Presidential Debates, Vagina Monologues, and Resurrection Stories; Mandy Mizelle

Published: March 6, 2012

As a woman, listening to this year’s presidential campaign rhetoric has been nearly intolerable.  Affluent men in sweater vests and business suits have tossed around offensive misrepresentations of women and our bodies like Nerf footballs with language that has regularly forsaken us.  While under verbal attack, we have ironically been told we should stay off the front lines of combat as “emotions” may get in the way of duty.  A female law student defending contraception was called a “slut” and “prostitute” in what was later regretted/justified as humor.  Despite there being no female candidate (not even a bad one who doesn’t understand feminism), non-present women continue to bear displaced character assassinations in debates, speeches, and proposed legislation.  Is it too much to ask that candidates and their choruses give up sexism for Lent?

Like this election season, Lent is often thought of as a dark and arduous journey with some so-called savior eventually being crucified.  But as others have pointed out, Lent is perhaps more appropriately thought of as a time in which we bring light to those things threatening our and others’ wellness and wholeness.  It is a time in which we can, as a community of faith, seek not only to reveal but bind the broken places within our individual and collective bodies.  Two massive light-bearing events are being held on our campus this premature Holy Week: The Vagina Monologues and the Trible Lecture Series.

The Vagina Monologues is a fierce resurrection of the female body on a stage that unabashedly names those attitudes, practices, and structures threatening women’s wholeness in a space where women find their v-word: voice.  Wake’s Women’s and Gender Studies program is sponsoring this year’s production of the Eve Ensler play, which runs through Wednesday evening in Ring Theatre.  With equal parts humor and horror, the Monologues push into the light the too pleasurable and too painful aspects of women’s experiences that are too often brutally silenced: clitorises, confidence, and orgasms; disfigurement, genital mutilation, and rape.  Across the courtyard in Brendle Recital Hall, premiere feminist thinkersfrom four continents will gather over the next two days to “talk back,” according to Hisako Kinukawa, to biblical interpretations and traditions that have left women broken at the unwell.  In this Lenten season, both events are emphatic calls to, as mad farmer (and certainly feminist) Wendell Berry invites, “practice resurrection.”

Mandy Mizelle
Second Year