Labia Sagrada

The Vagina Dialogues

Jordan Rodas, the head of Guatemala’s national human rights office, can’t seem to catch a break. He caught flack the month of March for getting out into the big wide world, doing his job, and occasionally getting photographed while doing it.

His offense? Marching on International Women’s Day to advance the cause of female empowerment and commemorate the girls who died in the Hogar Seguro fire a year ago. Feminism is large, and it contains multitudes, and so it was that some of those marching brought a very striking sign along with them — the pink lips of a vulva, shaped in the unmistakeable outline of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Jordan Rodas got himself photographed with this sign in the background, and his political enemies lost their shit. Congress issued a citation that demanded he come before them and testify (that citation was later blocked by the Constitutional Court). The Catholic Church declared the whole affair vulgar and offensive to women.

Is it surprising that people got steamed about this one? I mean, why would you make a sign like that? Maybe the Virgin is the ultimate symbol of the feminine in this deeply Catholic place.

Maybe sexualizing bodies and reacting to genitals with reflexive prudishness advances machista culture and an myopic Christianity that can’t recognize an emancipatory project when shows up in marches by the millions around the globe.

There’s some reason in there. But it’s bad optics, in a Latin American country, to combine the Virgin with a vagina. The people don’t like it. We recommend that Jordan Rodas refrains from gettting photographed with Piss Christ, or any editions of Charlie Hebdo. Y’know, all the obvious sacrileges.

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