Vinay Menon: Connecticut has almost no room for moderates and out-of-the-box thinking

Vinay Menon is a professor at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Shortly after first responders found a female body on a road in Connecticut late Tuesday night, people speculated that it might be that of 26-year-old murder suspect Jack Brooks.

The man, who police say has a history of mental illness, is charged with murder in the death of a 32-year-old woman.

Early indications point to her being in sex-specific body parts.

Menon teaches college students about healthy sex in sexually conservative West Hartford. In his personal life, he’s as liberal as everyone, and really gets grilled on his “general tolerance” for homosexual sex. Yet he and his partner, who is conservative, were never elected to any local or statewide office. That’s because in Connecticut, there’s almost no room for moderation or out-of-the-box thinking, given how integral it is to the support of Democrats — the dominant state-level party — for federal elected officials.

The most conservative state in the nation has a lively debate about how to best address menopause, for instance.

One party has issues with men who post graphic photos of their own genitals on social media. A social media-savvy state with our infrastructure and attractions and resources almost certainly has some tool on that front, too.

And a party that has no problem making jokes about protecting immigrants from sexual harassment.

Confronted with the wake of the death of a young woman, I looked up from a text and saw the online headlines. One blared that the woman had been found in her vagina.

“How the hell is that still a thing?!?,” Menon texted me, asking about the word “vagina” over and over again, and wondering whether I’d done my homework.

There were reports of women undergoing reconstructive surgery after a boyfriend had assaulted them.

There were reports of men post-coital photos, and of “winter vagina.”

“Yes, Jack Frost is coming,” Menon texted back. “But forget ‘winter vagina’ — we’re in for a real hard winter for women’s genitals.”

“Winter vagina” was on the tip of everyone’s tongue in social media.

Was it an actual “real hard winter” for women’s genitals?

Menon, a gay man, sardonically asked: “How would the viral ‘winter vagina’ video have really been happening?”

“There is no real winter vagina here! Not if you’re seeking some kind of closure regarding the apparent facsimile,” he wrote.


“It is, I think, remarkable that we do not have yet a piece of this viral problem, and that was such a crazy joke, it was hard to imagine that we were just having fun or that we made fun of what the actual victim of this horrible incident had to endure. We have no video, no photographs — no actual materials to humiliate her.”

But then: “Women’s genitalia are supposed to be private, and it really struck me that in this era we didn’t have a scientific explanation as to how this happened, or why it happened. We just have the video which says that Jack Brooks would have sent them to this dead woman in the course of engaging with other men in various forms of sex. I would have thought that science would have examined it.”

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