Moving away from the heart

I almost didn’t go. I fought against it — for years actually.

Re: Vagina Monologues

I almost didn’t go. I fought against it — for years actually. The title put me off, to begin with. It annoyed me — like a little child using swear words or dirty words, for shock value — a way to get attention. Well, I guess that worked. And besides, if I never went, how could I know whether I liked it or not — how could I not like something I knew nothing about? I might be surprised!

I wasn’t.

Somehow, something so intimate, so (potentially) beautiful, and necessary, (true), and a real part of a meaningful and enduring relationship, was turned into a joke — a vulgar, commonplace, group activity comic routine. I came away feeling sullied, a little dirty, saddened, and very, very, worried.

We — women — have been trying for decades to be taken seriously, equals as candidates for leadership roles in politics, in business corporations, in government positions, as teachers and (God help us!) parents. But as I looked around The Old Church Hall, packed full both nights (May 8 and 9) with mostly youngish, (thirtyish to sixty-fiveish, some more, some less-relatively healthy, vibrant, passionate women, very few men with little, if anything, to say) all these women moaning and swaying with simulated ecstasy, shouting with raised arm, forefinger extended (reminiscent of Hitler’s Nazi youth shouting “Zeig Heil! Zeig Heil!) the most foul word used to indicate the part of a woman’s anatomy, which is in the name of this dialogue. (I cannot bring myself to even write it!) These are our future role models, wanting to take leadership roles in government, lead our corporations, be our ambassadors to other countries, our teachers, our, (again, my appeal to God!) parents?!

Interestingly enough, the brain was never mentioned once. The heart was — once — and then as an emotional centre. In fact, there was a distinct lack of knowledge about the function and location of two or three parts of the female anatomy. The entire two-plus hours was devoted to the part of the body above the knees and below the umbilicus!

If anything has been needed to put a cap on feminism and all they have been trying to achieve, this performance would be it. The only thing that seemed important, indeed even needed by women was the achievement of sexual satisfaction by any means. Surely, wonderful, exciting and even necessary as it is, there has to be some kind of balance. Nature demands it in everything  she does. Without it, nothing can be or will be sustainable.

I almost decided not to claim ownership of this letter, thinking perhaps it would embarrass my children (it won’t) or my friends (maybe) or their friends and maybe many others (I may never know) and then my “Popeye” nature asserted itself. I “yam what I yam!” said Popeye the Sailor Man. And that is certainly true about me — I am what I am. And this is how I feel about this performance. Is this what we as women have been reduced to? Is this as far as have come in our fight  to be recognized as equals and serious contenders for leadership roles in the future?

And that is, dear readers, if there be any, I am saddened and very, very worried.

Mary Mortimer


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