Inga Muscio at the University of Iowa
I was very excited about hearing Inga Muscio, author of Cunt and Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil, speak last night. I’ve never read her books, but I’ve been wanting to forever. It’s clear that she’s a much better writer than a speaker, though an awesome writer. When she read from her written stuff, she was fantastic – funny, empowering, blunt. She really takes on the issues of racism and violence as well as the tragedy of our public consciousness. Unfortunately, in the Q&A session she said something that kind of pissed me off. She had trouble generally understanding people’s questions, but then someone asked her a question about a statement she’d made at Cornell College a few years ago, saying that abortion should be outlawed. Her response to the girl was very condescending, saying essentially that “sometimes when we hear things, we misunderstand them, but I’ll clarify your misunderstanding.” The thing is, my friend Alena was with the questioner that night and heard Inga say that as well. Then the clarification was that Inga thinks that the “vacuum machine” is a torture method and that women should avoid it. What she was trying to say, I think, is that women should use birth control or EC or what have you, but she made it sound like all abortions are performed with one method, and I also don’t like the woman-blaming subtext in saying that women who have an abortion should’ve just taken the damn pill. That’s probably not how she intended to come across, though, and it’s clear that it’s easier for her to think about things when she isn’t on the spot, so I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt though it rubbed me the wrong way. I’d definitely recommend reading her stuff, and seeing her if she’s doing a reading in your area. Next one is at Oxford, if any Brits are reading.