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Burt S., Contributions from CSMMD Writers

MEN WRITING FOR V-DAY

When I was in graduate school at IUP about 10 to 12 years ago, the women who put on the Vagina Monologues asked for men to write their own monologue about what the world would look like without violence toward women. Only about 4 of us showed up to the workshop. We decided for each of us to write his own monologue. When we showed those monologues to the organizers of that year’s Vagina Monologues they liked them so much they added them to the end of the show. Each of us men would read his monologue.

 I have been searching for months to find my script, unsuccessfully. For the sake of this blog, I have reconstructed the monologue as best I can, but it is nowhere near as good as the original:

“When I was a child I used to like to string acorns together to make bracelets and necklaces. I would tie a towel around my waist, put on my acorn adornments, and dance the hula. I loved jewelry.

“I used to cry a lot. I enjoyed crying. I watched Judy Garland movies in which she lost her man, and I cried. I would get nostalgic and cry. I would get happy and cry. Often I did not know why I was crying. I just enjoyed it.

“I knew boys were not supposed to cry, but that did not bother me. I preferred hanging out with girls. Boys seemed like ruffians to me. At school they forced me to play baseball one day. The boys in the field were calling, ‘Easy out. Easy out.’ I ran away crying. Later a teacher tried to persuade me to return by saying the boys called, ‘Easy out,’ to every batter. I didn’t care. I jumped rope with the girls. They never tried to humiliate me or anyone. They never called, ‘Easy out.’ And they never told me I wasn’t good enough or I was in the wrong place.

“When I was 12 I realized that people would not like me if I continued to cry so much. So I deliberately set aside crying. I dried up the tears and steeled myself to live a life where I would never cry. I succeeded too well. I set aside my love of jewelry. I don’t buy jewelry for myself now. Sometimes I cannot resist buying a piece of jewelry for my female friends. But not for me.

“What the world will look like when there is no more violence toward women.

“You will be allowed to be you. And I will be allowed to be me. “

We performed the piece 3 nights in a row. Men came up to me afterward to tell me how old they were when they discovered they had to set aside crying for good. Women told me they cried at my piece. My supervisor at the counseling center told me my piece moved her more than any of the women’s monologues. Of course, she said, that might be because my monologue was new to her and she had heard the others many times.

- Burt Sorkey – CSMMD

About CSMMD Admin

The Center for the Studies of Masculinities and Men's Development at Western Illinois University. Research is clear that men are in crisis, particularly men from underrepresented populations. However, considerable disagreement exists about how to most effectively support men's engagement and development, while maintaining focus on social justice. The Center for the Study of Masculinities and Men’s Development aims to provide quality scholarship, advocacy, and programming that positively influences college men’s development in a manner congruent with gender equity and social justice.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “MEN WRITING FOR V-DAY

  1. I have found there to be an amazing power to telling one’s truth, especially as a man and especially when that truth smacks in the face that which we have been taught to conform to. Taking the risk to share and be vulnerable has, in my experience, allowed other men to do the same and to do so with a sense of relief as if the act of speaking it relieves a pressure built up over time. This sharing allows our humanity to come out in a way that our day to day performance does not. It is cathartic, healthy, and necessary for us to find our way in this world in such a manner to offset the other forces directing our behaviors which are less motivated by personal growth or a healthy culture.

    Posted by sean | November 27, 2012, 4:02 PM
  2. Burt– I have to say I really appreciate your two reflections. I haven’t seen them until now. They make me miss the CSMMD meetings and talking about masculinity all the time. Whatever that is. In grad school, my cohort and I talked a lot about privilege. Your piece made me thing of mine. I identify as female but definitely have some male-r qualities. I love sports, playing and watching. I’m sort of messy. I like wearing pants. I don’t enjoy cooking or cleaning. I do enjoy crude humor and whiskey. I don’t know a thing about flowers and am not good at giving gifts. And I could really use a secretary in my life, or at least some one to keep me organized and on top of things. I do cry all the time (good things, bad things, Hallmark commercials, Disney movies, musicals) so I have that going for me.

    I think I benefitted from all of this. I think what it means is I was just allowed to be me. I’m truly grateful for that. Even so, I absolutely had times where I feel like I didn’t measure up to what was expected of me. It’s tough.

    I hope you find the peace and acceptance you sought as that little person who loved jewelry and dresses. And continue to strive for that world you spoke of. We can do it!!!

    Posted by Molly McKeogh | January 4, 2013, 8:29 PM

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