The Vagina Monologues Facts vs. Fallacies
Top 10 Common Claims Made by V-Day Organizers/Supporters
1) Claim: "The play empowers/liberates women."
False: The Vagina Monologues is a lie. It does not empower women with its message that: women's identity and image are wrapped up in their sexual organs. True empowerment lies in the heart and the mind. Consider these images from the play:
- "The Woman Who Loved To Make Vaginas Happy" is a monologue about a successful tax attorney who leaves her career to become a lesbian dominatrix prostitute, specializing in the use of sexual "props," i.e. whips, handcuffs and ropes. Liberating or ironically violent?
- "The Vagina Workshop" describes a woman who attends an orgasm workshop and participates in a group masturbation session. The workshop leader tells the woman her sexual organs are "the essence of me, both the doorbell to my house and the house itself." This mindset is exactly what the early suffragettes were fighting against.
- Reclaiming C**t” invites the audience to participate in cult-like chanting of an explicit word to describe a woman's private parts. And this exercise empowers women because?
2) Claim: "The play raises awareness about violence against women."
False: The play offers women little more than encouragement to view themselves as a single body part and become obsessed with their sexuality and sexual behavior. It does not provide healthy or practical information about how to protect themselves against violence and/or recover from a violent experience.
- The opening monologue states that playwright Eve Ensler's biggest anxiety was not about adequately and responsibly addressing violence against women. She wrote this play because she “was worried about [her] own vagina” as far as “what we think about vaginas and even more worried that we don't think about them.” How about worrying that laws setting punishments for sexual offenders are not strong enough? Or that most women are unfamiliar with basic self-defense techniques?
- Questions raised throughout the play make a mockery of meaningful ways to address and learn about violence against women. They include, “If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear?,” “If your vagina could talk, what would it say?,” and “What does a vagina smell like?"
3) Claim: "The play is not anti-male."
False: Men are only mentioned in a negative way throughout the play as adulterers, abusers, weirdos, and rapists. Consider the following examples:
The cheating husband who “forced” his wife to shave her vagina in the monologue “Hair.”
Andy Leftkov, who in “The Flood,” calls his date “a stinky weird girl.”
Supporters of the play will often ask, “What about Bob?” Bob is featured in “Because He Like To Look At It.” “It” meaning a woman's vagina. What we learn is that Bob is ordinary, boring, and unappealing, that is, until the woman character discovers his one redeeming quality: a perverted obsession with women's private parts.
4) Claim: "If you don't want to see the play, you don't have to."
False: Advertisements, promotional materials, and other events surrounding the play around campus are equally offensive and degrading.
Roger Williams University was flooded with signs that read, "My Vagina is Huggable," "My Vagina is Flirty," and "My Vagina is Regal."
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill allowed tee shirts that read "I Heart My Vagina."
Boise State University distributed vagina lollipops.
Florida State University had an orgasm workshop.
Arizona State University constructed a 40-foot inflatable vagina on campus.
5) Claim: "The play is not pornographic"
False: It includes extremely graphic descriptions of women's sexual experiences.
One monologue has an explicit depiction of two lesbians having sex. “She's inside me. I'm inside me.” And it gets much, much worse.
“The Vagina Workshop” describes one woman's experience with masturbation. “I bounced and landed, landed and bounced. I came into my own muscles and blood cells and then I just slid into my vagina.”
6) Claim: "Opponents of the play are anti-feminist."
False: Those who oppose the play are pro-woman. We reject the effort to convince women to think of themselves as sexual objects. And we object to this play as a way to bring meaningful attention to the serious issue of violence against women. In addition, the early suffragettes—the original feminists—fought hard for equal rights and treatment under the law for women. They fought against the very notion that a woman is reducible to a single body part. By opposing this play, we honor their efforts.
7) Claim: "The play does not venerate child rape."
False: The child rape that occurs in “The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could” is presented as a sympathetic and spiritually redeeming experience for the young girl who is violated. She describes the rape as “surprising, unexpected, politically incorrect salvation” that “transformed my sorry-ass coochi snorcher and raised it up into a kind of heaven.” The monologue describes how a 24-year-old woman plies a 16-year-old girl (she is 13 in the original version) with vodka and then sexually violates her. And in the original version, this monologue ended with the line: “If it was rape, it was a good rape.”
8) Claim: "Funds raised by the play are ending violence against women."
While some of the funds are being sent to community programs and organizations that help victims of violence, the play itself does not effectively address this issue, its cause or any meaningful solutions. Rather, it encourages the very attitude that often leads to sexual violence: treating women as objects. According to V-Day organizers, groups who have also received proceeds from the play include Equality Now, Feminist.com, gay and lesbian centers, Planned Parenthood, and Girls, Inc.—groups with specific political agendas that reach way beyond violence against women.
We hope the V-Day marketing ploy and the lunacy of the play will be exposed. We also hope women, men, professors, and administrators will reject this demeaning portrayal of women. Until then, our approach is to inform, equip, and support reasonable students who are offended.
9) Claim: "The play is based on real women's stories."
False: In her book, Eve Ensler states, “Some of the monologues are close to verbatim interviews, some are composite interviews, and with some I just began with the seed of an interview and had a good time.” The "V-Day" website provides no evidence these interviews actually occurred or that any of the women mentioned exist.
10) Claim: "Opponents of the play are against free speech."
False: Opposing the play and advocating censorship are two very different things. We do not propose violating the First Amendment. In the free marketplace of ideas, the best idea will win out.
V-Day Unveiled was created to offer positive approaches that students can use to offer alternatives and/or express their disapproval of the play being performed on campus and with school funds.