For all who know me personally, or have seen my many activist posts on Facebook, you will know that I am a staunch feminist.
I believe in equal rights for everyone. I believe that no man, no woman, or anyone of a gender-in-between, should be afraid.
I believe that we should all be aware of our privileges. We should all make ourselves aware of the different forms of oppression which holds others down. We should educate ourselves on all the many forms of sexism, racism, ableism, classism, cissexism, ageism, slut-shaming, heteronormativity, sizeism, misogyny, misandry, and queerphobia (note: more inclusive than ‘homophobia‘). Not to mention the intersectionality that can exist in all of the above.
And if some of these words are not familiar to you then see my definition fact sheet at the bottom of this post. Expand your understanding of the worlds that others live in.
One thing which made me fall deeply in love with Canada is it’s romance with human rights.
I couldn’t believe it when I found out all the wonderful things Carleton has to offer. A Womyn’s Centre, a Gender and Sexuality Resource Centre, a human rights group, and (possibly the most exciting of all) the Vagina Monologues.
For years I have heard about the feminist show The Vagina Monologues. The play was written by Eve Ensler and first performed in 1996. My only real experience of the show was a ten second clip in a really old Friends episode where Joey takes everyone to see it. Their reaction was not positive. But when I saw the first sign of the play postered up on a hallway in Carleton, I was excited.
My friend Caroline and her boyfriend Josh invited me along to see the show. And it was far more than anything I had expected. It wasn’t funny; it was hilarious. It wasn’t sad; it was deeply moving. It wasn’t well-done, it was perfect. I laughed. I cried. The talent was awesome and the audience loved every moment.
The show is made of a dozen or so monologues with different people in each one. There was lingerie, moaning, angry voices, and witty stories. Each piece had a rhythm like spoken word. Each were crammed with emotions and stories of rape survivors, genital mutilation, and victims of war. And sex-positive women, men who love vaginas, women who love to make other women moan, naming ceremonies for genitals, and women learning to love their own vaginas.
The Vagina Monologues was beautiful and funny and surprising and heart-wrenching at times. I loved the whole show and I applaud the courage and talent of all those who performed. And I am seriously considering bringing the show back to Scotland and maybe getting something set up at my university in Glasgow.
- Mini Definition Fact Sheet…
- Ableism: Discrimination and/or hatred of people with disabilities. The belief that able-bodies are the ‘correct’ or ‘most desirable’ way to move around in the world.
- Classism: Prejudice and/or discrimination on the basis of social class.
- Cissexism: Belief and treatment of transgender and/or transsexuals as inferior to cisgender people.
- Ageism: Discrimination and/or stereotyping based on age.
- Slut-shaming: The act of shaming and/or attacking a female for being sexual.
- Heteronormativity: The assumption that heterosexuality is the ‘default’ sexual orientation.
- Sizeism: Discrimination against a person based on their physical size.
- Misogyny: Hatred of women.
- Misandry: Hatred of men.
- Queerphobia: Hatred of non-heterosexual people.
- Homophobia: Hatred of homosexuals.
- Intersectionality: The concept that all forms of oppression cannot be seen as separate from each other. All are interconnected and experienced in different combinations. For example: If a black woman experiences racism and sexism, she is not experiencing them separately. She experiences sexism differently from a white woman.