Thursday, September 25, 2008

THE MARITAL PRACTICE & FEMINISM(II)


The Vagina Monologues is the famous episodic play of America ,written by Eve Ensler,which ran at the off-Broadway Westside Theatre and at HERE Arts Center in 1996. Later a television version featuring Ensler was produced by cable TV channel HBO . It has been performed in 76 countries .In 2003 it was first performed in India (Mumbai) and was produced by Poor-box productions .In 2004 , it was banned in Chennai . The play was translated into Hindi and was first performed in January 2007 under the title of “Yoni ki baat”. Ensler made up of a different monologues read by a different women. Initially, Eve Ensler performed every monologue herself, with subsequent performances featuring three actresses, and more recent versions featuring a different actress for every role .Later she turned it to perform annually and a new monologue is added to highlight a current issue affecting women around the world. Every monologue somehow relates to the women, be it through sex, love, rape, menstruation, mutilation, masturbation, birth, orgasm, the variety of names for the physical aspect of woman’s body. A recurring theme throughout the piece is the vagina as a tool of female empowerment, and the ultimate embodiment of individuality. In 1998, Ensler announced to change Valentine Day to V-Day stands for Vagina, Violence , and Victory, linking love and respect for women to ending violence against women and girls.
The Vagina Monologues as having a negative and restrictive view of sexuality and an anti-male bias impose a stress on hatred at men and heterosexuality. I have marked , in Western , many feminist thinkers oppose male-female sexual relationships .They describe it as negative and destructive to women, whereas all female-female sexual relationships, even one including statutory rape, are depicted as positive and nurturing .In "The Little Coochie Snorcher that Could”, an episode from Vagina Monologue, a thirteen-year-old girl recounts being given alcohol and then having sex with an adult woman; the incident is recalled fondly by the grown girl, who closes the monologue with the line, "If it was rape, it was good rape." Later, the "good rape" line was removed from the script, the girl's age was changed to sixteen, and warnings were issued to individuals putting on the play that using older scripts containing the line constituted a copyright violation and was grounds for legal action.
For many feminist thinkers, after marriage a family breeds patriarchy. Happily married women are considered false and double-crossing. The titles of popular feminist books from the early movement highlight the split between gender feminists and women who chose domesticity. Jill Johnston in her Lesbian Nation (1973), called the married women are heterosexual females 'traitors'; Kate Millett in her Sexual Politics (1970), redefined heterosexual sex as a power struggle;whereas in Kathrin Perutz's Marriage is Hell (1972); and Ellen Peck's The Baby Trap (1971), they argued motherhood blocks liberation of a woman . These feminists always try to paint the marriage as legalized prostitution; heterosexual intercourse as rape; and they come to the decision that men are the enemy; families are prisons.
In my last article, I have shown how these feminists (Betty Friedan, Germaine Greer ) have tried to skip from their anti marriage ideas in later period . Marriage is a three-sided arrangement between a husband, a wife and the society. That is, the society legally defines what a marriage is and how it can be dissolved. But marriage is on the other hand for partners of marriage, It is more of an individual relationship than a social matter .This is the main reason of crisis .Individually I think, marriage must be taken out of the social realm and fully back into the private one. The society should withdraw from marriage and allow the adults involved to work out their own definition of justice in the privacy of their own homes.
Our feminist thinker always tries to skip the idea that offspring begging is a natural instinct of a woman and it is related to our ecological and environmental situation .Anything against it may resulted to disaster ,We find , a woman has to pass through a different stage in her life span and there is a phase where a woman feels an intense need of her own offspring .Feminists of second wave feminism have always tried to pursue a woman against the natural law because it is seemed to them that motherhood is barricade for the freedom of a woman . But if the woman has her own working field , doesn’t have it mean that her working assignments would demand more of her time ,of her sincerity and of course of her freedom ? If a woman can adjust herself and can sacrifice her freedom for her own identity at out side her home, then why she shouldn’t sacrifice some of her freedom for parenting, when parenting is also a part of one of her social identity ?And it could also be solved by rejecting the patriarchal role of parenting, .We have to insist the idea of the division of labor in parenting .This equally shared parenting is now common in Western ,but still in South Asian countries we find it as a taboo factor rather because of economic inequality between men and women, our crazy work culture, and the constrictions that are placed on us by traditional gender roles.
Still in India, in majority cases it stands in sharp contrast to the traditional marriage with children, in which the man works and the woman stays home, or the ‘supermom’ marriage, in which the man works and the woman tries to balance a career with the lion’s share of the childcare and household tasks. Equally shared parenting is more than an extension of feminism; it is more than simply what is fair. Equally sharing the care of your children with your partner is about balancing your life, balancing your family's collective life and sharing equally in the joys of raising a family.
We again came to that point where we have to agree with the theory which states that economic inequality between men and women are the main barricade to solve the gender inequalities and not the marital practice or motherhood, as the Western feminist always tries to paint. Our motto should be to change our marriage system out of the political realm and fully back into the private one. The new slogan of feminism should be 'the personal is personal'

6 comments:

  1. Fantastic Article!!

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  2. in 1970 Dhulamith (Shulie) Firestone wrote THE DIALECTIC OF SEX that began the radical women's movement... her next book came out in 1998! here is the "blurb" on back of the 1970 first edition (paper) of The Dialectic of Sex:

    "What is the deepest division in nature? The biological inequality of men and women, says Shulamith Firestone in this brilliant book. But what is fact is not necessarily human. To survive in our time we must break down politically traditional sex-roles. Ten provocative chapters push Women's Liberation to a new radical peak and paint a persuasive picture of a post-revolutionary society where sexual class system has been eradicated."


    this is a MUST READ book: The Dialectic of Sex, The Case for Feminist Revolution

    two links to SF, here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shulamith_Firestone


    http://www.marxists.org/subject/women/authors/firestone-shulamith/dialectic-sex.htm

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  3. Hi Sarojini

    An excellent piece where you have dealt with many different issues.

    I have read Vagina Monologues and even listened to the interviews given onNational TV where they were restrained from Uttering the word or may be it was edited.

    apart from Vagina monologue I have my own views about woman marraige and children as all women have.

    The most important thing is independence to voice one's opinion.Does not the values of society come in at every step. On one of my arguementative sprees in MUSE INDIA I had said woman should have the right to choose motherhood which was not accepted by many readers.Many even went on to say marriage is a social contract meaning having a child is a social obligation.At least you owe to your partner was the view.I did not have the time nor the patience to explain to these readers that there are some natural instincts in a woman which enables her to love a man and want to be the mother of his child.But God forbid if any one told me you have to give me a child because it is your social obligation I would hundred times before bearing a child.
    So it goes for many things.Woman are the only species on earth perhaps who can give love unconditionally be it to a woman or a stone.We Indian women are even a class apart.We can get married to a tree also in the name of social obligation. A truely free woman is one who can define all her relationships withour fear or favour be it from the society or from the man she loves most.
    May power lie with the vagina.
    cheers Gopa

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  4. excellent article..encouraging also
    being a women, feel to introspect and do positive in future. prameela

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  5. Dear Sorojini,
    I am very glad to know about your works. I congratulate you for such marvelous research works, and I salute your courage & boldness.Kindly keep it up. Please remember what Vyasakabi told Kantakabi: "Write on, go on writing. Time shall wash away all the dirt, but the gold shall dazzle for ever." As an Oriya, I feel proud of you.

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  6. The sexual politics over the purpose and function of the female procreative and recreative organs is a struggle for control. In one way a man doesn't expereince existential castration by the liberty of the vagina to choose its partners and arenas.At the sametime the female beyond or before active reproduction doesnot have the need for the convenience of the male partner, since the support of the progeny doesnot require the expedience of two partners. Once the progeny reach a level of self-reliance the female is free to satiate her physiologican needs for her aesthetic pleasure than be constrained by reproductive processes that last months to years past the final internal gestation.

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