Q: Hi, my name is Joseph Chad Stevenson.
I just wanted to thank the panelists and also say that I feel compelled to express my dissatisfaction with this event.
First of all, I realize “An Evening with Eve Ensler” is primarily a vehicle for the author to discuss her latest book The Apology—a book that all men should read. I haven’t, but the review I heard about promised that The Sorry Book was as close as many women would ever get to hearing someone apologize to them. Which I think is great. But I thought this event would be more of a restorative communal experience of forgiveness than it has been.
Before I get to my question, and lest you doubt my experience with the subject matter, I’d like to pass around a photo of my most recent sculpture exploring my feminist feelings on the subject of violence against women. Venus de Mangled is currently on display downtown in the abandoned Planned Parenthood building as part of the Women Shape Society exhibit that I had the honor of single-handedly curating and also visiting.
Because I value your time and emotional labor, I won’t recount every performance I’ve seen of The Vagina Monologues in chronological order while I contextually correlate each phase of my development as a feminist. So I’ve put together this bound report that my fellow audience members are so generously handing forward. Within it I’ve cited multiple intersectional texts and included a coupon for my Ladies! Empowerment! Now! Workshop!
Anyone who mentions this event when reserving a spot will receive a limited-edition tampon cozy because where you are in YOUR menstrual cycle is YOUR business.
But enough about my credentials, which are copious. My criticisms of tonight’s events are as follows:
The moderator—who I’d never define by her looks, so let me just say that she’s like a younger, blonder, thinner, and tighter version of Eve—asked Eve a barrage of questions. The dialogue between the two women was inspiring, though it was an inordinate amount of talking. And was the moderator really necessary? Do you think the audience can’t appreciate Eve’s defiant eroticism without a foil? “Foil” is a literary term. My roommate Doug is the AV guy tonight, and as you can see on the screen, he added a slide of the more erudite vernacular that I use casually should any attendees need assistance understanding my question.
Now I’d like to share a poem I’ve written.
Wait, why did the audience just gasp? Is this an attempt to mass-asphyxiate me, a man asking a question? I can hear several other women shouting, “This is really not appropriate,” but I’m choosing to ignore them, except the woman next to me mumbling, “Oh, here we go,” whom I’d like to thank for her solidarity in facing what is clearly the result of a town-wide synching of menstrual cycles.
What is that voice in the back of the room screaming? “Sit your entitled ass down”? Excuse me! I thought we were here for a dialogue. And I’ll remind you that the moderator, whose name is beside the point, said in her opening remarks, “This is a safe space for men.”
Well, I don’t feel safe right now.
Can you not recognize that it is your own internalized misogyny shouting threats to me? Threats that are preventing me from plugging my not-yet-completed final volume of my memoir, MeTooToo!: My Side: A Man’s Memoir.
I’ve been recording my question this whole time as I’d planned to post Eve’s reaction to my poem on my Instagram stories. So I’ve fortuitously captured many of you Beckies hurling your word-pitchforks and literal books at me.
Look at this gash! This will leave a scar that I will someday channel into an allegorical play where I’ll replace this social construct with that of a farm.
Even if I hadn’t already given my copy of The Answers to my neighbor’s daughter—a lovely girl on the cusp of womanhood—I wouldn’t hurl it in anger. I refuse to put more division into the world. Unless the festival organizers would be interested in a contemporary dance interpretation of this evening for next year’s event?
My full media kit—including a video of my forthcoming TED talk (on submission) focusing on my experiences as a brokerage doula—is available on my website, which is available online.
I notice Eve has left the stage, doubtlessly headed to her next obligation as we’ve extended well past the ending time for this event. Another note for the organizers: allocate more time for Q&A.
I see many people still waving to get my attention, so I’ll be in the parking lot taking questions and offering free critiques of your dating profiles for the next thirty minutes.
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