Is your vagina angry?

Last week I had the extreme pleasure of seeing a student performance of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. Approximately 40, brave undergraduate women participated. Far more of them were white, but there was also a handful of black women, including one of my advisees. She played the role of “The Angry Vagina.” It was a fantastic performance, she was convincingly angry, her vernacular was appropriately explicit, she checked hypothetical partners (and gynecologists) for all hypothetical atrocities. I couldn’t help feeling like she had been chosen for this role because she was black (we discussed this and she agreed), even though it also seemed like the role was inauthentically black (we both agreed as well). It didn’t seem like what any black woman I knew would say.

While I applaud Eve Ensler for her progressive theatrical piece, and I have willingly seen now a professional and student production (and left the latter happily with my “Team Rihanna” and vagina buttons), I wonder what black woman would say about sex, body image, rape and sexual assault, etc., if given the platform. I’m thinking about Tricia Rose’s phenomenal book, Longing To Tell. I am also fearing that black women are not really ready to talk openly about the issues raised in that book, that they feel protected by silence and anonymity. I see this explicitly in my current book project.

One of the interesting things about Vagina Monologues is that there is only one very recently written piece about childbirth. It was quite curiously an afterthought. I am certainly liberal enough to think that a woman’s body is not entirely reserved for  bearing kids, however would black women have omitted this altogether from our stories about our vaginas?

My vagina is feeling a little spent! 🙂 Three kids later, multiple partners in, one rape, and countless dreaded gynecological visits, I’m feeling like at the very least I should be other-bodily-part centered. Like, I would love to be more focused on my stomach, thighs, or my arms. Last night in a spirited conversation about weight loss with two other black women, one of my homegirls told me, “you know sex is supposed to help you shed calories!”  I said something like, “I’m married and I don’t have sex,” which thankfully is not true, but I wanted to say something like, “who cares about the vagina, and all activity therein, I want Serena Williams’ abs and arms not her . . . . vagina.” Damn, I don’t even have a working, blog-friendly, authentic vocabulary for it!?!

I do not think my vagina is so much angry as it is exhausted.

Tanji is a wife and mother of three. She has two boys and one girl. She lives in Philadelphia, her favorite chocolate city. She is an educator and her first “baby” is now a Howard University graduate and a Cocoa Mama.

12 thoughts on “Is your vagina angry?

  1. First of all, I laughed so hard at your title. And loved your piece. My vagina surely IS angry with me, most of all because I’m quite a bit in denial about it–and always have been. We’re Middle Eastern and we don’t EVER talk about our vaginas. Not to our mothers, not to ourselves, not to anyone. And quite frankly, not having shaved in well over a year, I haven’t seen or heard of my vagina in a very long time and wouldn’t be suprised at all if she just took off for good.

    Big smiling hugs to you.

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    1. LolOlOloLOLolOLol!!!!!! I love that. What if it were to just disappear? I’d be somewhat relived and I would most certainly treat my other parts better. FYI . . . I did just walk a mile and a half on the treadmill. Thanks for your healthy post, sorry I read it so late.

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  2. I was in church today, and a pastor I adore said that sex was our marital duty as wives and our bodies, when we got married, belonged to our husbands, and vice versa. Of course, he also admitted this us generally not an issue for the men, but he didn’t really address it for the women. I think my vagina is naturally protective-it belongs to no one but me. All other parts of me others have laid title to, but my vagina is mine. I think it appreciates that I use it sparingly, only when properly prepared so as not to harm it. Unlike other areas of my body which are used and abused to exhaustion.

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    1. hmmmmm I do not think he’s being honest when he says that it is not an issue for men. I can think of a lot of married men who don’t feel as though they “belong” to their wives. I think that is why men and women cheat . . . no? If our bodies are truly our own in marriage than wouldn’t that mean that we could have sex outside of marriage?

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      1. I think his point is that we should belong to our spouses in marriage and only our spouses in marriage, and yes, we cheat because we don’t honor that. But I don’t know if Iwant my vagina to belong to anyone else but me, even in marriage. I feel like everything else already belongs to my husband and kids – what remains mine? I think my vagina speaks for itself when it’s “not in the mood” – there is little say I have to make it comply. It will do the do but won’t act like it likes it. It’s her way of saying – oh no, I belong to me and no one else.

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  3. i love this blog!
    really funny post but so insightful too. i can think of quite a few girlfriends who feel this way: wishing there was some other biological centre or symbol of womanhood other than the vagina. it’s interesting that it’s such a ‘tired’ body part considering that it’s really not talked about enough and there are so many nicknames for it…anything to avoid actually saying the word VAGINA. lol

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  4. My vagina is still trying to reclaim a sense of self-possession and modesty after having been subject to the child birthing experience. After the gazillionth cervical check, it was like, “hey–does anybody else wanna come take a look? Anybody? Anybody?”

    Great post, Tanji!

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