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It's true: Pete's no fan of 'Vagina'

by Jeremy Hooper

Picture 4-131Always in search of news ways to demonize progressive ideas, body acceptance, and frank talk about actual issues, longtime gay rights opponent Peter LaBarbera has launched a new campaign in which he is gunning for author Eve Ensler and her groundbreaking play, The Vagina Monologues. Pete has launched something called the “Stop the Monologues Project," an initiative through which he is trying desperately to not only make the genitalia-named piece of theatre seem like a "radical feminist play," but also like one that encourages/emboldens pedophilia.

VaginamonologuesOf a certain portion of the play called “I Asked a Six-Year-Old Girl," in which the young girl is asked casual questions about her anatomy and responds with the sort of refreshing candor that could only come courtesy of a child (video of this section can be found at link), Pete says the following:

Imagine if an adult homosexual man were to quiz a six-year-old boy about his penis — or a straight man were to ask a little girl silly questions about her private parts – for use in a play! Would such men be praised by the media and famous personalities?

But the thing is, by expressing consternation and raising scenarios in which this frank talk about body parts might be considered "scandalous," Pete is fully displaying the sort of mentality that the play is meant to combat! The point of the piece is that we ABSOLUTELY should be able to talk to children about their anatomy without the discussion being red-faced, uncomfortable, or sexualized. And we all should, regardless of sexuality, be able to pass on information about our bodies without judgement. By taking it to a place of possible shame or outrage, Pete is passing off the sort of mentality that keeps us childishly using names like "pee pee" and "naughty bits," or not talking to our kids about their possessed organs until long after they've already raised questions (if we talk to them at all). Viva la stork!

As a gay male writer, I would certainly hope that I could write a similar play about the penis without anyone raising questions about the appropriateness of my attempts. And while there would be some admitted differences if it were a writer of one gender writing about the anatomy of another, I would hope that even that scenario would be possible if handled responsible. But since social conservatives like Peter traffic in fear and shame, he is simplistically taking a discussion of this important work to a place of alleged or imagined impropriety. Either out of genuine concern or disingenuous agenda-laden politics, he's trying to connect dots between chats about the vulva and underage sex with the same. This unfair linkage should be the true concern here!

AFTAH launches ‘Stop the Monologues Project’ [AFT]

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Your thoughts

pete must have had a bad childhood

Posted by: queerunity | Apr 14, 2008 1:43:22 PM

I guess Peter isn't of the same mind as James Dobson, who recommends fathers shower with their sons and have a frank discussion about each other's penises as a way of preventing Teh Gay.

Posted by: Buffy | Apr 14, 2008 10:38:37 PM

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