"The Vagina Monologues"
are coming to a theater near you ... again. Eve Ensler's politically correct-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 drive to convert Feb. 14 from chocolates
and Valentines to Vaginas and Violence -- that is, to turn Valentine's Day
into "V-Day," a day of 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
What is V-Day? It is self-described by organizers -- a coalition of feminist
organizations -- as a global event to combat violence against women, which
occurs in the weeks surrounding Valentine's Day. This year, 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 performance of the "Vagina Monologues."
The play consists of 15 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 stayed 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 Vagina Monologues" promotes lesbianism, pedophilia, and the view that
men are violent -- women are 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 play are anti-liberation and for violence. Moreover, the play
is widely sponsored or hosted by university campuses that 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 the tax dollars or tuition money spent to promote a politics and morality
that many taxpayers find revolting. The objections include:
The vicious anti-male bias of "The Vagina Monologues." One vagina offers
the depiction of a young boy: "Edgar Montane, who is 10, 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 play unremittingly portrays men as rapists, predators, and aggressors.
In between, skewed feminist statistics are offered to support this anti-male
The inappropriateness of some of the venues. The play will be performed at
Amherst-Pelham Regional High School in Massachusetts. On his Jan. 14 show,
Fox News Channel's 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
and, yet, routinely suppress other viewpoints. 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,
The activities funded by profits from the play. Eve Ensler waives profits
from Valentine's Day performances if the proceeds go agencies that aid women.
Thus, a small New Hampshire theater 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 super-saturation 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 "The Vagina Monologues" 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.
Wendy McElroy is the editor of ifeminists.com
and a research fellow for The Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif. Her
new book is Liberty for Women: Freedom and Feminism in the 21st Century.
Reprinted with permission of ifeminists.com.