What is the vagina of America?

katrinawarriors.jpgRosario Dawson says it’s New Orleans. No, seriously.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Vagina Monologues, VDay is holding a star-studded event in New Orleans on April 12.

April 11 and 12 will find the Louisiana Superdome interior turned into a pink and red vagina — “with a big vagina entrance,” Ensler said — as a setting for performance events, parties, parades, workshops, wellness and education programs, speakers, even spa treatments, which will be free to residents of New Orleans and the Gulf South. (Men are excluded only from the spa.)
For those two days, New Orleans will be “the Vagina Capital of America,” Ensler said. “We’re coming here to say that we should celebrate New Orleans, cherish it, protect it, just as we do our vaginas, and make sure it goes on and on.”

Okay, I love me some Vagina Monologues–but this just made laugh. Is it possible for vagina-talk to get too hokey? Cause I think we’re almost there.
Vagina-exhaustion aside, this looks like it’s going to be a fabulous time and I really want to go. VDay is teaming up with local grassroots organization the Katrina Warriors (logo above) as part of the V to the Tenth event. Hope to see you, and your Vs, there.

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29 Comments

  1. prairiefyre
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    BEST.LOGO.EVER.
    That is some serious hearting of the vag.

  2. devine
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    I love the pink symbol, it is perfect for the vag mons and heart with a fleur de lys:)

  3. Posted January 16, 2008 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    I am currently president of the Women’s Interest Network on SMU’s (Southern Methodist University) campus here in Dallas and you can’t be too exclusive in your strategy when it comes to translating the V-Day mission. SMU’s student body is predominately made up of rich kids and die hard Christians. Not to mention there’s the whole hardcore Texan frat mentality. You’ve got to be witty and creative yes, but you must explore all other routes of raising consciousness and this includes being cheesy as hell.
    I am now in the process (along with a handful of other awesome, dedicated young women) of bringing V-Day back to campus for the first time in roughly 2 years. And in a place where the only gung-ho feminist student organization was practically dead for those 2 years, where our budget is nil as a result of inactivity, where Men With Integrity has also gone dormant, and where the Women’s Center is tucked away on campus and fairly hard to find, the process of building up the organization for the next crop of WIN students necessarily involves doing whatever it takes.
    Personally, we used “Got Vagina? Then come audition.�

  4. Jessica
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Megnificent, believe me–I’m not bashing VDay. I think it’s a wonderful way to young people interested in women’s issues. I was ALL about VDay when I was in college. I think for those of us who are more seasoned, the vagina stuff can get a little tiring, but I don’t think that downplays its importance in reaching out women.

  5. Posted January 16, 2008 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I like the logo, a lot.
    But isn’t te vagina entrance think a gag that Robin Williams did in that movie Patch Adams??

  6. triskelion
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I will make one complaint- that symbol depicts a VULVA, not a vagina. I never understand why feminists of all people refer to the outer sexual organs as the vagina.

  7. Posted January 16, 2008 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    I, too, am in love with that logo. I would consider getting that as a tattoo.

  8. Posted January 16, 2008 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I dunno, honestly using a vagina as representative of NO rather works for me. The absolute rape of that area by the rich and privileged and their corporations is pretty fitting. I wish they’d posted more than a line of Dawson’s poem to put it in context.

  9. Posted January 16, 2008 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Ok, cool idea, but can we let the obsession with female genitalia go? And it’s true, the outer female sexual organ is the vulva, not the vagina. I don’t know why so many people use vagina when they mean vulva.
    I am tired of the vagina being mentioned every other word when it comes to feminist topics. Yes, we get it, women have vaginas and vulvas. They’re great. OK. Now can we actually discuss and raise awareness of feminist issues without making a huge ass building look like the female gentalia? CauseI just think that may not help most people (who don’t identify as feminists) take us seriously. Actually, I would add things like this to reasons that young women say “I’m not a feminist, but…”. Honestly, I wouldn’t really be excited about associating myself with a movement that makes the superdome look like a giant vulva.

  10. Megnificent
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Jessica I know you aren’t bashing V-Day. Sorry if my post sounded defensive. My point was that those of us who aren’t as fortunate to live in areas that are super progressive tend to have to resort to the more hokey, obvious manner of advertising and pulling off the whole V-Day endeavor. I do agree that felt Vaginas, or Vulvas, and the like are getting kinda old. But I do like the whole NOLA as the vagina of america bit. It’s cheesy but it’s direct and powerful.

  11. ShifterCat
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    I agree, GottaBeMe. Yes, I think it’s good for us to say, “I have a lovely flower, not a shameful stinkhole”, but after a while all this vagina fuss just seems like navel-gazing, only further south.

  12. Andrea
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Honestly, when I read that New Orleans was America’s vagina, my first thought was, “Why, because they got fucked after Hurricane Katrina? How on earth is that a *good* thing?”
    I don’t know about this.

  13. SM
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t there something messed up about using the vagina as a symbol of something that has been raped?!
    I don’t have vagina-exhaustion; I have Ensler’s-approach-to-the-vagina-exhaustion.

  14. sybann
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Somebody (2 of you) beat me to the “f*cked” line. And thanks to Triskelion (I think – I can never tell who’s posted what/above/below?) for pointing out something that bogs the living shite outta me. The vagina is the tube, people – NOT the opening and surrounding labia. Thanks.

  15. sybann
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    BUGS – time to go home and drain the dog.

  16. Posted January 16, 2008 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    I find it hard to get pumped up by stuff like this. Like, I understand why it needs to be a women-only event, because women won’t feel free to be themselves and feel what they need to feel if men are allowed (since there’s no way to screen them beforehand to make sure they are one of the handful of awesome, non-sucky, feminist men). But, I dunno. Making it like this big huge celebration type thing and then to be like “and we won’t let the BOYS in!!!” It just really rubs me the wrong way. I understand *why*, but I don’t think it’s the best way to get to actual equality — all it does is flip things over a bit.
    Also generally tired of all the vagina talk. Stuff like this, to me, gets uncomfortably close to all the mystical womanhood crap that makes me want to vomit. There’s nothing magical about vaginas. They’re a part of the body, just like any other part of the body, no more important, no less important. I kind of feel like, by emphasizing vaginas so much (again, aside from the problems we used to have, but no longer have, of vaginas being seen as “icky”), we’re playing right into the sexists’ hands. Hey, if we’re so obsessed with our vaginas, why shouldn’t they be? While I absolutely think there is a need to help women have the confidence to become sexually liberated, elevating and celebrating the *vagina* does exactly what sexist society does — it reduces us to our body parts. Sexual liberation doesn’t come from my vagina; it comes from my head. If my head decides to USE my vagina in a sexually liberated manner, awesome. But my vagina had nothin’ to do with it.
    To me, it’s just kind of the wrong approach all around.

  17. meggers
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    All cheesiness aside, I’m super-excited to go. I’m from Louisiana and I hadn’t even really thought about the negatives of the big vagina/spa/girls-only stuff. I’m just pumped to get to see one of my favorite plays with Oprah, Ellen Degeneres, Ashley Judd, etc. acting in it! These kinds of events don’t happen often here, and our feminist group on campus already rented hotel rooms and we’re ready to roll!

  18. meggers
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    All cheesiness aside, I’m super-excited to go. I’m from Louisiana and I hadn’t even really thought about the negatives of the big vagina/spa/girls-only stuff. I’m just pumped to get to see one of my favorite plays with Oprah, Ellen Degeneres, Ashley Judd, etc. acting in it! These kinds of events don’t happen often here. Our feminist group on campus has already rented hotel rooms, bought tickets and we’re ready to roll!

  19. Jamie
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    I’m in the Vagina Monologues this year for the first time! And yes, the language can be a little cheesy if you’re used to reading feminist rhetoric but when I saw the Vagina Monologues for the first time as a baby feminist I thought it was really cool and it made me feel really proud to be a woman. My friends and I quoted “My Short Skirt” for weeks! Phallic shit is all around, all the time so I really don’t see any problem in having one day that celebrates the vagina in the same ridiculous over-the-top way as the penis (the vag door entrance, I mean).

  20. EverythingisImage
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Law Fairy, you make some sense and I definitely second what you said.

  21. gst_scholarship18
    Posted January 16, 2008 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    I’m going to be going with a group from UF, as I’m producing V-Day and Vagina Monologues here, and I cannot wait for the NOLA festivites V-Day style!
    See you there!
    P.S. Can we have a Feministing cocktail party that wkd? I can never make it to the NY and DC ones :)

  22. TeenageGangDeb
    Posted January 17, 2008 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    In reponse to Andrea, SM, sybann, et al:
    I definitely find it problematic to associate vagina symbolism with violence & vaginal trauma (like rape). But I also think that the “New Orleans = vagina” symbolism goes beyond the tragedy of Katrina.
    I’m from New Orleans, and even before the hurricane, I have always felt that (at least, as much as any geographical location can represent a body part) it’s a completely applicable symbol. In fact, growing up I remember having discussions in my English class about how southern writers like Faulkner used the Mississippi Delta region as settings in their stories *specifically because* they have an inherent vaginal symbolism to them. If you look beyond the recent history of the hurricane & the exposed vulnerability of the city, and examine the character & the history of the place in general — like the climate, the shape of the area, the city’s status as a major port near the delta of the biggest river valley we have? There’s a lot to draw on there in terms of vaginal symbolism. (I would also like to add that I think New Orleans is quite a beautiful city — albeit in it’s own organic kinda way, much like a vulva, but I’d also readily admit that I’m extremely sentimental about my home!)
    Anyway, that’s my two cents. As a New Orleanian I appreciate the idea of 2 things I am most definitely passionate about (the awesomeness of my home and the awesomeness of vaginas) being joined together — even if, like Jessica, the hokey-ness is not exactly lost on me!

  23. Posted January 17, 2008 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    “Isn’t there something messed up about using the vagina as a symbol of something that has been raped?!”
    There’s definitely something messed up about rape…

  24. Posted January 17, 2008 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    Hooray vagina monologues!
    Our student chapter of the American Medical Women’s Association is putting on the Vagina Monologues at our med school. I am so excited.
    I am the rep for my class. I had a lot of fun making the recruiting announcement over the class microphones today.

  25. rhiannsaurs
    Posted January 17, 2008 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    ” gets uncomfortably close to all the mystical womanhood crap that makes me want to vomit”
    exactly.

  26. pull_rank
    Posted January 17, 2008 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Is it possible for vagina-talk to get too hokey? Cause I think we’re almost there.
    I think we’ve been there for a few years. Although vagina costume still = hilarious.

  27. Justin the Bull
    Posted January 17, 2008 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    I think America’s vagina is Plymouth Rock. It’s where the first Americans first got fucked.

  28. Posted January 17, 2008 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    I find it ironic that you wrote a book for young feminists, Jessica, yet won’t let them have their VM moment. Yes, it’s cheesy, but as Jaime points out, the baby feminists get super excited about this. Each year the VM gets more and more popular on my campus. I say, if it keeps turning young women onto feminism, then keep the show rolling.

  29. Suzie
    Posted January 20, 2008 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    I support VDay, but I hope people will keep making the points that 1) our sexual organs are more than just the vagina and 2) we are not defined by our vagina. I have a rare cancer called leiomyosarcoma and most of my vagina was removed. When I tell people, many are puzzled; they have so little knowledge of female anatomy that they don’t understand how anyone can have a vaginectomy. When people assume I have no sex life, I point out that I still have a clitoris. I’d love a VDay where people hand out maps indicating the location and use of the clitoris. Or, perhaps, a realization that vaginal cancer exists.

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