Why talk about this now?
It is incredibly easy for both Men and Women to become incredibly defensive about the some of the themes and intense descriptions of sexuality (both violent and intimate) in the Vagina Monologues or when then discussion comes up in daily life. Resist the initial urge to defend yourself and others (which often happens when students begin to learn about this material for the first time). There is no need to jump the conclusions of “Not all men are like that”, “I have never seen a man act that way”, “My husband would never do that”, “It’s not fair to bash ALL men”, “I think this idea of ‘Rape Culture’ is a myth”. (all of these are responses I have gotten in the past).
This kind of blanket defense for all acts of sexual violence and oppression leads to rampant indifference and has created an illusion of immunity for those in power to abuse those who are not. Look no further then the trial of Harvey Weinstein, the initial accusations kicking of the #metoo movement. There is a safety and comfort in ignoring these topics that allows the “indifference of good men” to further the oppression of others (in this case, Women in general).
I as re-write and edit this course I cannot ignore the current events happening in the news today. The testimony from the Harvey Weinstein trial is on the front page of many news outlets and it’s contents directly relate to this course and the work begun by Eve Ensler many years ago. The following is from the Chicago Tribune by way of the Associated Press, Jan 31st, 2020:
Harvey Weinstein accuser testifies that he raped her twice, once yelling ‘You owe me!’
“The first time, the heavyset Hollywood tycoon trapped her in a New York hotel room in March 2013, angrily ordered her to undress as he loomed over her, and then raped her, she told jurors.
Still, she kept in touch, sending him flattering emails, because “his ego was so fragile,” she said, and it “made me feel safe, worshipping him in this sense. … I wanted to be perceived as innocent and naive.”
Then, eight months later at a Los Angeles hotel where she worked as a hairdresser, she told Weinstein that she was dating an actor, she said.“You owe me one more time!” he screamed, she told jurors. She said she begged him not to take off her clothes, but he said, “I don’t have time for games”
https://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-ent-harvey-weinstein-trial-20200131-3dgfpq5ih5en3kihzbtzqfjjza-story.html (Links to an external site.)
Click the play icon on the video below or on the link below entitled “the Vagina Monologues” to watch The Vagina Monologues.
You will then be responding and answering the prompts that follow.
1) What is your opinion about Ensler’s performance of the Vagina Monologues? What do you feel she is successful at? (Give Specifics!) Do you feel any of the controversies listed previously have weight or are they missing the point entirely? Relate this play to the current climate of 2020, what do you think works and relates? Is there anything that you feel needs updating?
2 Paragraph min.
2) Have any of your opinions or preconceived notions about this Play (or dare I say Vaginas) changed? What are some of the subjects of the piece that challenge or offend you? why or why not? (if Not, then what are they, and how were they reinforced).
2 Paragraphs min
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