Here’s a “Vagina” happy fact: I’ve never heard a woman complain about “The Vagina onologues.”

Oh, I’m sure they’re out there, advocating the woman’s return to the days of corsets and hoop skirts, when the beaus came a-callin’ and the women did the cooking. But they’re far outnumbered by the men.

I’ve recently discovered that I have quite a few (male, obviously) friends who believe that Georgetown should not produce “The Vagina Monologues” on campus. One went so far as to call it pornography.

I had never seen the show. I’d read bits of volumes about it, but I hadn’t seen it, so I did my best to argue with this adamant friend. I used cliches like “artistic expression” and “freedom of speech” that would get me nowhere at the Philodemic.

It wasn’t until I saw the Valentine’s – excuse me, V-Day – performance of “The Vagina onologues” that I realized just how sadly deluded, self-aggrandizing and, where women’s safety is concerned, dangerous, the opponents of this show are.

I find myself doubting how many of them have actually seen the show. It would take a truly thick person not to realize that speaking out against genital mutilation and rape is a good thing. That encouraging women to be proud of their femininity is a good thing. That no matter how loudly or graphically “The Vagina onologues” talks about extra-marital sex or masturbation, it’s not telling you to go home and do it. That it’s about love. Self-esteem. Charity. Empowerment. Domestic violence. Physical abuse. Mental abuse. It’s about all the things that have held women behind men for centuries. It wants them to stand up for themselves. It wants to stop the violence. That men are intolerant of his righteous stance – or better yet, that they count themselves as having the right to make that decision – makes me ill. There’s a reason “The Vagina onologues” is so widely accepted: It has a good heart. Anyone who can’t see that likely can’t see much else.

It’s been played in New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, London and Los Angeles. It has starred Claire Danes, Julia Stiles, Gina Gershon, Gina Davis, Calista Flockhart, Joy Behar and Swoozie Kurtz (to name a few). It won a 1997 Obie Award. Critics can’t say enough about it. The public can’t get enough of it. But it’s pornography. Right.

Of course, whether or not it should be performed at Georgetown is another question. When Georgetown censors “The Vagina onologues,” it is the end of campus theater. What blanket falls over Mask & Bauble or Nomadic that makes people forget that their shows often include scenes far more up-front and graphic than “The Vagina Monologues?” Last year, Nomadic’s “How I Learned to Drive” featured a child-molestation scene. This year’s “Bent” featured gay orgasm, performed right onstage. Nomadic’s “Equus” will delve so far into graphic material, it may never return.

“How I Learned to Drive” won a Pulitzer. “Bent” is one of theater’s most touching and treasured achievements. It’s called art, and when people can’t understand what art is, they shouldn’t be messing with it.

Another pet peeve: I hear (often from the aforementioned friend) more allusions to the male genitalia than I could hear in a football locker room. It’s perfectly fine for him to discuss. It’s perfectly fine to talk freely about the male genitalia in movies, on television, etc. It’s fine for him to like these movies and television shows. So why the hypocrisy? Why care so much when women try to be as up front about their bodies as men are graphic about theirs? Leave our rights alone, and we’ll do you the same.

Georgetown’s identity as a Catholic institution doesn’t preclude free speech. Georgetown is a place to expand on our understanding of the Catholic faith, should we wish to do so. It’s a place to study religion – all religion. It’s a place that is accepting of all cultures. Catholic institution doesn’t mean “Catholics only.” Catholic institution doesn’t mean we ostracize those who don’t accept Catholic beliefs.

At least, that’s how I’ve come to know Georgetown. It’s sad to think there are so many who haven’t. Sadder is that until they do, women are in danger. Do you think Georgetown should support that?

Melissa Anelli is a senior in the College and Senior Guide Editor of The Hoya.

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