start talking. Some producers have made a pornographic play on the word“vagina,” by using the slogan “Spread the word” under the title.Finally, many lesbians were offended by the vignette where a man whocoerces a woman sexually is depicted as healing her. He pressures thewoman to allow him to stare at her vulva for ten minutes with the lights on,even though she is very articulate about her discomfort with this request.He persists in pressuring her, and she gives in. The playwright would haveus believe the man loves her body more than she does, and this is whatheals her. What a frightening role model for women—suggesting that weshould not trust our own boundaries or honor our comfort levels in sex! If we do, we might be missing an opportunity for healing ourselves of our uptightness (frigidity?). In fact, many women in situations where sexualpressure is involved, have learned to dissociate from their own discomfort,pain, or humiliation and identify with pleasing their partners. This is nothealing, but syndrome. Ensler’s monologue sends a very wrong message:“No shouldn’t mean no.”This vignette not only disrespects a woman’s knowledge of her needs andher right to her process, but it also valorizes a male behavior that objectifiesand fetishizes the vulva. As one lesbian audience member noted, “I’ll bethe does love vulvas… probably keeps jars of them at home.”The intersex monologue, which I understand has been removed fromrecent versions of the play, raised international protests in its defense of female genital mutilation, which, in the monologue is unapologetically,explicitly for the purpose of making the girl acceptable to a male partner atsome future time.The heterosexism, the male protectionism, the pervasive euphemizing of pornographic and perpetrating acts, and the attack on intersex people—allof these are present in
The Vagina Monologues
. Lesbians have beencelebrating the vulva, and especially the clit, for three decades. Lesbianhomes are filled with Tee Corinne’s photos, with Georgia O’Keefe’s flowers,with Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich’s poems about vulvas, celebrating andreclaiming our bodies and our sexuality.
The Vagina Monologues
is a poor imitation, a heterosexist appropriation, of lesbian culture as it relates towomen’s genitals. Ensler’s intentional distortion and misrepresentation of lesbian relationships is inexcusably commercial, pandering to a