- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 14, 2004

Valentine’s Day is no longer about romance and love. According to feminist icon Gloria Steinem, “The shape we call a heart resembles the vulva far more than the organ that shares its name. … It was reduced from power to romance by centuries of male dominance.”

A few years ago Ms. Steinem and other radical feminists banded together to start a campaign to replace the traditional Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14 with their “V-Day.”

The V-Day movement seeks to “reclaim” words that make most people blush and “stop violence against women and girls.” The V-Day Web site proudly states that “the ‘V’ stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.” Perhaps “Vulgar” should also be added to the list.

In actuality, the movement’s goal is to desensitize society, especially young women, to its crude language and perpetuate feelings of victimhood among women.

The centerpiece of V-Day celebrations is emerging feminist icon Eve Ensler’s play “The Vagina Monologues.” The New York Times called Miss Ensler “the Messiah heralding the second wave of feminism.”

Miss Ensler’s play is a collaboration of interviews she conducted with women that she then wrote from the perspective of women’s private parts. Some of the scenes in the play include, “My Angry Vagina” and “Reclaiming C … .” This is obviously quite a departure from early feminists’ derision of sexually objectifying women.

One of the more controversial portions of Miss Ensler’s play is a scene in which a 13-year-old girl is given alcohol and then raped by a 24-year-old woman. In the original play, the 13-year-old says, “If it was rape, it was a good rape.” The girl then declares she will “never need to rely on a man.”

Following the backlash on Miss Ensler’s romanticized version of child molestation, the “good rape” quote was taken out and the girl became 16 years old. This lesbian statutory rape continues to be projected as an affirmative experience in the written version and in public performances.

In the fall of 2001, the V-Day movement began targeting high school girls. This year the V-Day Web site says they have no youth campaign, but offers “clever ideas that young people have implemented to support V-Day and to raise awareness and funds to end violence against women and girls.”

Some of their ideas for high school students include having a “Vagina Friendly” bake sale, designating a “Rape Free Zone” in one’s high school, and organizing an “Envisioning Group” that brainstorms what the world would be like without violence.

What high school has a designated rape area? What baked good are unfriendly to the vagina? One has to wonder if these activities are more successful in inciting snickers and embarrassment than ending violence against women and girls.

The successful V-Day College Campaign is a multimillion-dollar initiative to bring “Monologues” performances to campuses and communities all over the world. The campaign describes Ensler’s play as “incredibly important for the future happiness and safety of women worldwide.”

This year V-Day was celebrated with more than 900 “Monologues” performances and on more than 500 U.S. colleges and universities, many of them at taxpayers’ expense. One V-Day Campus Campaign participant gushed, “I relished in the fact that I was able to use the word ‘vagina’ in my everyday vocabulary. … During staff meetings and in casual conversation with college deans, I would ask if they were going to attend ‘The Vagina Monologues.’ … Because of the College Initiative, I said vagina at least a dozen times a day for two months, and I was able to reclaim it as a word.”

This is a productive way to stop violence against women?

One caveat of the V-Day College Campaign is that tickets must be sold (simply suggesting a donation is not allowed) and that student organizers should try to raise at least $6,000 for local organizations that work toward stopping violence against women and girls.

Local campaigns find many of the groups that fit this description are also abortion providers. A New Hampshire theater has earmarked its proceeds for the Portsmouth Feminist Health Center, a first-trimester abortion provider.

Nothing upsets radical feminists more than a holiday dedicated to the love and commitment between men and women. These graying bra burners rely on pitting women and men against one another to further their leftist agenda.

“In Letters From a War Zone,” feminist poster girl Andrea Dworkin writes, “We are losing. … The War is men against women.” She also argues the home is the most dangerous place for a woman to be. Miss Dworkin states, “Marriage is an institution that is extremely oppressive and dangerous to women.” The National Organization for Women urges its Web site message board members to discuss important issues, like their “best revenge against a white male.”

These are the disgruntled voices behind V-Day. The holiday is not about ending violence against women and girls. It’s about inciting young women into participating in a fictional gender war and keeping women in a state of victimhood. This phony celebration is hardly empowering and is far more harmful than a holiday of candy and hearts.

LISA DE PASQUALE

Program Director

Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute

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