Tuesday, February 13, 2007

 

The Vagina Monologues.. and an unexpected perspective.

In celebration of a job well done on the Vagina Monologues by the 2007 cast here at Tufts, I thought this was an interesting viewpoint on the show. A play which faces criticism (sometimes not undue) from feminists, conservatives, and religious movements alike, Eve Ensler's work has found an unlikely champion in the world of Catholicism (picked up by Andrew Sullivan of The Atlantic). Catholic colleges and universities have had an overwhelming and well-organized negative response to the monologues since they began to creep onto religious campuses, but a nun writing under the pseudonym of Sister Mary Eve (a great reference in and of itself to the dichotomy Adrienne Rich calls the mother vs. whore dichotomy, and which Sr. Mary Eve herself mentions) wonders "I wonder if the fully-cassocked seminarians who often participate in these protests understand the pain that many women carry because their sexuality is often denigrated, abused, and defiled? Do they have any sense of the experiences of women that brought the Monologues into existence?....The polarization of the sexes that is so deeply imbedded in Catholic thought needs to be reassessed." She goes on to analyze how christianity could teach women to love and treasure their bodies, but has instead been used to alienate women from them. Sr. Mary Eve, her bio on the page bearing the full text of the article says, is not a member of some new age feminist order of nuns-- she is a member of an order of nuns known for their traditional practices and lifestyle.

If she didn't need to write this article under a pseudonym, I would say this is wonderful proof that faith and feminism don't have to conflict. But kudos, Sr. Mary Eve.

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