Particularly Us. Particularly Here.

I keep trying to say something profound about Alison’s post here, about the work the Women’s Studies Department at her college is doing.  But I don’t know what.

When I think of the fact that talking about a play is such a threat to the established order that she can’t get certain printers to take her business, that girls who are on the Pill don’t understand enough about their bodies to understand how it works, that the idea of women having bodily autonomy is so foreign that they’re trying to pass a law in her state that would let pharmacists pass judgment about whether they thought it was “moral” for them to fill a woman’s prescriptions–I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

It’s easy to feel daunted, like what needs to be done is so great that the doing of it is nearly impossible.

But I think that, because the need is so great, it makes it easier to do something.  I mean, shit, if talking about a play is so controversial, how hard can it be to challenge the powers that be?  Just say “vagina” out loud like it’s nothing to be ashamed of.  Just walk around like having one is nothing to be ashamed of.  Just walk around like loving someone with one is nothing to be ashamed of.

God, knowing there are feminists in the world like this makes me feel proud and inspired.

Alison, if you are who I think you are, I think we may have eaten lunch with Annie Sprinkle together.  If so, hello.

7 thoughts on “Particularly Us. Particularly Here.

  1. Damn.

    I was, if you can believe this, originally planning to be a high school English teacher and earned my degree in SC. It became abundantly clear to me during my student teaching experience that I wouldn’t pursue my teaching career there because of the rules. I don’t mean rules about vaginas and abortion and birth control (although no doubt they had a whole slew of those); I mean rules about discussing anything concerning “magic” or “fantasy” in the classroom. That’s somewhat difficult to avoid in a literature class.

    All this is to say that I am, unfortunately, not surprised by the post you reference and am once again appalled by the overwhelming desire of certain groups to mind other peoples’ business and try to convince those same people that they are defective, inferior, and unworthy.

  2. “that girls who are on the Pill don’t understand enough about their bodies to understand how it works”

    If you don’t know how the equipment works, then you are in no position to decide what to do with it.

    Tell their parents to lock them in a convent, or buy them a chastity belt.

  3. Ex,
    There are grown women on the pill that don’t really fully understand how it works. Do you really think that if schools and parents deliberately withhold information about contraception and reproductive health for fear of encouraging sex, that the girl is being irresponsible by seeking ways to avoid pregnancy? What she likely does know, at a minimum, is that the pill helps avoid unwanted pregnancies, and in seeking it out if she’s having sex, that girl might be the only responsible one of the three.

  4. Exador — it’s their parents that are already the problem. Damn. Teaching one’s children about reproduction and sexuality is a basic parental responsibility…unless you’re ok with hippie commie liberals like me teaching them about condoms and dental dams, in which case send them to college clueless and you can pay me $30k a year per girl to do your work for you. Personally, I’d think that parents would want to be a humane voice in a culture that alternately trivializes and commodifies human sexuality.

    I’m making the transition into the Women’s Studies directorship at my college (an independent school with a Catholic name and history). We did the Vagina Monologues about three years running and Exador’s assumptions to the contrary about the den of liberal politics that is my town, we drew a crazy amount of fire for what amounted to a bunch of students and faculty reading a script and sitting on stools in a darkened auditorium. You know, it’s the “uncivil” thing — pass bigoted laws, authorize hate from the corridors of power, but the heavens will fall if a woman stands on stage and says the magical word “vagina.” (Or anything more descriptive than “down there” or “hoo hah.”)

    The students didn’t want to produce it again this year — as they say, they only have so much energy and rather than butting heads with bigots, they opted to do direct service in the feminist community (mostly with battered women and children effectively orphaned by the Rockefeller Laws). To raise money, they are hosting concerts and sponsoring a regional WST conference. So far, we’re breaking about even with last year’s fundraising (if you count the cash value of the volunteer and internships).

  5. Aunt B, can I help by just wandering around town and shouting Vagina! intermittently? I could raise public awareness and enhance my status around town simultaneously. Mack, the Vagina! shouting roller-tagger. It could work.

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