Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Revised: Gender Perspective: Vagina Monologues

Since this blog post. The Vagina Monologues have had a direct connection to me in Austin. Actually, everyone within the St. Edwards student body has been connected because St. Edwards Student Life was able to bring a presentation to our campus with students from our congregation participating. Since we do attend a catholic school, there were some issues on whether the Vagina Monologue presentation would be inappropriate or ineffective because of the irrelvancy. Luckily for us as members of St. Edwards, the catholic university allowed it, and offered opportunities to students to engage in the performance. The Dean for the school of Humanities was quoted in the Hilltop Views as saying, "A number of Catholic universities have not performed it in any official way because it ‘objectifies' a body part,". For me, the experience was well received and not only individually, but as a community. Change does not occur by one person focusing on one idea. Change occurs by people grouping and forming gatherings to relay ideas and propositions to alter a policy or social norm. The Vagina Monologues has done an excellent job of doing just that.
Back in 2007 I was able to watch a performance of the Vagina Monologues in Austin, TX. The performance was located at a venue outside called The Enchanted Forest. Typical shows included independent, amateur events such as fire dancing, interpretive theatre and music artist (DJ and performance). At the time, I had never heard or seen the Vagina Monologues. After hearing the title, I thought of it as a play in which women were the focus. As a male, I had no idea what to expect, and that gave the monologues more influence in leaving a long standing impression on my thoughts and future actions.
After the first couple minutes, the audience was in a trance. There was a huge turnout to watch the performances, more than 500 people. I had never heard such a graphic account of women's experiences, ecspecially of sexual molestation and harassment. It was shocking because of how our culture teaches us at an early age not to talk about denotations and connotations of vaginas. Not until this semester, 2011, when I watched the movie "VDay: Until the Violence Stops" did I understand the significance. Eve Ensler, the leader behind raising and gaining awareness for women and their experiences, made some excellent points about the "culture of silence" and by advocating for silence, one in a sense is advocating for the oppressive facets that are horrendous and unacceptable. Her emphasis is for our culture, the global culture of women and men, to not shun and silent experiences. Even if those experiences may be negative. Because the underlying issue that needs to be addressed is for females to have the opportunity and confidence to relay their experiences, to develop off those experiences; but in large that whatever experience it is, it is the same significance and same importance and same influence as any male experience. Women should be encouraged to live through their experiences, therefore evening the plane between gender expectations.


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