15 February 2008
Didja hear? Jane Fonda said a bad word. She and playwright Eve Ensler were on The Today Show talking about The Vagina Monologues and V-Day and how Ensler's play has been empowering women for more than a decade, how it has spawned a global movement dedicated to raising awareness of violence against girls and women world-wide.
But the message got buried in the headlines because Jane Fonda said "the c-word." Cunt. There. It's a word. The world has not come topping down because I printed it. Horses have not fallen over dead in the streets, nor children run screaming in horror to their mothers' skirts. It's. just. a. word.
I would much rather see/hear the word slip out unexpectedly (it is used in the script of the play...in fact it is chanted by cast and audience over and over again in the play) than have the speaking of that earth-shattering word bury concern of people for women (and children) who are being gang raped in Congo. But because Jane Fonda (accidentally?) said cunt, nobody is talking about rape. They are talking about how horrible Jane Fonda is for saying such a terrible word.
Within five minutes, Meredith Vierra was offering an abject apology for the offense that sensitive ears may have suffered on hearing the word. To tell you the truth, I had the show on and never noticed it. There were no explosions in Davis this morning because Jane Fonda said "cunt."
Recently 60 Minutes aired a segment about rape being used as a weapon of war in Congo. I saw a recent follow-up report. A woman in tears, having been repeatedly gang raped. Undergoing reparative surgery for the physical damage that had been done to her. She will still not be able to go home because she is now branded as untouchable because of what was done to her. Read about the situation here. Be forewared that it starts with the rape of a small child. All the more reason to read it and inform yourself.
Would that people were 1/10th as concerned about ongoing gang rape of innocent women than they will be about Jane Fonda's inappropriate use of the word "cunt." In fact, her use was quite appropriate. The whole point of using it in the play was for women to take back the term, the way gays have embraced the word "queer" and use it as a badge of honor.
We hear a lot of dialog about "family values" these days and you can just bet that there are whole groups which will recoil in horror when speaking about Jane Fonda. What will those people do about the rapes in Congo? Will they even think about them? Or will their sensitive ears be so offended by hearing a bad word that this is all they hear? Will they be so busy vilifying Jane Fonda that this little matter in Congo will be forgotten?
Ensler and Fonda had come to The Today Show to discuss the goals of V-Day this year, which Ensler explains.
Although we cannot prevent such events as Hurricane Katrina, we can be there with and for each other when they occur. We can extend our hand; we can remember those who have lost their homes, their jobs, their minds and their way. We can bring water and food and hammers and nails to rebuild the broken walls. We can support and empower the women and the men left behind so that violence does not become the solution or the norm. When disasters occur, we can stand in solidarity and make a commitment to end violence itself.
The funds raised will go to help the needs of women and will be directed toward sustainable, long-term projects that will have maximum impact and fuel growth for women and business. "We will be targeting projects that economically empower the Women of New Orleans and the Gulf South, focusing on self- sustaining businesses that are improving the economy of women as well as spreading, increasing and sustaining their wealth," explains Ensler.
Anybody want to guess which we will hear more about -- Ensler's fund-raising in New Orleans, or Fonda's use of "the c-word."