Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

This image was deemed inappropriate for a family newspaper by the Seattle dailies and published in the local indie news, The Stranger, along with a message about the Vagina Monologues and its efforts to overcome domestic and sexual violence against women and girls. I think it's awfully pretty.


faded said...

Interesting, an image that objectifies a woman by focusing only on her vagina. Then a message of about preventing sexual abuse of woman.

I find the contradiction to be quite amazing. It seems to me that much abuse is based on the fact that the abuser objectifies and dehumanizes the woman being abused. If the woman is a thing and not a person, she can be abused freely.

The image sends a message that a woman is nothing more than a vagina. The image actually objectifies a woman. It is not the image I would select to draw attention to the abuse of woman.

The daily newspaper made the correct decision when they refused to print the image.

Remember you can go out on the street and buy access to a vagina or a penis.

My wife of 28 years was sexually abused as a child. We still deal with the effects of the abuse 40 years after it happened. I can tell you that a woman is made up of much more than a vagina. Just like a man is much more than a penis.

The image cheapens woman.

Mile High Pixie said...

It took me a few second to find the vagina in the heart. I don't know that it was that offensive. Given that the play is called the VAGINA Monologues, what are they supposed to use as an image, a toaster?

Okay, actually, that would make me laugh coffee out of my nose.

What did they end up using, just the title and location? Just curious.

ms. kitty said...

I'd recommend actually experiencing the Vagina Monologues before passing judgment on the design, Faded. I see where you're coming from and it's an important thought, but the actual play is not objectifying or dehumanizing of women. In my opinion, at least. I think any of us who participated in this past weekend's performance would support my statement. Do try to go see it. Many if not most of the women in our VM cast have experienced abuse, rape, incest, and other atrocities directed at them because they are female. It was a healing time for us to do this play.

ms. kitty said...

Pixie, I guess it was just the title and location; I didn't notice. Do try not to spew coffee out your nose if you see a toaster.

faded said...

To be clear, my reaction is only to the image. I cannot speak to the play as I have never seen it.

The image does not motivate me to see the performance. A different advertisement may cause more people to see the play, enjoy it and learn from it.

To get an audience where I live you would need to change the advertisement and possibly the title. As I think about it, addressing the problem of abuse of woman in a public forum where I live would be very good. There are certain institutions here that would be well served by such a thing.

A small victory story from 10 years ago. There was a woman my wife and I met at a conference. My wife and this lady got to be friends.

Time goes by in the relationship and my wife and I start to notice some odd behaviors and comments from the lady. My wife has developed a sixth sense about abuse because of her background. She asks a few indirect questions and out comes a story of chronic sexual abuse by her husband.

After some discussion and encouragement the lady got a full time job and left her husband. She set about supporting herself and her 10 year old daughter. The transformation from fear filled little girl to a self confident woman was magnificent to see.

I have elided about 98% of what happened so the comment would fit.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, Faded, I appreciate your adding to the conversation. I agree that locale has a lot to do with acceptance of something so clearly controversial. The story you offer is inspirational; thank you for sharing it.

Jess said...

I think the image is beautiful, personally.

The Rabbi of the woman who created it supported her in the Seattle Weekly, as quoted by Feministing:

'"The artwork was created by a member of my congregation," says Rabbi Yohanna Kinberg of B'nai Torah, which is located in Bellevue. "We have it hanging in several places in our Temple. I was just very disappointed that the Times didn't share our appreciation for what I consider to be tasteful and beautiful artwork. It's okay for a house of worship — I know it's hanging in many other synagogues and Jewish institutions. I have a lot of respect for the Seattle Times, so it was really surprising."'

ms. kitty said...

I think it's lovely too, Jess. I'm pleased to say that I know Rabbi Yohanna Kinberg of Temple B'nai Torah and her colleague Cantor David Serkin-Poole, both of whom have served with me on the board of the Religious Coalition for Equality.