How appropriate that this card shows a Victorian image; the sentiment is certainly archaic. And it appalls me, frankly, that it was shared as something humorous. My daughter, as a matter of fact, shared it with the comment:
I get how funny this joke is, but did anyone ever stop to think that this disguises rape culture? That it's a running gag that married women don't put out is a problem because half of those marriages end in divorce. Would you want to give yourself to a man who you're upset enough with to one day divorce? What if your wife wanted your holes as property? A person is never, I repeat, NEVER property. This joke would be fine if everyone got the whole depth of it.Paint me proud of my daughter!
Her post prompted a few comments, including this thoughtful one from a dear friend whom I love:
One might assume, if it is "our" vagina, that one would go out of one's way to love, nurture and care for it and the person it resides with rather than lay claim to it as territory that is now conquered. In fact if one gets that all is now "ours", it seems both parties would work hard to nurture each other for the best benefit of both parties.At first, I thought that was a lovely way of looking at it and replied: "I love that perspective!" But then as I went about my morning, I thought: but how many people who read that joke took that perspective?
None. The joke was about ownership, about rights, about power. It is a misogynistic joke and we are naive or disingenuous to think otherwise.
It is a symptom of misogyny to view women as their parts, rather than whole people. Or, conversely, to view women as a mass noun, like a forest, rather than individual trees. (This, by the way, is what Elliot Rodger consistently does in his manifesto (a document feminist studies will be reading for years, I'm sure). When he talks about women he wants to be with, he talks about their parts: blonde hair, hot bodies, never their personalities or relationships. By the end "women" is one vast indivisible entity that he hates.)
So I came back with another response:
Still thinking about this, and you know what? No. However much my husband loves me (and you know he does!), my vagina is still mine, all mine. He doesn't get to say how I treat it, what I do with it, what I *don't* do with it. He may love it, help me care for it, enjoy it (when I give permission), but it in no way is shared ownership. Sorry for the rant. (You know I hate rants.) Same goes for my boobs, my ass, my legs, my hair follicles, my toenails, my pubic hair . . . it's all mine.This is my opinion, and I'm pretty "het up" about it.
Here's my message to men: if you want your own vagina, go buy a Fleshlight.