Sunday, January 29, 2006

That Takes Ovaries

This afternoon Mom and I met friends to see "That Takes Ovaries," a play at our local community college. Our entourage consisted of 3 men, 3 women.

The book of narratives that the play is based on, edited by Rivka Solomon, is probably one I'd enjoy. The play was tauted as
"a bold, gutsy, brazen, outrageous and courageous collection of real-life experiences and first-person dramatic narratives from women and girls. This 90-minute play is packed with true tales of estrogen-powered deeds that range from playful and sassy to political, including women fighting for their human rights."
It was all that, yes. Each actress did an amazing job of performing their assigned narrative. Some were hilarious and shocking: a woman confronting a burglar in her home wearing nothing but a t-shirt (no panties!) and reducing him to tears by shaming him with a picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. Another tale of a young girl, who with her girlfriends, stops a long-time highschool ritual of the boys scoring 1-10 on each of their body parts as they walked by.

So, there were empowering tales and some heartbreaking tales. It was entertaining, and interesting. I laughed. I cried.

What I strongly did NOT like about the play, and about a lot of "women's empowerment" messages that we encounter, is that there was no tale in which any man was portrayed in a positive light. They were burglars, pimps, abusive boyfriends, abusive husbands with knives, guns and strength.

I was more than a little uncomfortable and embarrassed to have invited my male friends to a play in which the underlying secondary message seemed to be "men are shit." I'm positive that had the genders been switched in the play, if I'd had to listen to men tell tales of women portrayed only as catty, loose, nagging, money-grubbing shrew-bitches, I'd have stormed out in an indignant huff before the play's end.

There are a few women in my life that like to occasionally get on that "there are no good men" bandwagon: "they're sexist, they're pigs, they're never faithful..." and I'd like the Gentlemen in the room right now to know this: I have NEVER sat still for this blather. Though I'm usually one to sit back and quietly let idiots reveal themselves, I have to voice my opinion on theirs: "Hogwash!"

Sure, women have to empower themselves against the bad guys. Against unequal wages. Against sex discrimination. Abuse. Violence. But there's no reason to walk all over the good guys to find that empowerment. We have to also acknowledge, ladies, one other important fact:

Women sometimes have to empower themselves against other women.

There, I said it. Now THAT took ovaries!

Seriously, who among us hasn't been hurt or betrayed by a close or not-so-close female friend that should have been standing by us? I, and most of my female friends, at one point or another, have had to cut loose other women in our lives for our own sanity.

One close friend of mine chose to end a lifelong friendship after her children were repeatedly seriously injured by the other's children, with no repercussions, no end in sight. The friend spurned harassed her via telephone and doorbell, and went so far as to case the neighborhood and look in her windows during the day while the kids were napping.

A tough time for her; she was empowered by her female friends, and by her best male friend: her husband.

Men Hurt Women. Women Hurt Women. Men Hurt Men. Women Hurt Men.

But so also do we love and support one another. And maybe YOU can find empowerment on your own, and maybe I can too. But's it's sure a hell of a lot easier with a little wind under your wings from both your male and female friends.

So. To Mike, Atef, and Ilaiy:

Thanks for being such great men and such great friends. Thanks also for being such good sports this afternoon; it was for a good cause. I should have stayed for open mic and said all of this on stage.


  1. but you've said it here, with the potential for a much larger audience attracted by your amazing abilities with words. A powerful message delivered with an even hand. Thanks.

  2. Well I think I was expecting more of a play then people narrating there experiences.

    It was fun though ..


  3. I enjoyed the play and there were definitely some touching parts...but, I completely agree with you here on the "men-bashing" and - really, everything else you said. You've made some wonderful points here.

    And don't worry - Mike wasn't listening to what those "rambling women" were saying anyway...

    (I'm kidding of course!!)

  4. Bravo! Awesome rant! I confess, i've been a good guy and a not so good guy and occasionally a right bastard but I like to think I try my best to be good. Thanks for the encouragement. :-)

  5. You go girl! Loved this post. Thanks!

  6. OH & I like the new photo. You look so different in each one!

  7. SS: Thank you dahlin, for not mentioning that I was totally bluffing about the mic; I would have frozen up and stood there drooling on stage [no alcohol served at the play!]

    Ilaiy: You're all full of liberal female culture now. Your welcome.

    Momo: You and Mike are perfect examples of strength, friendship, and love.

    Andy, another guy that's put a little wind beneath my wings. Always glad to put out a good word for you!

    Wendy, thanks; I'm sure you're raising a lot of good guys [with cute haircuts to boot].

    And, thanks for the compliment; I figured the glamour pic was essentially false representation. Plus, I got new glasses to show off.

  8. For my part I think the new pic is even sexier than the firt one. You go girl! Hot hot hot!

  9. Nicely written.
    I do always love to get on that bandwagion when it coomes round though. Just for abit :-)

  10. Awwww, thanks - you had me crying on that one! Sniff.

    And I loooo-ooo-uuuuv the new pic!! Those glasses are GRRRRReat!!

  11. Sorry I typed that in a frenetic hurry, too much to do today, and it's all driving me nuts!
    By the way you look terribly clever in that new pic, I'm all apologetic about how to approach you ! :-)

  12. I get So Frustrated at women who insist the only way to find our own strength is to put men down. Yes, I have had my "boys are stupid" moments ~ and I am also the woman my male friends call when they want a straight answer about another woman because I am More than willing to say "No, she was completely psychotic in that moment, you're not crazy." People can be crazy, stupid, cruel, loving, supportive, caring, indifferent, nonchalant...Gender is irrelevant. And it makes me crazy when women think that we have the market on being decent people. *sigh* Of course, that and a buck fifty...

  13. Ha! Ilaiy's comment is so . . . circumspect.

    Yeah, I've found this to be the case with "The L Word." There are NO good men on the show, and the hetero ment get the worst portrayals. At least on "Queer as Folk" there is balance.

    "Steel Magnolias"? No good men. But "Thelma and Louise," that so-called "man-hater" movie? Two wonderfully kind men. So there you go.

    I've often said that I'm a universal hater. I've met some crappy, lying, cheating, abusive men in my life, but the meanest, craziest, most hateful person I've ever had to suffer was my grandmother.

    And what many women seem to forget is that throughout history most every patriarchal, bigotted, violent man had a mother or wife at home, packing his lunch and giving him a kiss as he left the house to do that raping and pillaging.

    Yes, a man got Hester Prynn pregnant; yes a council of men sentenced her, but who else was standing around, condemning, judging, and verbally cutting her to shreds? The town's women.

    So, bottom line: People suck. Gender has nothing to do with it.


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