Tag Archives: feminism

I took my 15 year old son to see the Vagina Monologues

I know I have mentioned it before, but for those of you who are new, I am a college student at Old Dominion University.  Yes, I am almost 50.  Yes, I am working on my undergraduate degree.  What can I say, like a fine wine, I have gotten better with age….

Anyway, I started going to ODU in the spring of 2013.  I had a wonderful Professor for my Intro to Women’s Studies, and she offered extra credit points to us if we attended the Vagina Monologues being put on by some of the women at ODU.  Never one to turn down easy points (really it only cost 20.00 for two tickets, a large portion of which went to the local YWCA to fight violence against women). I talked Karol into joining me and away we went.

We really liked the production. We laughed, we cried, and even yelled!  It was eye opening, and I was especially impressed to see the quite reserved love of my life sit and enjoy it.  To be honest I had as much fun watching her reactions as I did the production itself!

I did not realize that it was an annual event at ODU until this year.  I started hearing some of my classmates and a professor (the same one that introduced me to Women’s Studies, Robin Ormiston), talking about this year’s production of the Vagina Monologues to be held Valentine’s Day weekend.  Of course I wanted to go, but Karol was traveling to visit her family in Minnesota that weekend, and I didn’t want to go alone. I started thinking about who I could invite (and would be willing to go).

I have talked about my youngest son, aka The Genius, and his feministing ways.  That boy is a feminist if ever I met one.  He is all about equity and he is incredibly intentional about his actions, particularly when it comes to race and class.  I have been teaching him since he was quite small that because he is a white male he is the most privileged type of person in this country and that he needs to use his privilege to help others achieve the same status.  Until we no longer have white privilege in this country he should use it for the benefit of people who don’t have it. This lesson has definitely struck home with him, and he is an incredible human being! I see great things in his future!

Anyway, I asked him if he would like to go to the Vagina Monologues with me and without hesitation he said , “Yes!” He then asked if his bff could come along with us.  I said sure, but please make sure her parents knew where she was going….(I did not want to get in trouble for taking a minor to Vagina Monologues without parental permission). The young lady received permission and off we went to the 2015 ODU production of The Vagina Monologues.

VM-Flyer2015

I have to admit I was a bit nervous because having seen it before I had a small inkling of what these kids were going to be exposed to.  Of course as we walked in the first thing we were asked as we gave our tickets was if we wanted to purchase Vagina lollipops. (chocolate lollipops shaped like a vagina).  The kids said yes, so I bought all three of us a vagina lollipop after I made them promise NOT to eat them at school…..(can you imagine the phone call I would get if that happened)  “Um. Ms. Rood, this is the Principal calling….ummm, there was an incident with your son and a food item today….. ummm”

I have to admit the first time the word “cum” was used, the mom in me did get a bit squinky, and I glanced over at the kids, and they had not even looked away from the stage……whew, okay that was fine, and then I relaxed.  After that I was able to remove my “mom” persona and just enjoy the fact that I was introducing two teenagers to a world of feminism and the idea that we can celebrate a body part that is often seen only as “dirty” or “smelly” or sexual.

Think about it, the slang names for a penis are strong or weapon like: rod, sword, stick, love muscle, one eyed monster, cock, etc etc. However, the words for vagina have a different feel: twat, cunt, hole, cave, gash….not the same genre of words at all.

But in the 2015 Vagina Monologues these amazing women were on stage CELEBRATING the Vagina!  Celebrating wearing a short skirt.  Talking about uncomfortable things like rape and abuse. Talking about wonderful things like empowerment and love.  Talking about Vaginas!

When it was over, I introduced the kids to some of the women actors who I knew, and congratulated the women on an outstanding performance.  When Robin asked the kids what they thought of the show, they both said an emphatic ” I LOVED IT!”

I know these kids are meant for great things!

Just so you can experience some of what we experienced I will leave you with a video of a monologue from Vagina Monologues.  If you ave some interest and time, check out videos of “The Moaner” and “My Angry Vagina”.  Both are great! In fact, it is all great. Go see a show if you ever have a chance!!

One of my favorite monologues: My Short Skirt

( I wish I had access to the one done this year at ODU, but after viewing many of these, I liked this one the best!)

I am a feminist, and I don’t hate men!

Yes, I know, that may confuse some people.  A great many people think feminists are crazy radical women who don’t shave their armpits or legs, and carry on about how men are awful human beings who don’t deserve to be alive, and should just be servants to womankind forever.  Or something like that…..

First of all, as the mother to two teenaged boys who will someday be men, and a stepmother to a wonderful young adult who is already a man, that is the farthest thing from my mind.  If I hated men, wouldn’t I see my sons (i.e. future men) in that light?

However, to be perfectly honest, if I was brave enough to deal with the negative social feedback and nasty stares from people at the gym, I would NEVER shave my legs in the winter.  I just think that extra hair would keep me warmer….. however, I shave because I am not that brave……yet.  Maybe after I turn 50 in October I won’t give a shit about the social stigma.   There is always hope……

But back to the task at hand…..discussing feminism.

I am a double major Bachelor’s student at Old Dominion University.  I was a Psychology Major and then just for fun, I took an elective called Intro to Women’s Studies.  My professor for the class was a woman named Robin Ormiston.  Robin is an amazing Professor, and opened my eyes to so many things that I knew, but never really gave deep thought and attention to before.  Well, I started to give LOTS of things deep thought and attention once I started learning more and more!

So I decided to take on Women’s Studies as a second major because I think I can do something with a degree in Psychology and Women’s Studies to make an impact on the planet in which I live. Something to benefit the lives of women and hopefully make a difference. To be honest I really want to work with women of color in some capacity, because I believe white privilege exists (a post for another day), and I have a deep desire to do something to end that and to bring all women to equal status in our society, and abroad.

So what I have  learned about myself is that I am a feminist.  I have always been a feminist, I just wasn’t sure how to articulate that in a meaningful way.  Now I can put knowledge and my education to use to stand up for what I have always believed, but didn’t know how to bring it into my way of life, or speak about it in a meaningful way.  Now I have the knowledge from classes as well as my own research to do that.

Created by http://rebeccacohenart.tumblr.com/

Created by http://rebeccacohenart.tumblr.com/

Interestingly there are many, many people who don’t share my vision, or agree with my ideas.  Last year on Facebook, someone accused me of being like the guy at the bar in Good Will Hunting.  At first I was like, that is great, he thinks I am like Matt Damon, someone who thinks for myself, and can show that I am intelligent.  Then I realized he meant I was the ponytail guy who just reads stuff and “regurgitates” it without really knowing what I am talking about.  That actually hurt my feelings.  Because I DO know what I am talking about.  I am not so simple minded that I can’t read, and research, and formulate my own opinions about things like white privilege, and the wage gap, and the horrible way the media works against women and girls, and the genocide of Native Americans and forced sterilization of poor (mostly black) women.  I am almost 50 (as I am prone to say pretty frequently).  I have spent 20 years in the military.  I have been a single mom, and  I actually owned a house in an African American neighborhood in Chesapeake Virginia for 18 months. My two boys were the only white kids in each of their classes, and to be honest I thought it was a good experience for them to be the “minority” for a change.  In fact, I only moved from there because Karol moved back to Virginia from Pennsylvania and we needed more space than my small three bedroom house,  for our newly blended family of 6.

Then in class yesterday another student articulated what I feel about feminism in a two word response.  She said she believes feminism is “Common Sense”.  It was as if the sky opened and light shone down from the heavens.  COMMON SENSE!  YES!!!

So I want to list some of the “Common Sense” ideals feminists (including myself) strive for:

Equal pay for equal work….of course

Clean water no matter where you live or your economic status…….yup

No more gendered violence…..yupper

Treating humans with respect and dignity no matter their race, gender, orientations, ethnicity, economic status, etc etc etc….absolutely

The right to live as we choose……yes

Women have the right to be in charge of their own bodies: size, shape, contraception (or not), decision to have children (or not), and most importantly have agency over what happens to their bodies……..without a doubt

Unearned privilege is a system that oppresses and subjugates and marginalizes and should be removed from society………correct

That is just a few, but truly this blog is long enough, and I can write whatever I want here, so this topic can definitely be revisited whenever I want…..MWUAHAHAHA  I have the POWER!!!!!!!

I_Have_The_Power

Thank you Robin!!!!