Friday, March 2, 2007

V 'logues revisited

On Valentine's Day last month, I posted three items related to women. The second of these three, entitled Valentine's Day and Women, part deux, about Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues. As it turns out, the article I highlighted in that post, Remembering V-Day: A young nun defends The Vagina Monologues, was the most read article in the history of the Paulist website, Busted Halo. Subsequently, it prompted a lot of responses and commentarty, a selection of which you can read in an article on Busted Halo, entitled In Response to Remembering V-Day: Our readers sound off on the defense of The Vagina Monologues...Sr. Mary Eve responds. One sample of the reactions sparked by the initial article, was written by one Annette Cwik, and goes as follows:

"you must think everyone but you is stupid, the v logs include a rape scene by a lesbo of a thirteen year old girl among other things. the things mentioned in your article are not the items that keep this vulgar dispiriting play out of catholic colleges. it is the things you do not mention. also—no one i repeat no one knows how Jesus' birth went because Mary didn't tell anyone who recorded it."

To which "Sr. Mary Eve" replies:

"Ms. Cwik and several other people used the term 'rape' when describing this scene of a sixteen-year-old girl (not thirteen as you stated) who is initiated into the world of lesbian sex by a twenty-four-year-old woman. If we equated this scene to a heterosexual couple, yes, it may be called 'statutory rape.' However, what I find amazing is that all of you who brought this scene up failed to mention that this same sixteen-year-old girl was raped by her father’s best friend when she was ten years old. This particular monologue was the experience of one woman at various ages—in other words, there is a context to the lesbian sex scene which is necessary in understanding this woman’s experience.

"If we only use a moral lens by which to judge this scene, then all we can see is sin. I am reminded of Jesus with the adulterous woman. Let those of us who have no sin cast a stone at this woman. If we cast stones with our words and with our judgment, we will not provide an atmosphere in which such women can hear about the love, healing and restoration that we as a Christian community are called to hold out to them so that they may be able to go and sin no more.

"May I remind you that what you call a 'lesbo' is a human being who is infinitely loved and cherished by God, who has been tremendously abused and hurt by those around her and who, unfortunately, found sexual acceptance for the first time in the arms of a twenty-four-year-old woman.

"I want to make it clear that I do not condone such an initiation as healthy. However, this actual story is probably more the norm, than the exception. This is why so many women, including women on Catholic campuses, resonate with this and other stories contained in The Vagina Monologues. Art is a reflection of reality, not moral orthodoxy, and thus provides a safe place within which to process our own experiences.

"Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues has successfully created such an environment because, like it or not, it reflects the real-life experiences of many, many women. Art is intended to reach a specific audience. In the case of The Vagina Monologues, the audience needs to have reached a certain maturity in order to process the content. Therefore, the Monologues would be inappropriate viewing or reading material for children who have not yet reached the age of majority or have not matured sufficiently so as to engage the material in a healthy manner."

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