Cootchie coochie coo
Redneck Feminist gets going on her new blog with a link to a hiliarious account by Kerry Howley at Reason about the anti-feminist right's favorite new party trick--beating a straw victim.
Meet the put-upon conservative coed, the prototype pushed by conservative feminists to demonstrate liberal bias on college campuses. We'll call her Claire. Claire doesn't want any part of this vulgar spectacle known as The Vagina Monologues, but her Feminine Mystique-touting, Germaine Greer-quoting friends are tying her to a chair and making her watch. She desperately wants to be chaste, but condom-peddling feminists are driving her to her knees at the frathouse next door. She really just wants to be a mom, but her mentors in the gender studies department say that's just not acceptable.
The article starts off with a bang but then devolves into the same complaining that modern feminists are obsessed with victims and helping them. While there's no doubt we would be a lot more fun if we didn't point out how male dominance creates real victims of rape and violence, I'm afraid that creating pleasant tea party fodder isn't really the point of feminism, so there's not a whole lot I can say to assuage the ignore-the-victim-makes-her-go-away crowd. Then again, my brand of fun is a hell of a lot more fun than the IWF's suggested brand of fun, I'm sure. Then again, I've never fully explored the charms of keeping a hope chest and thinking up names for the half dozen moppets I plan to start bearing at 22 (oops, missed out on that one), so I can't know for sure.
One thing that's a lot of fun is The Vagina Monologues, as Redneck Feminist finds out in her story. I know--hard to believe. The anti-feminist spin on the play is such that one does walk into it trembling with fear that it's going to be a tedious two hour ordeal of listening to moony hippies doing chants to the origin of the world or something like that. But it's just a serious of stories from real women about their experiences with their bodies and sex and because of that, it's really funny at parts. And that is exactly what is so empowering about the play--it reveals to women that it's perfectly fine to regard our genitals with the same warm affection and good humor that men have towards theirs.
So this is why I have to disagree with Howley, who argues that the play shouldn't be a cause of concern to anti-feminists. The humor and affection in the play is extremely effective in normalizing women's genitals to members of the audience who were brought up in properly anti-feminist enviroments and therefore feel ashamed to even have a vagina, much less the entire vulva area. (I cannot tell you what a relief it was to find out the fish thing was a myth after an adolescence of being afraid that I had a stink to me that I couldn't even perceive.) The play confronts fear with its mortal enemy humor, and that's why it's so threatening.
Of course, anti-feminists can't just come out and admit that keeping women fearful of their own bodies is a necessary component of the proper gender roles they promote (pretty much admitting that a woman's place is anything but roses and affectionate pats on the ass from a loving husband that leave you walking on clouds is verboten), so they have no choice but to lie and build up outrageous fears that you walk into the play a normal, man-loving, cunt-fearing woman and emerge smelling of patchouli and carrying your castrating knife. How else are they going to sell their anti-Vagina campaign? "This play is one more thing that will help convince your daughter that she too can feel good about her body?"