Saturday, February 11, 2006
I'll always been a bit hesitant to embrace Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues. Sure, the play is funny and witty and sadly applicable to the current state of affairs. Yet there was always something a little too essentialist about celebrating the cunt and something a little too potentially imperialistic about claiming to speak for oppression of women in Afghanistan and Africa. My penchant for cultural relativism always took precedent.
But last night I went to see Yale's production and the monologue about comfort women and the Japanese government's refusal to acknowledge made me weep. Women are constantly denied visibility about our achievements and about the violence we endure. The silencing of comfort women during World War II is enacted by the same mechanisms which silence Yale women (and men) who have been sexually assaulted and harrassed and violated on this campus - who have been denied the right to protection and support because of social stigma and the administration's refusal to take a more proactive stance. The truth is, as Jean Beaudrillard writes, we are all victims. We are all complicit in the oppression of others but we are all also, in various ways, oppressed. Women and men, here and abroad, are all victims of partiarchy.
On a lighter note, bravo to the women who performed the Vagina Monologues here at Yale. It must take an impressive sense of self to take that kind of risk to be so honest and so real, to share stories about violence, about pleasure, about shame, about sexuality, about orgasms in such a hostile space. We thank you.
Posted by Maggie at Saturday, February 11, 2006