Thursday, March 02, 2006

More on “Vagina Monologues”

In the latest issue of The Warrior, a pro-con debate on “The Vagina Monologues,” with Josette Goff writing in favor of the play, and concluding:
In truth, the discussion of sex and sexuality in the Monologues is explicit. However, it is not exploitative; it is meant to give voice to the true life experiences of many women. It may make some people uncomfortable due to the frankness of the dialogue, but discomfort is a poor excuse when this issue has far-reaching effects for members of our world. Ensler says, “In order for the human race to continue, women must be safe and empowered,” and it is impossible to imagine the Catholic Church contesting such a humane and righteous aim.
But the issue is, is that really the aim? Or is the aim to encourage women to engage in sexual activity that the Catholic Church (and Christians generally), consider immoral.

Or is the aim to portray women as perpetual victims, and to demonize men?

Annie Nolan views the play differently:
Drunken pedophilia, adulterous rape, encouragement of masturbation and lesbian seduction are a few of the repulsively tasteless acts performed in the play, The Vagina Monologues, written by Eve Ensler. This performance has no place on the campus of a Catholic institution whose mission is to promote the teachings of Christ as passed on through tradition and scripture. The Marquette Administration should be applauded for banning this performance from campus.

The university mission explains that our Catholic identity is “expressed in our . . . sponsorship of programs and activities devoted to the cultivation of our religious character . . . and our support of Catholic beliefs and values.”

As such, Marquette should encourage moral behavior in accord with Catholic teaching. More specifically, Marquette should teach the dignified sexuality of a woman partnered with her husband. As an internationally acclaimed model of Christ, this Catholic institution should not, under any circumstance, be endorsing promiscuous sexual activity, as the Monologues do.

It is only fair to note that one intention of the play is to raise awareness about sexual violence toward women. However, this goal is executed in an inappropriate and ineffective manner that is lacking a clear and defined mission. For one example among many, the act of an adult woman molesting a young girl is not a fitting way to end sexual violence toward women.
Our view is that, so long as Marquette views any speaker or performance on campus as having been endorsed by the University, “Vagina Monologues” should not be allowed.

If the University could find some way of backing away from this position, we see no reason why speakers and presentations contrary to Catholic teaching should not be allowed.

In the best of all possible worlds, we would like to see “Vagina Monologues” performed on campus, with the performance followed by a panel of people who would analyze it from a perspective loyal to Catholic teaching.

But in fact, people appear to be divided between (on the one hand) people who don’t want it performed at all, and (on the other hand) people who wouldn’t like it critically analyzed.

Raynor Library has a copy of the original Broadway version on tape, which anybody can check out and view if they wish.

But be warned that the play is constantly being changed by the author (feminist Eve Ensler), so the tape version is not the same as would be performed now at Marquette (or anywhere else).


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