Saturday, April 14, 2012
Support the VEA
We had sworn off doing any more vagina-related posts because the traffic they bring is just too weird, but when my overworked typist stumbled across the image above (provenance unknown, alas) on Facebook, she couldn't resist. Longtime readers know that the preferred description around here for lady people is vagina-equipped (which we're pretty sure we started using during the 2008 election). Nonetheless, we appreciate the appeal to natural law in the VEA's claim that women are endowed with their lady parts as all persons are endowed with rights to, you know, life, liberty, and blah de blah de blah. We are also totes on board with the slogan, Screw us and we multiply, and the hilarious reclaiming of the creepy Masonic emblem on the back of the dollar bill as a symbol of the might of a million vajayjays. We're down with that, obviously.
So, who'll be the Mockingjay for this fiery band of vulvalogocentrists? Who are we prepared to declare as the VEA's Soldier of the Week? Who is endowed with or schooled in the perfect combination of media-savviness and sistah-hood to deserve this honor? So many sheroes, so little time to blog them.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, who had a brilliant week this week, achieving "late-breaking adoration" and "pop cultural ascendancy" -- in addition to the global domination she has enjoyed for the past few years -- by being cool enough to catch the wave of the Hill-arious Texts From Hillary meme launched by Adam Smith and Stacy Lambe. (That's the final image in the series there on the left, with Mme Secretary's actual texts to the site's creators. Here's the concluding "thanks for the meme-eries" message from Smith and Lambe.) How good was Clinton's week? WaPo declared her the Internet's "new queen of cool." Jezebel gushed that she had managed to "make herself seem even more badass than she already was. Well played, Hillz." Shoot, even the execrable Maureen Dowd, whose psychotic anti-Clinton ravings during the 2008 primary battle earned her this blog's undying enmity, had a nearly nice column on Clinton's "newly cool image," though she couldn't resist tossing off a couple of gratuitous digs -- e.g., saying that the pictures that launched the meme make Clinton look, "as Raymond Chandler would say, . . . 'as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food.'" Ah, MoDo, you never disappoint.
Anyhoo, we take nothing away from Hillz's glorious achievement in opting instead to name actress and activist Ashley Judd the first (and perhaps only -- you know how lax we are about these things) Soldier of the Week for Vaginally Endowed Americans. Judd had a pretty awesome week, too, and not just because Becca Winstone, the character she plays on her new ABC series, Missing, added bank robbery to the impressive set of kick-a$$ skills the retired CIA agent has at her command. (Shoot, in the first episode alone, Becca garrots a guy, breaks into a jewelry store and a warehouse, gets through a couple of high-speed chases while wearing wildly inappropriate footwear, reconnects with a sultry, torch-carrying ex-lover, and does a decent job of speaking several languages. Also: She gets shot, falls into a river, and survives for episode two. Quel surprise, oui?)
Don't get us wrong. The Vaginally Equipped Americans of Roxie's World are devoted fans of Missing. It is totally formulaic and often gobsmackingly implausible, but it is utterly delightful to watch Judd's Winstone haul a$$ all over Europe in an effort to find her kidnapped son and solve the mystery of her late husband Paul's life and death. (Paul was also CIA and was killed by a car bomb ten years earlier.) The plot may not be believable, but Becca is, thanks to Judd's steely eyes and razor-sharp maternal instincts. What can we say? We think the world could use a few more vengeance-seeking soccer moms who can fight like a ninja and hack into a computer.
a mockingjay pin of her very own for her righteous response to a flood of snarky commentary and speculation about the state of her face, which has been puffed up recently by steroids she took for a nasty sinus infection. Judd used the occasion to offer up an indignant yet nuanced reply that took on the whole machinery of patriarchy and the way that public as well as private conversations about women's bodies are used to rob them of their power and dignity by reducing their personhood "to simple physical objectification." It's a smart, fiery piece that acknowledges women's complicity in the problem. "Patriarchy is not men," Judd explains. "Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. . . .It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it." Sing it, sister!
Judd didn't just write her little diatribe and go back to the business of being famous -- and beautiful. She followed up by doing a powerful interview with NBC's Brian Williams in which she talks about the experience, contextualizes it through deft comments on the hypersexualization of girls and women, and invites others, men included, to share their own "puffy-face" or "big-butt" moments, stories of being shamed or hurt by judgments about their bodies. She's also continued to bang the drum on Twitter, with a steady stream of affirmations and links to other posts (by far less famous people) on the subject. You don't follow @AshleyJudd? Well, sucks for you, sweetheart. Melissa McEwan does, and so do we, as of this week.
Ms. Judd, paws up to you, for talking back to patriarchy rather than being shamed or silenced by it. You recognized a teachable moment and used the power of your celebrity to make the most of it. Vaginally Endowed Americans and fair-minded individuals everywhere salute you for your honesty and your astuteness. You are our VEA Solider of the Week. Peace out.
(Photo Credit: Richard Drew, via)