Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Gloria Steineim's Introduction to The Vagina Monologues

As promised, we will now begin our scene by scene analysis of The Vagina Monologues. The text being used is the V-Day revised edition, 2001 by Villard Books.

The first section is a forward written by Gloria Steinem. She begins and ends her reflection with bookends about the sacredness of the vagina and how her foremothers did not know theirs were sacred. She argues that if they knew it was sacred, they would not have been ashamed of it and referred to it by such things as “down there.” They would have used the proper terms for it. I cannot claim to know whether or not her foremothers knew about the sacredness of our bodies and the sacred gift which is our sexuality, but I can say with certainty that many times, we do not name what is sacred. Could it be that by naming the vagina, it has lost, not restored its sacred power? I do not know.

Steinem desires what many Catholic feminist theologians desire, which is to remake god in their image. As I’ve posted before, God is not male or female in and of Himself, but in relation to us, He has revealed Himself as masculine for a good reason. LINK Steinem sees this as patriarchy. It actually has nothing to do with patriarchy, which has at times in the past and to this day plagued Christianity. However, we must seek the Truth and to live in the Truth, and not be reactionaries and live the opposite of the current error to an extreme. Steinem is a reactionary.

Steinem makes a good point that the 1960s only made women more available to be used by men. I would argue that The Vagina Monologues never goes past this. She looks up to and fondly remembers Betty Dodson, who spoke openly and in favor of masturbation, something opposed by the Church because of its misuse of sexuality for utilitarian purposes. She also sees lesbianism as a good, something also not approved of by the Church.

Steinem makes a bold claim that the Church’s real subconscious reason for believing in Original Sin is that man is born of a woman and that women are dirty. This belief is completely incompatible with Christian orthodoxy, which believes in Original Sin because it is blatantly clear that we are estranged from God. Pascal claimed it was the only completely verifiable doctrine of Christianity. We see that we want to do good but there is something wrong with us that we don’t do good. Christ came and poured Divine Life back into us who had lost it through a sacrament: a symbol with real effects. We are washed clean of this Original Sin, and we call this new life. It is new life in Christ. Steinem rejects Christ and therefore must come up with her own unverifiable theories of why Christians do the things they do.

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