Published on September 4th, 2012 | by Wild Gender1
Vagina Interrupted: A Gay Dude’s Attempt to Call Out Absurdity of Anti-Choice
By Rob Conant
I am a cis, gay man, and I recently wrote and directed a short movie with a talking vagina. Honestly, the vagina isn’t really talking. We used a bit of movie magic and extensive special effects to make it appear the vagina was talking. Actually, we really just angled the camera so the actress’s face was not in the shot. Our secret’s out. But, you might be wondering, why did a cis, gay man make a movie about a talking vagina?
I was inspired by the Congressman Todd Akin’s comments on “legitimate rape.” Yes, it is true that I could never face pregnancy from a rape. I could get raped, but my body just isn’t built to get pregnant. I’ve tried. So, the question I asked myself is: can a gay man’s words give voice to a different gender, and would that voice lose any legitimacy because of the source?
I cannot stand in the shoes, or sit in the stirrups, of women who can get pregnant — from rape, consensual sex, divine intervention, or turkey baster. I don’t and cannot know that perspective. The perspective I can assume, just momentarily, is that of the male believing he can tell a female what she can or cannot do with her body. And because I am aware of the perspective I cannot take, my assumption of the role of the male who believes he can make such assertions becomes more and more ridiculous the longer I sit in it.
I do have another angle to this as well. One sliver of perspective is that of a gay man, who has experienced what it feels like for a government to tell him what he can or cannot do with his body — the Supreme Court only overturned sodomy laws in recent history, and some lawmakers aggressively want them back on the books. I was frustrated when the government invaded my right to make decisions in my private affairs. This insight provided, I hope, a window into what women experience with the pro-choice/anti-choice debate. But, I realize that anti-abortion laws have nothing to do with what a woman can or cannot do with her body. What the anti-choice laws do is tell a woman what she must do with her body. Ultimately, the government is compelling gestation and birth, as if the woman’s body is a piece of property that can be appropriated by the government using the takings clause of the U.S. Constitution (and, last I checked, anti-choice lawmakers are not offering just compensation checks as part of their proposed legislation). If we couch the argument in that context, perhaps the absurdity reaches its apex.
Thus, I wrote a short movie that attempts (I hope) to highlight, not the absurdity of the debate, but the absurdity of the fact that we have to have the debate at all.
Watch “A Vagina Monologue: Vagina Interrupted,” below.
“A Vagina Monologue: Vagina Interrupted” was produced by Full Frontal Freedom, a coalition of independent artists and media folks using creativity to promote civic engagement and discussion of current issues.
Starring: Sascha Alexander, Luke Diliberto and Evan O’Brien (@evanoobrien)
Written & Directed by Rob Conant (@RobtheCon)
Director of Photography: Blaine Dunkley
Produced by Full Frontal Freedom: Rob Conant, Conor Gaughan, Anne Thornton, Keelin Clark
In collaboration with tonofbricks
Editor: Mike Cruz (@mikecruzable)
Sound: Andrew Keh
Assistant Camera: Kenneth Billington
Hair: Gabor Heiligenberg
Dolly Grip/Best Boy Electric: Alan Tang
Key Grip: Jack Lynch
Production Assistant: Tessa O’toole
Photographer: Erik Ralston
Special Thanks: Tammy B. Georgelas, Jamie Post, Paul Donnelly, Tony Toich