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Mount Holyoke College is an all-women’s school in Massachusetts; a combination of factors that guarantees it puts on an annual performance of The Vagina Monologues. Guaranteed until this year, that is. Have feminists finally realized that the play is virulently anti-male, and that femininity can be celebrated without trashing masculinity? Of course not you hopeless optimist. It seems the problem with the play is that it isn’t inclusive of transgendered students.
“At its core, the show offers an extremely narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman…Gender is a wide and varied experience, one that cannot simply be reduced to biological or anatomical distinctions, and many of us who have participated in the show have grown increasingly uncomfortable presenting material that is inherently reductionist and exclusive,” the email, obtained by Campus Reform, said.
Some ideas are so absurd that one must possess a college education to believe them. Mount Holyoke College believes that gender – an inherently biological distinction – cannot be determined via biology.
As always, my libertarian instincts lead me down the path of not caring what you call yourself, and what you do with your life, provided you don’t violate the rights of others. They do not however leave me inclined to participating in mass denials of reality. And yet, on the opposing side of this dispute sits a play that represents all that is wrong with modern feminism. How does one pick a winner to root for in this conflict?
If you have never seen the Vagina Monologues, know that I envy you. You can re-create the experience by sitting around with some friends and saying the word vagina (and less polite synonyms) several hundred times out loud as everyone giggles like first graders who’ve just heard a dirty word on television. Viewing it leaves you with an evening wasted, and short several IQ points which have been shaved off of your brain as if by a piece of low grade sandpaper.
As much as I would love to dedicate a thousand words to picking apart Eve Ensler’s magnus opus, Christina Hoff Sommers has already written the definitive critique. Sommers is particularly bothered by the cavalcade of “brutes, sadists, child-molesters, genital mutilators, gang rapists and vile little boys” that represent the male gender in the monologues. There is a lone exception: Bob.
Bob. Rarest of heroes, redeemer of his gender. So I guess Ensler’s message is this: It’s only MOST men who are brutal, cruel, insensitive, aggressive and stupid–but, every so often, if you’re really really lucky, you may come across a boring, humorless, unattractive man who likes to stare at vaginas for hours on end.
I will only add a recommendation to Ms. Ensler that in future versions, when searching for a metaphor for a woman’s lady parts, avoid the Grand Canyon.
With all that I have written above in mind, you can be confident that when I woke up this morning, there was no moment where I thought “I should defend the Vagina Monologues today.” A swift kick to the groin, and contracting tuberculosis, were both significantly higher priorities. It is an irredeemable and vacuous production, but I am a pragmatist, and we must at all times choose the lesser of two stupids.
Students of Mount Holyoke College had mixed feelings about the decision to pull out.
“I love how people who have never been able to discuss or embrace their vaj-wahs aren’t going to find an avenue here, either, since female-validating talk about vaginas is now forbidden. That’s so misogynistic under the guise of ‘progress,’” one student wrote.
“But we can’t present a show that is blatantly transphobic and treats race and homosexuality questionably, when one of the conditions of getting the rights to the show is that you can’t critique it or alter it,” another student said.
To be clear, the supposed transphobia of the play rest entirely on the fact that it fails to include women who don’t have “vaj wahs”. A more tautological observation you will never see. All celebrations are exclusionary, as their very nature is to elevate something of a distinct quality for praise.
Even in the absence of any transgendered women, The Vagina Monologues is exclusionary to men. Both mother’s day and father’s day fail to offer praise to those who have never raised a child. Veteran’s day celebrates the efforts and courage of veterans, to the exclusion of non-veterans. These are not interesting facts.
Eve Enlser thinks that lady parts are awesome. On this, we have an accord. She has chosen to celebrate their greatness with a terrible, terrible play. Have the critical thinking skills of the modern university student truly deteriorated to a point where they can believe it hateful to single out a trait, accomplishment, or talent for praise?
Not quite. To understand how a college student can so fervently believe that failing to praise the transgendered is hateful, while actively bashing men is perfectly acceptable behavior, one must always bear in mind the hierarchy of victimhood. Rather than treating all people as equals and judging others by their actions, the left prefers to treat people differently based on traits such as race, gender, and religion.
Jon Gabriel’s oppression index is as succinct a guide you will find.
The more underrepresented an identity group is, the more important it is to handle them with kid gloves. And for the moment, the transgendered are society’s victim du jour. When seen through this warped lens, it becomes clear how so many people could find the male bashing of the Vagina Monologues acceptable, while its failure to celebrate trans-women so abhorrent. The two are judged on different scales.
Women without vagina’s (which is coincidently my band’s name) are free to revel in their lack lady parts. Or better yet, they can praise achievement, rather than trying to draw their self-worth from the conditions of their birth. Mount Holyoke College should cancel their annual production of the Vagina Monologues because it is awful, not because it dares to celebrate a quality that only some people have.Published in