As a junior high school teacher in a California public school system, I find that we k-12 teachers aren't usually in the front lines of "what's new" in academia. That's why I was surprised to learn from Number 2 Pencil that there is a holiday that has been, for the last few years, observed on college campuses around America. It's called V-Day, and has its own website. From the National Review:
V-Day ["V" is for Vagina] has now replaced Valentine's Day on more than 500 college campuses (including Catholic ones). The high point of the day is a performance of Ensler's raunchy play, [The Vagina Monologues] which consists of various women talking in graphic, and I mean graphic, terms about their intimate anatomy. The play is poisonously anti-male. Its only romantic scene, if you can call it that, takes place when a 24-year-old woman seduces a young girl (in the original version she was 13 years old, but in a more recent version is played as a 16-year-old.) The woman invites the girl into her car, takes her to her house, plies her with vodka, and seduces her. What might seem like a scene from a public-service kidnapping-prevention video shown to schoolchildren becomes, in Ensler's play "a kind of heaven."
At Roger Williams University, in Rhode Island, the celebrations had some...er...ummm.. local flavor:
The week before V-Day, the Roger Williams campus was plastered with flyers emblazoned with slogans such as "My Vagina is Flirty" and "My Vagina is Huggable." There was a widely publicized "orgasm workshop." On the day of the play, the V-warriors sold lollipops in the in the shape of--guess what? Last year, the student union was flooded with questionnaires asking unsuspecting students questions like "What does your Vagina smell like?"
None of this offended the administration or elicited any reprimands, probations, or confiscations.
But what happens when the Politically Correct find that the tables have been turned? A group of students not only have lampooned V-Day, but also The Vagina Monologues. They did this by fabricating their own holiday, P-Day and its attendant play, The Penis Monologues
. The students have even devised a friendly-looking mascot "penis" named "Testaclese" (see photo gallery
) who moves about campus in order to raise awareness of "male issues:"
The P-Day satirists are the first to admit that their initiative is tasteless and crude. But they rightly point out that V-Day is far more extreme. They are shocked that the administration has come down hard on their good-natured spoof, when all along it has been completely accommodating to the in-your-face vulgarity of the vagina activists.
The campus conservatives artfully (in the college sense of "artful") mimicked the V-Day campaign. They papered the school with flyers that said, "My penis is majestic" and "My penis is hilarious." The caption on one handout read, "My Penis is studious." It showed Testaclese reclining on a couch reading Michael Barone's Hard America, Soft America.
The reaction from the university's administration was predictable:
"Testaclese" tipped the scales when he approached the university Provost, Edward J. Kavanagh, outside the student union. Apparently taking him/it for a giant mushroom, Provost Kavanagh cheerfully greeted him. But when Testaclese presented him with an honorary award as a campus "Penis Warrior," the stunned official realized that it was no mushroom. After this incident, which was recorded on videotape, [see hilarious pictures here and here] the promoters of P-Day were ordered to cease circulating their flyers and to keep Testaclese off campus grounds. Mindful of how school officers had never once protested any of the antics of Vagina warriors, the P-warriors did not comply. The Testaclese costume was then confiscated and formal charges followed.
It is easy to understand why school officials would not want a six-foot phallus wandering around campus; nor why they would ask students not to paper the college with posters describing all the things it likes to do. But that is just the sort of thing the vagina warriors have been doing, year after year, on hundreds of campuses. In fact, P-Day at Roger Williams was mild by comparison. Wesleyan College hosted a "C***" workshop; Penn State held a "C***"-fest. At Arizona State, students displayed a 40-foot inflatable plastic vagina.
It was not confiscated and no one was ever threatened with probation.
The rebels at Roger Williams are talking about a Free Testaclese Fund. And word is spreading to other campuses. P-Day and Testaclese will be back next year. And not just in Rhode Island.
Once again, as we can see, there is free speech for some, but not for others. Sounds like the bunch that preaches "tolerance" to the rest of us has been caught being intolerant yet again.
Those that would engage in censorship would do very well to remember that the First Amendment wasn't designed to protect the speech that you love, but the speech that you hate.
As for larger-than-life body parts, maybe there would be an audience for a play that features Testicles and his 40-foot inflatable female counterpart. It could be called: Size Doesn't Matter: Non-PC Male Finds Happiness With PC Female.
Related Commentary: Joanne Jacobs states "What's OK for the goose should be OK for the gander," and Critical Mass, which is written by a college instructor, offers some great insights.
This whole episode reminds us of a related post.
The Education Wonks