Ah, yes: February. Valentine’s Day. This special time evokes charming thoughts of Charlie Brown’s crush on the Little Red-Headed Girl, or more recently, the somewhat less than stellar production known to some as “The V-Monologues.” Now before you accuse us of being “uncomfortable with our bodies,” please know that refusing to talk about our privy parts in public is not about discomfort. Call us old-fashioned, but we just don’t see how yakking about genitalia leads to self-esteem.

Neither do Katy Willis and her three friends--Maria Thorson, Jessica Navin and Kathleen Brennan--who were shoo-ins for our February spot.

Katy writes: “Having long been disgusted with the presence of this event on our Catholic college campus, Saint Louis University [note her radically demure mention of the ‘V-logues’ as merely ‘this event’] we finally decided last year that we should mount a protest.”

Not just any protest, though. The group decided to organize an entirely rival cultural event which would celebrate “the true mystery and beauty of the whole female person instead of just focusing on her body parts.”

Instead of “parading and thus debasing female sexuality,” their evening of music, art, dance, drama and poetry “celebrated the personhood of the woman and called for respect for her,” plus they raised money for a good cause. All donations went to the local Birthright Crisis Pregnancy Center, which provides support to women who choose to go through with pregnancies under difficult circumstances. Called "The Genius of Women,” after a phrase in Pope John Paul II's 1995 Letter to Women, this year's performance is slated for February 3rd and promises to be even more wonderful.

You may wonder whether Katy, Maria, Jessica and Kathleen consider themselves feminists? The answer is yes. As Katy explains, “Our feminism in many ways continues to hold to the same principles as the early American feminists -- Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony and the like. It supports the right and even duty of women to make social contributions other than marriage and motherhood. However, it also defends marriage and motherhood (both physical and spiritual) as a central contribution that should not be sacrificed.” Their kind of feminism also “supports modesty, not out of ‘repression’ or any such nonsense, but out of the positive sense that there's something beautifully holy in God's plan for human sexuality that deserves protection and preservation.”

The group is hoping that this year’s show will again showcase women’s "feminine genius," and instead of entering the “anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better contest,” people who attend will be spurred to develop their unique gifts accordingly.

Last year, the range and depth of the performers was impressive, from Marian hymns to comic songs, from heartfelt verse to monologues about the irritations of dating. This year, the program features traditional Indian dancers, the campus's all-female a cappella group, poets reading their own work, and much more. (The cast includes both male and female performers, in case you were wondering.)

And to drive the point home, “The Genius of Women” will run the week before the popular ‘V-logues’ are usually performed on campus.

Thanks to these February Rebels and the compelling alternative they’re offering, people will see that you don’t have to be vulgar to oppose violence against women. As Katy puts it, “Quite the contrary: we think that anyone who opposes violence against women should see that vulgarizing sexuality is itself a kind of violence to the value of a person.”

Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

If you would like to nominate a Rebel—including yourself—please submit a short personal profile and what you are rebelling against here. There is no age limit, but high school and college students will be given priority over grandmas, since grandmas, after all, are supposed to be good.




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