05 March 2010

Vagina Monologues

I fo' real don't know what I'm doing. And on that note, I write.

My bomb roomie and I went to The Vagina Monologues tonight. Boss! I love things like that, and I loved to see a healthy turn out for the event (which benefited the local sexual assault advocate's center). What I did NOT appreciate about the event and about the audience was, first and foremost, the people sitting behind us. I perceived them to be a group of cisgender white women. I also perceived them to be at this play because the word "vagina" was in the title, and because they needed a new "girls night out" activity. I'm not about to get all uppity about these perceived women enjoying their Friday night at a fun event that benefited a GREAT organization. I will, however, get all uppity about these apparent women perhaps missing some of the points. I appreciate a good time (seriously, I do), and I think I also understand that this world is not made up of rainbows and butterflies. For anybody who has seen The Vagina Monologues, you'll know that it is a cleverly crafted production that is both funny and emotionally poignant at times, too. While I appreciate a hearty laugh here and there (in fact, all the time), I can't get down with snide comments after serious points. At one point, the narrator shares facts about Female Genital Mutilation, which comes shortly after one of the many hilarious pieces. One of the individuals behind me was apparently displeased with this information, which I have assumed based on the comment, "thanks for ruining the mood." I am evidently unclear about what mood this person was going for, and wonder if perhaps she would have more appreciated this information if she thought it affected her life in any way.

I recognize that feminism/humanism/caring about people isn't an opportunity to be an elitist jerk all the time, and I also know that sometimes these commentaries sound like I'm poo-pooing on everybody's fun. But I guess I get confused when people hear facts about things like Female Genital Mutilation (which, by the by, I have not studied extensively but believe has some real cultural value and cannot be evaluated from a white, US-ian, middle class standard), and are then disappointed to have had their apparent mood ruined. I'm sorry you've been so tossed from your comfort zone that merely hearing about FGM has ruined your mood! Anyway, I see that these women probably had pure intentions (or something), and I'm glad they went and that the money from their tickets went to support an AWESOME organization. I'm sad that they couldn't take the good with the bad (read: the good with the dose of reality).

On another note, I have made a concerted effort to notice lately what types of people fill what types of spaces. Certainly, these attempts are based entirely off of my own perceptions and, in many cases, mean very little. However! I did note that every one of the 8 or so women who performed in tonight's event appeared to be white. I trust [hope] that isn't entirely accurate, but I also know that I happen to live in the heart of a predominantly white town.

All in all, The Vagina Monologues was a great success, entertaining, and heartwarming. As expected. And, unsurprisingly, some people annoyed me. All in a day's work!


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  2. I also noted that all the people in the play were people I preserved to be white. I also noticed that the night I went the majority of the audience identified as queer and or identified as a feminist (I noted that from knowing they were queer and or feminist not from assuming). This both makes me happy and sad. I love feminist/ queer spaces, they are where I feel the most at home, but on the other note I wish more people who did not already agree with the ideas being presented would attend such events; in hopes that they would become more educated on the issues.

  3. great tracking. the piece about the performers all being perceived as white is saddening. and it doesn't feel uppity to me to name/track dynamnics you notice in the moment.