Meet the put-upon conservative coed, the prototype pushed by conservative feminists to demonstrate liberal bias on college campuses. We’ll call her Claire. Claire doesn’t want any part of this vulgar spectacle known as The Vagina Monologues, but her Feminine Mystique-touting, Germaine Greer-quoting friends are tying her to a chair and making her watch. She desperately wants to be chaste, but condom-peddling feminists are driving her to her knees at the frathouse next door. She really just wants to be a mom, but her mentors in the gender studies department say that’s just not acceptable.
Claire may or may not exist, but there is a whole movement dedicated to setting her free. I recently watched Christina Hoff Sommers, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, give a speech on Eve Ensler’s Monologues to like-minded women. The play is performed on hundreds of campuses around Valentine’s Day ever year, and Sommers is annually appalled, most deeply by what she calls “a four-letter-word that begins in c, ends in t, and is not coat.” […]
This is the frustrating irony of conservative feminism: As the movement rightly condemns modern feminism for being a paralyzing ideology of victimization, it leaves a bloody trail of victimhood in its wake. Whether they be Yale freshmen or Princeton professors, the weaker sex is apparently unable to withstand the excesses of Naomi Wolf. Claire doesn’t stand a chance.
At the close of Sommers’ dire warning about Ensler’s play, a concerned mother had a question: “Where can I send my child so she’s not exposed to this?” The audience obliged with suggestions of Ensler-banning, second-rate colleges; Sommers nodded gravely. When women who call themselves feminists see censorship as the way forward, we have bigger problems than bad playwriting.
What bothers me more than the censorship is that some parents would rather send their daughters to second-rate colleges than allow them to be “exposed” to a play they disapprove of at a first-rate college.
Redneck Feminist’s post also has an entertaining story of how she learned to relax and enjoy The Vagina Monologues.
P.S. By the way, I’m not particularly bothered by Reason Magazine’s cliched slamming of contemporary feminism as “a paralyzing ideology of victimization.” Reason is a magazine written by libertarians; libertarians call it an “ideology of victimization” whenever anyone suggests anything other than Evil Big Government is ever oppressive or problematic.
UPDATE: Check out Amanda’s take on this story.