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Monologues’ antithetical to women’s liberation

Observer Viewpoint | Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I will admit that prior to a few days before writing this, I had not actually read any of “The Vagina Monologues.” Instead, I relied what others told me to shape my understanding of the issue. Last Tuesday, I finally read part of the script – never, in my entire life, have I felt as degraded as I did that night.

The word “liberation” needs to be reclaimed. There is nothing liberating about being reduced from a woman with a soul and body – with the ability to reason and create, the ability to nurture and love – to a body, much less a singular body part. To have all the expansive qualities of a woman and to choose to subject them to the sensation of a single body part is not liberation, but a soul-killing and anti-feminine form of slavery.

Further, not only is it soul-killing to the person who identifies her liberation in that way, but it does not challenge young men to treat women in accord with authentic femininity. If women are willing to be identified with their vagina, to in fact celebrate their womanhood in light of their sexual organ, men get every impression that they too should celebrate in that facet of womanhood alone – which frees them from having to love the whole woman.

Face it: A body part is much easier to love than a person. If men learn to love only a piece of a woman, then it is not hard to deal her spiritual, emotional and even physical violence.

What I propose is that we stop the violence against women and liberate them by promoting authentic femininity – a femininity that properly integrates body, mind and soul; a femininity that is personal; a femininity that was much cherished by the late Pope John Paul II.

Concurrently, we must promote an authentic masculinity. Sexuality is not the act alone, but the very reality of being male or female. A number of groups on campus promote this authentic treatment of sexuality: ND Right to Life has a dinner study group on theology of the body, and the Edith Stein Conference addresses femininity every year (this year coinciding with “The Vagina Monologues”).

We need a dialogue approached in the proper light: a medium that demonstrates correct views and espouses the Truth. Any play that portrays sexuality and femininity in such an enslaved state is not worth any woman or man’s time – or soul.

Kim Stoddard


McGlinn Hall

Feb. 18