Wednesday, February 18, 2004

When you've won, what do you protest?

In a scene out of P.C.U., a group of University of Oregon students have protested Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, a play that has evidently sparked a global feminist movement, for not being "inclusive" enough.

I miss college. I miss hearing sentences like:
"Know that what you are seeing tonight is not the result of an inclusive process,"

"Know that this space was not one where honest questions and concerns about race were tolerated."

This is evidently what happens when activists actually get what they wanted. The women's movement was successful. Women have equal legal rights, women may enter any profession, and more overtly run the world. (They ran it before, also, but had to let the men pretend they were in charge.)

So what's the problem with the Vagina Monologues?

Well, evidently, there was a "lack of representation of different kinds of women in "The Vagina Monologues" production." It seems that "Women of ' variety of skin colors, body sizes, abilities and gender expressions'were not adequately represented."

It's a shame, really. Because "this could have been a more diverse cast, but a safe and welcoming environment was not created for people that [the protester] consider[s] to be 'underrepresented.'" Specifically, she noted, "only one other woman of color remained in the show. 'Plus size' and queer women were also not well-represented, she said." Apparently, when advertising for the woman-only cast, they didn't put up a sign, "free milk and cookies for fat black lesbians." (And by the way, why is "Plus size" in euphemism quotes but not queer?)

The director of the show (who I'd wager is not a George W. Bush supporter) tries gamely to defend herself with logic:
[The director] said about 85 people auditioned for the show and there wasn't a large pool of "visible" people of color to choose from. She said it is also not always possible to tell one's ethnicity or sexual orientation just by looking at the person, adding that she does not usually ask people what their sexual orientation is at an audition.

Which is good, because that wouldn't really create a safe space, would it? "Hey, you, audition-chick! You a lesbian?" Seems to me that would invite a similar protest.

I'd also expect a protest over the Oregon Daily Emerald headline on this related story, "Tensions explode at 'Vagina' discussion."


Update: Thanks, Professor Volokh!


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