Friday, November 09, 2012
I do not have a vagina, nor will I ever have one. I have made my peace with the plumbing God gave me. Phew. I'm glad that we got that cleared up right away.
Still, vaginas have been in the news lately --really -- in part because of the controversy over a new book by an evangelical Christian writer named Rachel Held Evans, a committed evangelical Christian, who also identifies as a feminist and a liberated woman. The book is called A Year of Biblical Womanhood.
Evans became interested in the rise of "complementarian" ideas of gender, and the movement for a return to an ideal of "biblical womanhood." The best I can figure, this means guys should be guys and gals should be gals and none of this gender confusion -- ie, equality. Evans spent a year, trying to take the Bible's instructions for women as literally as possible. That included covering her hair, obeying her husband and camping out on her front lawn during her period. She is a clever, funny writer and far from subservient, but she decided to give this a whirl. She ended up talking about the book with Jian Ghomeshi on CBC's Q. http://www.cbc.ca/q/blog/2012/11/06/what-does-the-bible-ask-of-women-really/
The trouble is, she mentioned her vagina in the book, and now she wonders if it has been banned (the book, not her vagina) from the lucrative shelves of many evangelical bookstores in the States. And here I thought evangelical women were allowed to have one! The bookstore chain in question claims this is not true, but who knows.
It all sounds rather goofy to me, and a sad example of the bizarre conservative Christian negativity about sexuality, particularly when it comes to women. That said, you have probably never heard the word vagina in your church, at any time, ever. And of course, this ambivalence isn't restricted to conservative Christians. Naomi Wolf's latest book is Vagina: A New Biography (I couldn't make this stuff up!) and she has been criticized for broaching the subject. Wolf, bye the bye, is Jewish.
I'm really not trying to be glib about this. Should the V word be left out of popular writing, religious or otherwise? Are we just terribly conflicted about our sexuality, especially women's sexuality? Are you still trying to deal with my admission that I don't have a vagina?