When I first went to see The Vagina Monologues, I had no idea what to expect. I should not have been surprised to find that it was a collection of monologues about vaginas. The Vagina Monologues was first written in 1994 by Eve Ensler and is based on dozens of interviews. The play addresses issues with sexuality, rape, and violence against women. What is so powerful about TVM is not only the array of topics which are openly addressed, but the contributions the production makes to the V-Day campaign. The movement was established on Valentine’s Day in 1998 in New York City. The mission of V-Day is to end violence to women and girls around the world. As part of V-Day, proceeds from The Vagina Monologues are directed to local organizations that work to end violence against women and girls. Here in Moscow, the production of TVM benefits Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a novel dating from the late eighties that I read recently with my book club. I’ll be honest, it wasn’t the most fantastic book I’ve ever read, but it certainly made me think. It tells the story of Offred, a middle aged woman who is struggling to find her place in a society in transition. This novel was fairly dystopian, but what made it different than other dystopian novels that I’ve read is that I felt like this is something that I could see happening in my lifetime, practically at any moment. It was realistic, and it said something about American culture that scared me.Continue reading “Positive and Negative Liberty and The Handmaid’s Tale”→
Relationships have the potential to enrich and add enjoyment to our lives. However, relationships can also cause discomfort and can even cause harm emotionally and physically. An unhealthy relationship can cause frustration, heartache, and worry. A healthy relationship should bring more happiness than stress into your life. Every relationship has healthy and unhealthy characteristics.
Euripides’ play Medea follows the life and tragedy of an ancient Greek sorceress whose jealousy and passion drive her to commit unimaginable crimes. In the traditional version of the play (which, to be honest, I have only read on SparkNotes), Jason, Medea’s husband, decides to marry another woman. Medea’s heartbreak quickly turns violent; she first kills Jason’s new wife and her father, and then her own children, leaving Jason with no one. Obviously, Medea is not the most warm or nurturing mother. She is often perceived as a monstrous woman, ruled by unbridled passion and out of control emotions. Euripides is celebrated for his complex characters and Medea is certainly one of them. However, U of I’s Medea: Her Story takes the complexity of this character to a new level, providing us with a new version of the play that allows Medea to reclaim the story as her own. Continue reading “U of I’s Heartbreaking and Original Medea: Her Story”→
In “American Male,” a short film written and directed by Michael Rohrbaugh, a persona is created: an American male college student who is tough, fit, aggressive, and definitely not effeminate. The short film applies a narrative of the different expectations our society has for men and women. This young man is struggling to come to terms with his identity and sexuality within the narrow confines that society provides. The context of this short film is an important discussion, as forms of toxic masculinity arise and have lasting effects for men and societal ramifications for everyone.
It seems like there has finally been a remark from Donald Trump so outrageous that the elephant’s back has been broken. “Grab them by the pussy,” Trump said on a hot mic in 2005, while explaining to former Access Hollywood host Billy Bush that his star power allowed him to “do anything” he wanted to women. Since video of the exchange spread across the internet, the GOP’s response, for once, has been swift and severe. But why did it take Trump insulting white women for the GOP to care about his presidential qualifications? Instead of their usual backpedaling, top Republican officials have clamored to disavow both the candidate and his comments, calling for Trump to withdraw from the race entirely.
His entire campaign, after all, has posited itself as a harkening back to the Good Ol’ Boys Club when men, both in private and public, could freely exchange quips about a woman’s body without fear of collective backlash. For the last year and a half — and indeed, for far longer as the candidate’s history has revealed — Trump has been the rich sleaze in the corner of the bar rating women as they walk in; he is the president of the Boys Club. He has unapologetically and irrevocably been ‘The Donald.’ And up until this week, the GOP has largely appeared unconcerned by that.