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Since today is my 39th birthday, I've decided to celebrate it by doing something nice. I'm going to apologize for an article I wrote last week, which was critical of the campus diversity movement. Of course, anyone who reads my columns realizes that I criticize the diversity movement every week. But last week I really crossed the line and upset a number of feminist readers by making remarks critical of a play called The Vagina Monologues.
The criticisms of my article have been two-fold. First, I stand accused of unfairly referring to The Vagina Monologues as a "pedophilic play." Second, I stand accused of falsely claiming that last year our Women's Resource Center paid for an advertisement for the play, which read "P***ies Unite at The Vagina Monologues . . . Sponsored by the (UNCW) Women's Resource Center."
First, I admit that I did state the following in my previous editorial: "Clearly, a portion of (The Vagina Monologues) celebrates a sexual act between an adult lesbian and a thirteen year-old girl. It also recounts an interview of a six-year-old girl, conducted by the author, which asks the child what her vagina smells like."
Several feminist readers have informed me that the play has been modified so that the most recent version celebrates a sexual act between an adult lesbian and a sixteen year-old girl. Well, I suppose that makes everything okay.
Perhaps the sixteen year-old has a "right to choose" to have sex with an adult lesbian. And now, maybe feminists will support their "right to choose" to have sex with adult heterosexual males. And why wouldn't they, since most feminists already support the teenagers "right to choose" to have an abortion without their parents' consent?
Of course, the interview of the six year old (asking what her vagina smells like) has not been modified in the newer version of the play. But the feminists don't seem to take issue with that. After all, many girls have already been taught how to masturbate and how to put a condom on a banana by the time they're six. Of course, that assumes that they attend a public school.
Turning to the issue of our Women's Center's promotion of the play, here is what I wrote last week: "a poster advertisement for the play, which was paid for by the Women's Center . . . called for all "p-----s" to unite and attend the pedophilic feminist play."
Since I wrote that, I have been informed that a student who was helping to promote the play paid for the poster. In others words, the money did not come from the Center's budget. It seems that I was terribly confused by the part of the poster that said "sponsored by the Women's Resource Center." I was also confused by the fact that the voluminous complaints about the poster were directed not to the student but to the Women's Center. I should have realized that there was a breakdown in communication because the poster stayed right there at the entrance of the university cafeteria for two full days in plain view of faculty, students, and their children. I'm sure that if the Women's Center had paid for the $.49 poster, they would have rushed to move it to a different location.
Cleary, I am forced to admit that I was unfair in my recent editorial. I need to be more sensitive in the future because I plan to start a Men's Resource Center at UNC-Wilmington. When I do, I intend to sponsor a play called The Penis Monologues (to be performed on D-day, of course). And, who knows, maybe some young, overzealous male student will decide to drop $.49 on a poster reading "D***s Unite at The Penis Monologues . . . Sponsored by the UNCW Men's Resource Center." If such a sign were placed in front of the cafeteria, I certainly wouldn't do anything about it. Nor would it matter to me if the name of my center were written on the poster without my permission.
I guess the real problem is that I am getting too harsh and judgmental in my old age. I need to be more tolerant and sensitive. Above all, I need to make sure that I never use speech that is offensive to others.
Maybe I really can learn something from the feminist movement.
Mike S. Adams (firstname.lastname@example.org ) is an associate professor at UNC-Wilmington. When he argues, he usually gets in the last word. Recently, however, he asked his wife to buy him an Ann Coulter action figure for his birthday. He didn't get the action figure and his wife got in the last word.