Justice For Women

In the Church. In the World.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

V-Day: On Sr. Mary Eve, getting it, and not getting it

Yesterday was the V-Day celebration at my alma mater. I laughed, I cried, I got thoroughly embarassed when the college president noticed me and asked me to stand up for the crowd. *blush* The president's assistant, who has had to handle most of the angry calls, shared with the audience the humor she found in the fact that a) the majority of people who called to protest were men (we're a women's college, so therefore, they certainly aren't alums) and 2) none of them could bring themselves to say "vagina." They'd say they were in calling in regards to "The Monologues" and she would innocently say, "Which monologues? The Vagina Monologues?"

In honor of V-Day, I was planning on posting a bit about another great BustedHalo.com article, "Remembering V-Day" by a young nun who writes under the pseudonym Sr. Mary Eve.
My girlfriends and I generally didn’t talk about what our vaginas felt like, what it felt like to have our period, etc. Perhaps because our experience is a lot more internal than external, hidden even on a physical level, it remained an issue that we kept to ourselves and didn’t discuss. And when we did try to talk about it we learned that it was just not appropriate for women to discuss the functions of their reproductive system. This tendency is extremely detrimental to girls and women because it leads to keeping anything connected with our vaginas a secret—sexual abuse being the best kept secret among them.

The Vagina Monologues instead celebrates the beauty of the vagina, in direct contrast to the message that women have often had to internalize— that it is dirty and not to be touched. For the first time, women have a public forum in which to process their experience in a mature way. So, I am left with the question: Why has The Vagina Monologues—which isn’t intended to be sexually arousing or gratuitously vulgar—been protested by a vocal minority of Catholics when it has been offered on Catholic campuses? I wonder if the fully-cassocked seminarians who often participate in these protests understand the pain that many women carry because their sexuality is often denigrated, abused, and defiled? Do they have any sense of the experiences of women that brought the Monologues into existence?

However, since the article arrived in my mailbox, I was surprised today to see the (crazy) responses to this article on BustedHalo. Follows is a sampling of my favorites, people who have become completely unhinged at the thoughts of nuns and vaginas:

Sr. Mary Eve brings her mental yeast infection to bear on Church teaching which she obviously does not understand. She's all for vaginas coming out but apparently does not have the courage of her convictions to stand out within her own community. If she doesn't believe in the organization she belongs to and has to be covert, at least have the honesty and integrity to leave. Maybe those research projects, though, are a little too cushy. Allows her to be the enemy within.
Brother Jesu Adam

And to what order do you belong, Brother?

I think if women are to be model purity and chastity in modeling ourselves after the ultimate woman Mary the Mother of God, than there is no real need for the Vagina monologues.

I feel that sexual abuse rape etc would not happen if all women modeled themselves after Mary. There would not be pornography or illicit houses of prostitution or even dirty shows on internet or tv or cable. Maybe just maybe there would really be respect for women.
Sue Trevino

Nothing like internalized sexism and victim blaming on a global scale.
Sr. Mary Eve has some serious problems with her faith and her feminine psychology. We need to pray for her.
Edmond Rosky

Subject: sister b***h
plain as day....another heretic b***h who worships her tw**.

File this under "So You Want Me to Believe You're a Christian, Huh?"

Sr. Mary Eve also got to respond to some of the letters publicly, including this gem:

Good Girls and Pap Smears
TOMDZZX (no name given) wrote the following regarding the need for sisters to have pap smears:

“Please tell ‘young’ Maria Monk that old nuns don't need Pap tests since they test for a virus communicated by intercourse (an STD). Consequently, if the old nuns have been good girls they should have no fear of cervical cancer. In fact, one of the reasons that this cancer was found to be an STD was its almost total absence in nuns….”

I hope that this reader and all readers are aware of the fact that a pap smear not only detects cervical cancer, but yeast infections, and other infections, as well as the sexually transmitted herpes virus. Secondly, the herpes virus is not the only cause for cervical cancer, although it is often the cause. Therefore, my friend, it is highly recommended that even “good girls” have pap smears.

Sr. Mary Eve - you get it. Nut jobs - missing the point, as usual. Please also visit the links for a surreal discussion on what the eternal virginity of Mary means . . . so much time and energy spent to miss the point entirely.


  • At 3:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I just read both Sr. Mary Eve's piece and the responses. I find it highly ironic that those who have an issue with her piece are the ones who are name calling and dragging her through the mud. Vitriole is not going to solve anything.

    Though I did like the response from the woman who suggested that there would be no rape or pornography or anything like that if we women were more like Mary. Last time I checked, those weren't the fault of women. Thank God the seminary I go to is not like that.


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