornography, I was a little annoyed. And being intimately involved with a woman who does the same, and to see her sexuality insulted like that in a venue supposedly dedicated to building it up was rather infuriating.
Also, the head of LAFASA (Louisiana Foundation Against sexual Assault) for whom the event was a fundraiser, mentioned the recent controversy over New York’s Governor Spitzer being discovered to have patronized a prostitute. She said it was nice to finally be holding a man responsible for the “social ill of prostitution.” It seems to me that prostitution itself is not a social ill, but the way it’s generally practiced is a result of the way which we as a society treat sex. Her comments seemed to disregard all of those who choose to become and remain sex workers. Demonization of prostitution seems only a step away from demonization of prostitutes, or better, regarding them as in need of pity, deluded, or abused because of their profession. Work to erase the violence against them, not to eradicate what they do. That’s like attacking agriculture because of abuses of migrant workers.
Finally there was a slide that said “Resist Rape Culture” and gave as examples of this covers of Maxim (or some such magazine), Girls Gone Wild, and what looked like scenes from porn.
But as I said, the performance itself was top notch! The entrance to the International Cultural Center (where the show was held) was decorated with draped red and pink fabric with a pink paper lantern at the apex. I got a chuckle out of that. And I was engrossed enough in the performance that I hardly even cringed when there was a bit about someone shaving her vagina. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against shaving. But trying to shave one’s vagina would probably lead to a trip to the emergency room for some very uncomfortable stitches. I love the play, but I’d love to see some vulva love as well.
There was also a “Vagina Art Show” afterwards with lots of female-genital related pieces of art: paintings, sculptures, fabric arts, collage. It was really amazing. After discovering that I could use my debit card to purchase I piece, I had to go for this reimagining of the Mother of God, entitled “In A New Light”.
I see it as an affirmation of the sacredness of our bodies as well as of the fleshiness of Mary and Jesus. It’s a nice escape from the too-frequent attacks on the body within Christianity.
And I have to say, the play, the art show and the piece I bought inspired me to work at creating some body-positive art of my own. Tonight I went to Hobby Lobby and got some polymer clay and paint and made vulva art!
To show the size, I placed a lighter next to the pre-baked piece and later photographed it after baking and painting.
Next up? Penis art!