Friday, February 27, 2004

USVI: What does your vagina smell like, as a response to rape

The Virgin Islands is in the center of an epidemic of violence against women and children. Little substantive commitment is made to fighting the epidemic, while lip service is paid in a superficial and minimalist manner. One might speculate that, like several other nations that use rape and violence against women and children to teach females "their place" in the society, and subjugate them lest they seek to move out of that place, the root causes of this epidemic are worthy of serious examination.
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Attendance at The Vagina Monologues should be requisite for every person with a vagina. We know, or should know, what is happening around us.

Attendance at The Vagina Monologues should be requisite for every person without a vagina, in order that they learn, or at least open themselves to learning, about the experience of being targeted by nature of their gender.

Growth is an essential part of the process of life. When we stop growing we are dead, or might as well be. The Vagina Monologues provide an opportunity to continue our personal growth in a manner that is enjoyable, important and substantive.

Precision is a wonderful thing; so it would have been wonderful had Iris Kern indicated which nations, apart from Islamic ones, use "rape and violence against women and children to teach females 'their place' in the society, and subjugate them lest they seek to move out of that place." But, she does not. Instead, her article would tar all the males of western civilization as rapist and anti-female brutes.

Here is Camille Paglia's take on The Vagina Monologues:
That feminism is not yet out of the woods, despite the triumph in the 1990s of the pro-sex wing to which Ibelong, is shown by the garish visibility of Eve Ensler and her "Vagina Monologues," which have apparently spawned copycat cells on many campuses. (The students and faculty at my urban arts college are far too busy and sensible for this kind of thing.) With her obsession with male evil and her claimed history of physical abuse and mental breakdowns, Ensler is the new Andrea Dworkin, minus Medusan hair and rumpled farm overalls. Wasn't one Dworkin quite enough?

The perversion of feminism that Ensler represents -- turning Valentine's Day, the one holiday celebrating romantic harmony between the sexes, into a grisly memento mori of violence against women -- has been well demonstrated by the ever-alert Christina Hoff Sommers, who gave early warning in her Feb. 11 article in the Wall Street Journal last year (as well as in her campus lectures, media appearances and an article in the Feb. 8 USA Today). That the psychological poison of Ensler's archaic creed of victimization is being spread toimpressionable women students is positively criminal.

The buffoonish hooting and hollering incited by Ensler's supposedly naughty play is really the hysterical desperation of aging women who have never come to terms with the cruel realities of nature and who cannot face the humiliating fact that, despite their accomplishments, they will always be culturally swept away by the young and beautiful. That in the year 2001 the group chanting of crude four-letter words for female genitalia is viewed as some sort of radical liberation implies that the real issue in the "Vagina Monologues" isn't male oppression but bourgeois repression -- the malady of the dainty, decorous professional class that was created in the first century after the Industrial Revolution.

Today's upper-middle-class Western women, with their efficient, schematized lives, are so removed fromelemental mysteries that they are naively susceptible to feverish charlatans and cultists like Ensler, who encourages the delusion that they are in full control of their reproductive system and that everything negative or ambivalent about it has been imposed by the prejudice of misogynous males.

False illusions of control are no way to address crime. Teaching women to speak in crude Anglo-Saxon might sound "empowering" but means nothing when confronted with rape and the psychological impact of it. In advocating the viewing of The Vagina Monologues, Kern is essentially declaring that the answer to rape is hatred for men and the total dissolution of intimate sensibility. How can simulating orgasm on stage serve to fight against rape?

The practical solution to the problem of rape and abuse of women in the USVI, and everywhere, is for the justice system to investigate and vigorously prosecute the offenders, and to insist that the society civilize its males into acceptable social behavior (See Christina Hoff Somers's Bird's Eye, published in American Enterprise Online. The essay is no longer availabe online). Recommending that society look at the "root causes" of rape, is another way of stating that violence against women can be explained away with reference to the individual's life history; it's pass the buck back to daddy and I have no responsibility for my own actions.

A crime problem should not be addressed with navel gazing, or, in this case, vagina gazing. That attitude leaves the society exactly where Kern does not want it to be, with increases in rapes and anti-female violence.

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