The Vagina Monologues at the Brooklyn Museum on March 17

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Guysanto
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The Vagina Monologues at the Brooklyn Museum on March 17

Post by Guysanto » Fri Feb 09, 2007 12:14 pm

Dwa Fanm presents:
THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES

The Brooklyn Museum-
Saturday, March 17, 2007 8PM SHOW
Additional V-Day performance live in Haiti, April 3, 2007.

MASTER OF CEREMONY: Rosemonde Pierre Louis, Manhattan Deputy Borough President.

PERFORMANCES: Emeline Michel (VIP Champagne Reception Only @ 6:30PM)
Adia Whitaker and Ase Dance Theatre Collective; Nadia Dieudonne and Feets of Rhythm Dance Co. and Goosy Celestin.

ACTORS: Edwidge Danticat; Jocelyne Gay; Berlotte Israel; Linda Powell; Michele Marcelin; Malie Hall; Carmen De Lavallade;

V-DAY: (Vagina Monogues) Worldwide Organizer: Nancy Herard.

SPONSORS: The New York Women's Foundation; Independence Community Foundation; Domaine Select Wine Estates.

BUY TICKETS NOW ONLINE: www.dwafanm.org or call 718-230-4027
FOR INFO: http://www.dwafanm.org/home.html OR www.vday.org

Tidodo
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Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 9:07 am

Post by Tidodo » Fri Feb 09, 2007 1:10 pm

Guy,

I don't know if this is going to be the French/Kreyol version, since the title is the original English "Vagina Monologue." But, I saw in Miami, last year, the French/Kreyol version directed by Tanya Guerin (I may have forgotten her first name) called "Pawòl Chat La". If this one is as good as the French/Kreyol version of Guerin, it is a must-see. Not only it was very entertaining, it was witty and well adapted to Kreyol and French. The actors were superb and they represented young Haitians, among them some who were living in Haiti, from what I understood.

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Guysanto
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Post by Guysanto » Fri Feb 09, 2007 2:20 pm

Tidodo, it is in English and I am sure that it will be even better than what you saw. So reserve your flight and get your tickets today.

I may even pick them up for you if you like.


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A Young Nun Defends "The Vagina Monologues"

Post by Guysanto » Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:13 pm

A Young Nun Defends "The Vagina Monologues"
By Sr. Mary Eve
t r u t h o u t | Guest Contributor

Wednesday 14 February 2007

It was Christmas 2004 and I was opening a gift from a friend of mine. We had met in an undergraduate psychology class a few years earlier - she, the professor, I, the student. Our lives are as different as night from day. She is an unchurched, thirty-something, feminist college professor. I am a "professional" Catholic who "wears my religion on my sleeve;" that is, for almost twenty years I have been a happily professed member of a traditional community of women religious whose members still wear habits, live in community and carry out the same mission. My friend's gift? "The Vagina Monologues."

Through the years, we had discussed lots of things - sexual issues among them. I had never dreamed of owning a copy of the Monologues, but I accepted the gift as her way of sharing with me something that she was obviously able to identify with. I have to admit that Eve Ensler's provocative play was not on the top of my reading list, but with the controversy that continues to accompany performances of it on Catholic campuses, I decided to finally read it for myself.

What I discovered was how much I too was able to relate to it as a woman. Unfortunately, rather than valuing the Monologues as a presentation of women's understanding of their bodies, some members of the Church have taken a morally defensive stance. I am afraid that this narrow understanding is also the way many members of my own community would approach the play. Any public discourse on the matter would be highly unapproved of. That anyone in our order would own a copy of it, relate to it or even welcome the experiences and insight of the women contained in "The Vagina Monologues" would be deemed improper for someone who has taken a vow of chastity. Therefore, because of my community affiliation, I need to remain anonymous.

The First V-Day

In a sense, the vagina made its pop culture debut through "The Vagina Monologues" on February 14, 1998 - the first V-Day - with a performance in New York City. The show - it's actually a collection of vignettes contributed by various women and organized by Ensler - includes comic topics such as: What your vagina would wear if it could get dressed; what your vagina would say if it could talk; biological topics such as menstruation, childbirth and orgasm; horrific topics such as rape; and topics that the institutional Church has a problem with, such as masturbation and lesbian sex.

Since that first show, the Monologues have been performed at hundreds of colleges and other venues. All proceeds from these performances go to local groups working to stop violence against women - the raison d'être of V-Day - as Ensler so eloquently explained in her introduction to the 2003 edition:

"Slowly, it dawned on me that nothing was more important than stopping violence toward women - that the desecration of women indicated the failure of human beings to honor and protect life and that this failing would, if we did not correct it, be the end of us all. I do not think I am being extreme. When you rape, beat, maim, mutilate, burn, bury, and terrorize women, you destroy the essential life energy on the planet. You force what is meant to be open, trusting, nurturing, creative, and alive to be bent, infertile, and broken.

"For the first time, women have a public forum in which to process their experience in a mature way. So, I am left with the question: Why has 'The Vagina Monologues' been protested by a vocal minority of Catholics when it has been offered on Catholic campuses?"

Lost in Translation

If the vagina's pop culture debut came in the late '90s, it seems to me that its male sexual counterpart had center stage all to itself for quite a long while. Having grown up with several brothers, I practically needed a penis dictionary to translate the endless double entendres that poured out of them at such a rapid rate. At first I remember being grossed out. But then I gradually began to realize that that was their way of processing that part of their reality. They could talk about it and joke about it just like anything else. There's something very healthy about that.

I, however, was not afforded the same luxury. My girlfriends and I generally didn't talk about what our vaginas felt like, what it felt like to have our period, etc. Perhaps because our experience is a lot more internal than external, hidden even on a physical level, it remained an issue that we kept to ourselves. And when we did try to talk about it, we learned that it was just not appropriate for women to discuss the functions of their reproductive system. This tendency is extremely detrimental to girls and women because it leads to keeping anything connected with our vaginas a secret - sexual abuse being the best-kept secret among them.

"The Vagina Monologues" instead celebrates the beauty of the vagina, in direct contrast to the message that women have often had to internalize - that it is dirty and not to be touched. For the first time, women have a public forum in which to process their experience in a mature way. So, I am left with the question: Why has "The Vagina Monologues" - which isn't intended to be sexually arousing or gratuitously vulgar - been protested by a vocal minority of Catholics when it has been offered on Catholic campuses? 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?

Sadly, the Church will be unable to engage in a similar dialogue with those who perform, find meaning in, and relate to "The Vagina Monologues" until it comes to terms at the experiential level with the sacredness of each and every part of the male and female body. The polarization of the sexes that is so deeply imbedded in Catholic thought needs to be reassessed. Perhaps the most damaging has been the characterization of women as either "virgin" or "whore," epitomized in the Church's ongoing comparison of Eve and Mary. Throughout the centuries, women have been continually reminded that they are intrinsically a cause of sin and ruin for men, just as Eve was the cause of Adam's ruin, and therefore the human race. The Virgin Mary, on the other hand, is presented as the New Eve, whose cooperation with the Blessed Trinity in our redemption completely reversed the effects of Eve's choice.

A Childish Notion

To compound that problem even further, many theologians have taught that Mary's virginity not only applies to Jesus's conception, but also to His birth. In other words, some still cling to a belief that Mary did not deliver Jesus vaginally as every other mother delivers a baby, and that her hymen remained intact. Though not a dogmatic or official teaching - as is the virginal conception of Jesus - this childish notion has embedded itself into Catholic imagination and theology and continues to have an impact today. An early written source for this belief is a second-century text, which the Church never accepted as authentic, called "The Protoevangelium of James." In this text, the tale is told that as Joseph is returning with a midwife to Mary, they together witness a miraculous birth. The midwife has to ensure for posterity's sake that Mary has indeed not delivered the baby vaginally, so, much as Thomas did to Jesus's wounds, she examines Mary to make sure that her hymen was intact.

So Mary's womb was worthy to carry the Son of God, but her vagina couldn't be the path that brought him to birth? Somehow the Son of God was not born the way that He Himself had ordained human beings to be born? If a woman's vagina is penetrated by anything, including a baby, she loses her virginity?

This idea might be laughable today were it not still being taught. A friend of mine who is pursuing a master's degree in theology at a seminary in the United States was incensed a few months ago to hear her theology professor reiterating this teaching. I had a similar experience when a monsignor smugly remarked to me that the recently released film "The Nativity" did not show a "Virgin birth." Scripture, on the other hand, does not even hint at an unnatural or miraculous birth. Rather, according to Scripture scholar Raymond Brown, the very phrase that Luke used in Luke 2:23 - "Every male child who opens the womb" - suggests a normal birth.

"Can we fully accept the fact that Jesus was human in every way that we are and that this included the fact that he experienced a birth just like we do? This alone would give women the message that every part of her is sacred, most especially those parts of her body that actively participate in God's creative plan."

Model

Since the Virgin Mary is the model of virginity, this teaching has also had a detrimental effect in the understanding of virginity for women religious. The teaching that Mary's virginity included the fact that absolutely nothing penetrated her vagina, not even the Son of God, meant that in order for women religious to preserve their virginity, nothing could penetrate their vagina - no tampons, no device to deliver medication to kill a vaginal yeast infection, no gynecological examinations. To this day, there are some older sisters who refuse to have pap smears because they truly believe that they would lose their virginity. This conception of virginity fosters an unhealthy attitude that encourages women to alienate themselves from their own bodies.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to present Mary as a model to women who fully experienced the blessing of motherhood? Can we fully accept the fact that Jesus was human in every way that we are, as the book of Hebrews tells us, and that this included the fact that he experienced a birth just like we do? This alone would give women the message that every part of her is sacred, most especially those parts of her body that actively participate in God's creative plan, because not only were they created by God, who proclaimed that everything He made was good, but that God Himself touched them intimately.

Dialogue

I wish our model for encountering this controversy were more in line with Jesus's encounter at the well in the Gospel of John. When a "promiscuous" Samaritan woman approaches Him, what does Jesus do? Without any props to emphasize His divinity, He dialogues with her, asks her questions, touches her most delicate and painful reality - her sex life. Something about how Jesus addresses her deeply touches her. His demeanor communicates profound respect for everything about her. Women who have been used by men are sensitive in picking up the most subtle cues aimed at them, but Jesus's cue so thoroughly transforms her into an apostle that she goes back to her hometown and tells everyone about the new man in her life! She's so convincing that they all welcome Jesus as their Messiah in whom they find the wellspring of eternal life. In John's telling, Jesus is not afraid to come close to us in our most profound vulnerability to heal and save.

Taking our cue from Jesus, if the Church stopped protesting the Monologues and instead started engaging women in an honest, healthy and mature dialogue, perhaps "The Vagina Monologues" would no longer be necessary. Until then, I'm afraid we women will have to remain content with a monologue and pray that someone is, at the very least, listening.

---------

Sr. Mary Eve, 36, writes under a pseudonym. She is a member of a community of Catholic sisters who are known for their more traditional living of religious life. She has served in various forms of ministry in several cities in the United States and has carried out extensive research in the history of women religious, the history of the concept of women in Western thought, and other issues regarding women's contribution in the Catholic Church and in society in general.

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