Meg suggested that I could have written, yesterday, about how she vibrated me during our college's first ever presentation of the Vagina Monologues. My phone was in my coat pocket, and the coat was draped against the back of my seat, and while one of the young actresses presented an impassioned version of "My Vagina was my Village," it began to vibrate.
On my left, KC looked around.
Why is this phone so fricking vigorous? I wondered. I wanted to clutch the pocket and see if I could mute it, but I knew it was buried down near the bottom of the seat, under me, and I'd cause more of a ruckus trying to get at it. I thought it was my friend Amy calling from Texas (the Bush state, how appropriate would that be?)--we'd been playing phone tag for days. But it was Meg, who'd gotten her Valentine's Day present from New College, a phone interview that went stunningly well, that ended in a "I'm sure you'll be hearing from us soon" exit line.
Our college is Catholic, and so getting the Vagina Monologues has been a long, strange trip. Every time we get the idea that we'll do it, someone in the Cardinal Newman Society gets wind of it and starts a bombing campaign.
Afterwards, some of us stayed behind with a few of the actresses and a professor who teaches Feminist Theology to talk about the production, and the impediments against it. Some of the actresses, all of them students at the college, thought that it might have something to do with the "vulgarity" people ascribe to the word, vagina, or to the repressive nature of Catholic conservatism, wanting to shut sexuality into a box that can only be opened after marriage, and then only for a second before clapping it shut again. Some of us thought that the idea of pleasure is too upsetting to the Puritanical American sensibility.
I think it has a lot to do with love; love is a dangerous, unsettling activity. It opens us up, makes us take risks, makes us vulnerable, might even change our minds. Love takes work. Love takes thought, effort, energy.
It's hard for us to love ourselves, especially if we're women. Self love is power, confidence, assertion, empowerment. If I say, hey, this is what I want and I demand it, then I'm aggressive, potentially a bitch. If I say "vagina," I make people look at me, see me, hear what I have to say. Think about me. If I say that I love my vagina, then I say that I love myself, and at the same time I take that part of myself out and show it. Make it seen.
Do we want people who have historically been taught to love others above themselves to turn that love inward rather than outward? Do we want women to celebrate their bodies, themselves, over the bodies of their husbands, their children, their country, the law, God?