Last night I accompanied a workmate to a production of "That Takes Ovaries!" a dramatization of several of the stories from the book of the same name. A friend of my workmate was in the production.
A woman had once given me this book, a collection of true stories of courage told by various women. The title is a play on the phrase "That takes balls." While I agree with the sentiment, I confess the phrase makes me cringe. I'm not into the whole Vagina Worship movement, I'm sick of women's power being couched in a need for
"healing," and I'd like the word "goddess" stricken from feminist vocabulary except in hyperbolic or ironic use.
I'd found the book patchy --sometimes inspiring, sometimes not --so I was dubious about the entertainment value of the show. I was happily proven wrong. Despite the occasional tendency of the young women in the show to equate "emotional" with "tearful," the dramatization of the stories gave them a whole life and dimension they didn't have in the book, perhaps because women share and bond through conversation and storytelling anyway, and the verbal tradition is powerful. At any rate, the show was very good; it was presented simply, as a series of monologues.
To my surprise, there were many men in the audience, and the editor of the book was there also. She is from Boston and she looked hugely familiar, although that could have just been her uncanny resemblance to a roommate I once had in Allston, who used to bring men home from the Rathskeller and have loud sex that sounded like the Gorey damsel in distress at the beginning of PBS' Mystery!
After the show they had an open mic where people were invited to share their stories of courage, or of women in their life who had done something remarkable or strong. The first three people up were men who talked about mothers or grandmothers or wives, and it was fun and free of cloying sentimentality.
My co-worker nudged me and said I must have something, so I got up and stood in front of the room and shared my decision to get my tubes tied ("FYI, you get to keep The Girls, they just don't get to party"). I talked about the prejudices I'd faced, not only socially but also from the medical community, and the difficulty in finding a mate, but mostly I talked about the amazing support of my wonderful friends, who always defended me to critics, and who provided me with a surprise No Baby shower complete with uterus pinata. It was a good, fun time. I felt like Oprah.