Beyond The Vagina Monologues: getting men involved
by Chloe Angyal
Well, The Vagina Monologues 2009 are over. But the violence against women continues, and, as such, so will the work of the V-Day campaign and of countless other organizations around the world. Monologues author Eve Ensler has started V-Men, an organization for men who want to contribute to ending violence against women. V-Man Mark Matousek writes:
It became clear to me (as it already was to Eve) that violence against women was not merely a female issue; it was a human dilemma twisting the lives and consciences of men as well; men whose voices needed to be heard in order for the dialogue that began ten years ago with the founding of V-Day to be complete.
With V-Day celebrating its ten year anniversary, and the war on female violence nowhere near won, we can no longer afford to keep men's voices out the conversation. Writing "Rescue" was life changing for me. I learned that you don't have to be a woman to suffer from misogyny. So, if you're a man with a story to tell, please send them our way. This column is your place at the table. We welcome your testimonies here. It's far too late in the day for male guilt by association. There's only one team in the human race.
I'm really glad Eve has done this. Many of my male friends who were in the audience this weekend found the play far too anti-men, and felt that they were being personally blamed for the violence inflicted on women by other individual men. Of course, culture is omnipresent and we're all a part of it, even if we don't agree with it; we are all members of a culture that condones and facilitates violence against women, even if as individuals we've never hurt a fly. My hope is that the V-Men initiative will bring into the movement those men who were disturbed by the violence they heard described on stage this weekend, but who were still more disturbed by the implied accusation that they are partly to blame for it. By joining this movement, those men, those individuals who have never hurt women and who abhor a culture that does, can help us to make change.