Take Back the Oppression

We know, we know, we're maybe the last to blog about this, but we wanted to do it a little ceremoniously in honor of today's beloved holiday.

As you may have heard, the Independent Women's Forum is organizing a "Take Back the Date" Campaign. That's right, the language is supposed to remind you of that venerable campus movement that has transformed many a young women's experience at higher educational institutions. But what they are actually seeking to counteract is V-Day; they want to take the vagina out of February 14th.

Their motives are, in a word, to counteract the male-bashing and sexual freedom on which the Vagina Monologues and its offspring have built their strength. What the IMF misses though, and is so clear to us, is that their reported discovery of the prevalence of "random hooks ups" at colleges and universities says less about the impact of feminism on campuses, but in fact more about the pervasive dearth of it there.

We wish the IMF and the "Take Back the Date[rs]" would just come out and say what they actually mean: We need to "free cupid," "restore chivalry," and sit around expecting flowers (all their messages) in order to return to the time when women found their husbands at college. If instead they attend, achieve advanced degrees, and graduate single, we will have society running amok! Right? Damn, just SAY it.

We've decided that this V-Day what we are going to advocate resurrecting is not arcane gendered ritual but Veronica A. Shoffstall's powerful 1971 feminist manifesto of independence, "After a While":

After a while you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul and you learn that love doesn't mean leaning and company doesn't always mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts and presents aren't promises and you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes ahead with the grace of woman, not the grief of a child,
and you learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much so you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth.

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