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20 November 2009

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Ah, the eternal question: what's up with those wimminfolk?

The thing is, we all start out as women. Well, females. Then in the third trimester or so, the boys get hammered on their special cocktail, and it goes all queer.

It's all chemicals. And we all know girls are bad at chemistry. No wonder they act so crazy, the poor dears.

CR: Eve Ensler is not exactly your cup of tea, I could have told you that, but she's not all that bad either, and the movie version is worth watching (maybe not the whole thing, but a particular monologue or two here or there). Probably also the staged version is worth watching.

Robert: We females still have vestigal penises, really pretty small in comparison, but size doesn't matter, or so I've heard. A shame about the chemicals, though. I'm going to go act crazy now, kthxbye.

Robert,
I'm a graduate of a pretty typical health/sex ed education in high school, so I really don't know anything about how babies are actually made, or how they start, or really even how the lady parts and all those great hormonal cocktails function. Jesus. What in hell did we learn in high school? Oh, I know: nothing about how the system works, but that we should indeed sign up for birth control as soon as possible, without learning about any of the side effects. Thanks. Real helpful. The only question my vagina really has for society is, when are they going to develop a birth control pill for men?

Evidently my vagina is also cynical.

On the other hand, maybe I wasn't paying attention that day in chemistry class. I was, in another bold stereotypical move, terrifically bad at chemistry.

Lesbrarian,
Well, that's kinda why I struck the "not my favorite book, but not all bad, either" tone. At least that's the tone I was trying to strike. But I don't think I will watch the movie or stage show; I'm not a big fan of monologues, honestly. Hard to believe, since I like to go off on them here. But reading the book was really enough. Actually, what it's made me want to do is re-read Amy Bloom's fantastic nonfiction book "Normal," about genitalia and how we all think it has to look to be "normal." Now THAT was a book about gender.

Maybe the ability to assess a situation and pitch in (the busboy story) is actually located somewhere in your vagina.

(I hope that came off as humorous and not offensive. Not having seen a vagina in person since 1983, there is much I don't know.)

Ha!
Well, they do contain multitudes, according to Ensler.

That reminds me of the essay book, The Double Life is Twice as Good, by Ames, that I reviewed earlier. He talked at length about how he didn't think it was polite to look directly at the vagina, so he was always trying to catch sideways glances at it.

I am REALLY looking forward to the searches that are now going to lead to this blog.

Sooo, I've never read the Vagina Monologues, but I saw in performed in NYC when it was new, and there were 3 women in the show. One of these women was Didi Conn, aka Frenchie from Grease. (This made it an absolutely incredible experience, although the whole time I was hoping for a rendition of Beauty School Dropout, but it never happened.) I loved it performed, but would think that it's obvious that hearing it performed is better than reading it, just like any performance piece. I'm just saying that perhaps you should check out the movie as lesbrarian suggested and that might be more your cup of tea. Or maybe not, who knows.

PS. Read Eating the Dinosaur and loved it, although my husband hated it because he thinks Klosterman is too full of himself, and I'm still reading Her Fearful Symmetry but took a break to read some NF.

Gender is very much a construction - as is sexual identity and normative views of gender. There's a vast difference between biological sex and culturally constructed gender...I've been doing a grad seminar on it, and it's been very eye-opening. I'm coming to think of gender more as the product of socialization processes and development than an organ-based state.

Beth,
I think what I might do is visit our old pal YouTube and see if there's any clips around from TVM. That way I wouldn't have to invest a whole movie's worth of time, which I just don't see happening. (We're just starting to get our DVDs of the series "The Tudors" from the library, so that'll be occupying my viewing time!) I do agree with you that it will most likely be better as a performance piece to be seen, rather than a book to be read. Maybe I will really apply myself and see if there's any clips of Frenchie doing her part!!

Of course Klosterman is full of himself. I think that's part of his charm, actually, particularly since all I have to do is read is books (I would imagine he's a handful to know personally). I'm waiting on my copy of "Eating the Dinosaur"; I'm so glad you liked it!! If nothing else, I will ALWAYS love Klosterman for pointing out that he hates Lloyd Dobler/John Cusack, because all the women in Chuck's generation grew up loving Lloyd, and no real man compares favorably with Lloyd. That's funny stuff.

Heather,
You would know more about it than me, but I still always wonder about the construction of gender. Is "construction" just another way of saying "nurture"? And hasn't nurture taken a hit lately, due to how much we are learning about biochemistry and genes and nature? So that's why I always wonder how much of gender just IS, rather than how much is what we are taught. Although I can't say I tie it all to organs either. Either way, it's an interesting puzzle. I hope your seminar on the subject has been interesting!!

I had to chip in here with a little anecdote.

I was introduced to this book in college by my dorm mate, a 6' Japanese exchange student and former organic pig farmer/circus performer. She was so lit up by the performance and the book that she went around saying "Vagina! Vagina!" at random for the next couple of days.

Jessica,
Ha! I hope that started some interesting conversations for her!

hahahaha. i just really read the title of this entry and loved it. Describes the post with your accustomed cynicism. what more could we ask?

Venta,
I thought you might like that. (Cynical) Girl Power!

I was in a production of this at uni and it is way more fun to watch people doing the monologues I think and so much fun to get to indulge your feminist parts in public ;) To promote it we had to go to bars with vagina t-shirts, I'm telling you if you want to meet creepy men that is the clothing item of choice, it's like a magic word.

Jodie,
Yup, I'll have to see if I can see some clips of this--I've been won over to the opinion that it's probably better in performance form. (Some things just are. I've never really enjoyed reading plays, either.)

Hmm. I don't know what it means that the word "vagina" attracts the really creepy men, but I think I'll have to think on that a while. Thanks for the story!

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