Letters to the editor

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Public discussions of female sexuality frequently end up objectifying and essentializing women. Our goal in organizing the Vagina Carnival and Activist Fair is to combat this negative atmosphere by creating a public forum where female sexuality can be addressed in a positive and empowering way. We are trying to transform the context in which these issues are discussed. This transformation is hindered when elements are then taken out of context and misconstrued as objectifying (for example, the Jan. 25 edition of nyou’s “In the News”).

V-Day, Feb. 10, is a national initiative to promote a dialogue surrounding female sexuality and to raise awareness about violence against women. The Vagina Carnival and Activist Fair attempts to address both components of V-Day’s objectives. Organizations presenting at the Activist Fair will provide information on various causes and volunteer opportunities pertaining to sexual violence and other related issues.

The Carnival (focusing on positive female sexuality) comes in conjunction with it because we do not believe that every non-objectifying discussion of female sexuality has to be based solely on woman as survivor. Women should have positive sexual agency. We want to promote women reclaiming their sexuality, being comfortable with it, making the decisions surrounding it and celebrating it.

The idea of a carnival is to create a lively and exciting atmosphere where women and men can learn about, discuss and use creative media to explore issues of female sexuality. The games, activities and performances are each designed with a specific intent that will be clearly illustrated at the event. Examples of activities have been prematurely and incorrectly advertised because no definitive list currently is available, because we are still in the creative process.

As for the activities that we are developing, they may be provocative, they will push the envelope. They won’t be something that you’re used to — but we’re trying to create a new dialogue. That’s the point. And we understand that you’re curious — in fact, we hope that you are. But the only way to find out is to participate. Speculation, my dear, will get you nowhere.