The Vagina Monologues made me too angry to speak
. It wasn't just that it was trite. It wasn't that it sounded like a sexually explicit Oprah
special. It wasn't the audience's nervous giggles and self conscious cheering
What pissed me off were the unending references to fucking flowers.
I sat there in my seat, surrounded by Young Dykes in Need of Personal Affirmation and college girls in the grip of intellectual rebellion clutching their boyfriends, and I could have sworn they were all hooting at a Summer's Eve commercial. "My vagina would wear pearls"? What is this shit?
I am not angry with Eve Ensler. Well, not very angry. She, as the editor of this play, certainly had it within her power to try and change the way women see their vaginas, rather than getting them to shout the same tired cliches and leave with the same worn out notions of what their vaginas are or should be. Mostly I am angry with supposed feminists, with the women who are supposed to lead or accompany us on the hour and a half long journey into self discovery.
My god, you people! A vagina is an organ. The only thing that makes it different from lungs, or a kidney, or any other piece of human anatomy, is that its purpose is sexual. It is most certainly not a pretty flower. Nor should it be. It is not a little person who can be dressed up. Don't we routinely laugh at men who anthropomorphize their genitalia? Why on earth should we decide to do the same with ours?
I admit there were powerful pieces in the play, particularly the story of a Bosnian woman's rape, which was brutal to hear. But to juxtapose a monologue like that against the reinforcement of the idea that a vagina cannot simply be a vagina cheapens everything to do with the play.
As I was walking out of the theater several acts early, the actress on stage was talking about douching. I turned back to listen. "It's supposed to smell like pussy!" she exclaimed. And then she went on to talk about the diamonds it wanted to wear.