Saturday, June 16, 2012

Anonymous said: I've heard there are problematic things about Ensler/The Vagina Monologues, but do you mind telling me your criticisms of her? I'm a feminist and I'm trying to hear different perspectives on it.

I’ve answered this before, it’s the only other post with “the vagina monologues” tag in my archive. Here. Aside from the describing the statutory rape of a young girl by an older women with the use of alcohol as a “good rape” and dropping the word “T****y”….

Below are some resources that I’m linking for future references.

Gender Across Borders: Eve Ensler and The Inauthentic Monologue

The Knoll: Evil Ensler and the Vag Monsters - Taking Reformist Politics from Monologue to Dialogue  & Feminism, Vaginas, and the ‘Other’ in the Vagina Monologues

The AS Review: Women’s Center to not produce “The Vagina Monologues” this year

And this makes me laugh because .GIFs and truth.

There’s more out there if you utilize google, or if you attend university or have a friend that does who can access more critiques of the production as well. I understand google can be hard to navigate in this topic because she has criticism that is conservative and it’s hard to find the problems under the praise, but it is not impossible either. I hope this was helpful to you, anon! :)

At this point of my life I do not feel the need to defend the Vagina Monologues anymore. Eve Ensler is exploitative scum, and I don’t care that she is in Lansing Monday to get attention or protest what’s going on with silencing women Democrats or the anti abortion legislation.

All. Over. My. Newsfeed.

I want to vomit that at the end of the articles everyone is posting is a comment about “when are we going to the penis monologues?”. UH EVERY FUCKING DAY, SHUT UP WHY DID YOU QUOTE SOMEONE’S HUSBAND WHEN SHE DIDN’T COMMENT??

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Anonymous said: do you find the vagina monologues offensive as a trans person?

Aside from critiques that the word vagina isn’t used properly in this movement (but I’m going to use vagina for ease of writing), there aren’t positive “third world” monologues, etc… and how some monologues portray acts of sexual misconduct as positive just because the lesson learned from it was a positive message. I guess, I’m offended at how some of these women’s experiences in interviews were used/manipulated for the sake of the project- a person talking from her perspective is one thing but another woman taking those words, writing her own from a white cis american woman perspective and using it as “healing” is being irresponsible in what is included in the message that SHE is trying to communicate. There are many reasons to be offended at the play other than trans issues.

As for perspective re: offended as a trans person … erg… feelings. There is definitely an importance in addressing how people are brutalized or devalued because of their vaginas/vulvas/clitori and how culture informs that people with vaginas/etc are weak (and how overall in culture, informs what “should” be coded as female and what it means to not be coded as male). From the perspective it is looking for empowerment to people using the sex organ for which they are degraded, I’m not offended. I think there should be a better distinction made here between female empowerment and empowerment that can be used by females because the vagina could be used as self empowerment for trans men or other non binary folk; labeling the vagina as a source of female empowerment for cis and trans women with vaginas creates a gendered empowerment for women that trans women without vaginas don’t have access to therefore cannot truly be female empowerment. I don’t think anyone who has never had a vagina should be included in these types of projects that are based on how people are devalued for their vaginas or are taught to feel devalued for their vaginas. If a project is about womanhood, only women [cis and trans] should be in it but then the focus shouldn’t be on the sex organ. I do think focusing on the sex organ is important because it is a heavily oppressed body part and it goes beyond oppression of women and goes beyond womanhood; while the vagina isn’t inherently female that it is so strongly coded as female/not male in an oppressive gender binary system also has its role.

How often I hear critiques based mostly around including trans women compared to discussions about including trans men bothers me, because not all trans women do have vaginas but trans men on the other hand… yeah. The jump to argument about “what about trans women [with vaginas]” seems to come from a very “must include all women” and gender-essentialist mindset. “Oh, we were talking about vaginas? WOMEN WOMEN WOMEN WOMEN WOMEN GENDER ESSENTIALISM VAGINA MEANS WOMEN”. I’m a trans guy with a vagina/vulva/clit/etc, I have a hard time looking “down there”, I’ve been molested/sexually assaulted, I deal with a lot of internalized misogyny in my self esteem/body image/transition and grew up coded as not male in a rape culture. These parts of mine share a dialogue as others with these parts but there’s still no inclusion of how to fit in narratives like mine or non-binary monologues.