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Play doesn’t protect women

| Sunday, January 30, 2005

Violence against women, like many things in our world, is something that not only contributes to the breakdown of society, it also is just sad. As is our Catholic mission here at Notre Dame, we must reach out and protect all in society who are defenseless – battered women, victims of abortion, the poor and the list goes on.

However, I think those involved with the Vagina Monologues fail in this mission. I was absolutely appalled at the nature of Karla Bell and Molly Savage’s letter on Jan. 27. How does this production help stop women’s violence? If anything, it makes a woman’s anatomy into something to be joked about, dishonored and trivialized. I believe this type of activity would promote violence against women more than protect against it. Why do people in the world mutilate these women and their bodies? The answer is that the women are seen as lesser, as not worth dignity and respect.

Trust me, ladies, by talking about your God-given bodies in such a vulgar way, you do not promote dignity for yourselves – you destroy it.

During early World War II, the Nazis would execute individuals by shooting them with guns into a pit of bodies. However, they later changed methods. Not only were bullets becoming too costly, but the executioners were having trouble killing so many people, especially ones who spoke German. This was because the Nazis saw the people they were killing almost as equals. To hurt someone, a person must see the other as inferior. Otherwise, the task becomes more difficult.

The same applies to this case. Women who are abused, raped, prostituted and murdered are seen as less than human beings by their victimizers. We ought to promote things that go against this trend, not support it.

Even if some aspects of this production really do aim at goals of stopping violence, one cannot ignore the glaring ways in which this message is brought across. The body of a woman is sacred, and we should treat it that way, not only in our actions but also in our words.

Dan Allen


O’Neill Hall

Jan. 29