Graduates express support for Monologues
In recent commentary, "The Vagina Monologues" has been termed blunt, vulgar, simply too disgusting for words. The unspoken accusation seems to be that it is pornography, rather than art.
A feminist definition of pornography articulates the role of "view" in pornography. The viewer, the producer of the scene, has the direct gaze, while the object does not look directly back, is not allowed to form a connection.
"The Vagina Monologues" is about allowing women to look back. In the person of the actors, these women who have told their stories to Eve Ensler are finally able to stand on stage and gaze directly back at their listeners, who return the gaze and open up communication. This play, direct and blunt as it may be, is also a complex and beautiful celebration of life.
It's been said that "The Monologues" are shocking. I agree. Hearing the brutal rape of Bosnian women by soldiers is shocking. Hearing facts about genital mutilation, still ritually and regularly practiced, is shocking. Viewing and hearing this horrific loss of life is shocking.
Hearing women who enjoy sex is not shocking. Witnessing and sharing in the beautiful birth of a child is not shocking. Using the word vagina, from which comes all life, is not shocking.
"The Vagina Monologues" is from, by and about women. It is a long-awaited forum for some and a celebration for all.
Notre Dame class of '00
January 28, 2001
All Viewpoint Stories for Wednesday, January 31, 2001