Women Insulted Online For Vagina Monologues Ads

Rachel Lu reports in Foreign Policy that women from Beijing Foreign Studies University faced thousands of misogynistic comments after they posted photos promoting an upcoming campus  performance of Eve Ensler’s play, The Vagina Monologues:

When 17 female students at the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), one of China’s most prestigious colleges, posted photographs of themselves holding up messages like “My Vagina Says: I Want Freedom,” they probably didn’t expect to cause such a stir on Chinese social media. The posted the photos on Nov. 7 on Renren, an online community website popular with university students, to promote an upcoming campus performance of The Vagina Monologues, U.S. playwright Eve Ensler’s controversial 1996 play. Each woman was photographed holding up a whiteboard with messages such as, “My Vagina Says: Don’t Treat Me as a Sensitive Word,” “My Vagina Says: ‘I Can Be Sexy, But You Can’t Harass Me,'” and “My Vagina Says: Someone Can Enter If I Say So.” The photos quickly found their way to many other social media websites, including Sina Weibo China’s Twitter, and generated thousands of comments — most evincing an ugly strain of misogyny.

[…] Over the past three decades, China’s reforms have transformed the country’s economic and social landscape, with women’s increasingly advertised, commoditized, and monetized in the process. Prostitution is rampant and pictures of scantily-clad girls saturate China’s Internet. While a minority spoke up in support of the girls, the photos still offended a surprisingly large number of Chinese Internet users, who viewed the students’ open discussion of as another sign China’s traditional values were going by the wayside.[Source]

Offbeat China translates more netizen comments  that degrade the women and their posters:

“After looking at their faces, I have no interest in listening to what their vagina have to say.” Netizen 赵老师在狮城  commented. “Typically, the freedom of the vagina depends on the owners’ appearance.” Netizen 杜草原 commented. Another netizen zcz志 asked: “Can’t they find a few prettier ones to do this?”

Most netizens thought these girls have crossed a line. “This is so low. Don’ they have shame?” Netizen 猫人沃尔佛V commented. Another netizen 爱之123 added: “This is disgusting. Will these girls still have the ’face’ to live on?”

Netizen 爱琳只为你 explained why she has been annoyed: “I’m not sure about what they’ve been learning at school, but being open, free and international doesn’t mean making a big deal of their private parts.”

The irony is that these negative reactions themselves prove exactly the necessity of more feminist calls in China.[Source]

Lu adds that “despite a brief ban on public performances of The Vagina Monologues in Beijing and Shanghai in 2004, the play was publicly staged from 2009 to 2011 in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen to sold-out audiences, although producers sometimes had to omit the word ‘vagina’ from the title in publicity campaigns.”