Even if you've never seen or read The Vagina Monologues — the American play in which women recite stories about sex, masturbation, pap smears, childbirth and more — the name alone gives away how progressive it was when it premiered in s New York. The taboo-busting work, written by Eve Ensler, sparked frank conversations about the female anatomy and brought them to more than countries in performances by celebrities and community theatre troupes alike. Two decades ago this year, the play also gave birth to V-Day , a global activist movement geared towards ending violence against women and girls.
A lot has improved for women since its inception — talking about sexual violence has been normalised, with the MeToo movement the logical escalation of this, and we accept that it's empowering for women to be well acquainted with their sexual and reproductive organs even if there's still a long way to go on this front.
But the pace of progress isn't fast enough — and the feminist playwright and activist now seems even more impatient than she was in the s. When I began no one said the word anywhere. Not on TV or radio or in schools or at home and even at the gynaecologist," Ensler told Refinery Related Stories. There was a time before it and there will be a time after, but we need to get at it on many levels, some that we cannot even see yet or touch. The Vagina Monologues touches on a whole gamut of themes that arguably make it even more germane in than it was in , given the pop-cultural cachet now afforded to feminism.
Not to mention, there remains a political threat to women's reproductive rights in many countries: consensual and nonconsensual sexual experiences, body image, genital mutilation, reproduction and sex work, to name just a handful. But Ensler's original intention wasn't necessarily to overthrow the global patriarchal order.
What compelled me to write The Vagina Monologues was curiosity. I was talking to a friend one day about menopause and she got on the subject of her vagina. I was surprised to hear her, a feminist, talking with such contempt and disappointment about her vagina. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book.
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Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler ,. Gloria Steinem Foreword. I decided to talk to women about their vaginas, to do vagina interviews, which became vagina monologues At first women were reluctant to talk. They were a little shy. But once they got going, you couldn't stop them. Women secretly love to talk about their vaginas. They get very excited, mainly because no one's ever asked them before. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages.
Published May 3rd by Virago Press Ltd. More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Vagina Monologues , please sign up. Eva If you have eyeballs then absolutely, positively read this book. It's for everyone! See all 6 questions about The Vagina Monologues….
Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Nov 12, Warwick rated it did not like it Shelves: drama , gender-stuff. My vagina is a shell, a round pink tender shell, opening and closing, closing and opening. My vagina is a flower, an eccentric tulip, the center acute and deep, the scent delicate, the petals gentle but sturdy.
No it isn't. It isn't a flower, it isn't a tulip, it isn't a shell or a piece of coral or an exotic orchid. It's a tract of epithelial tissue, just like everyone else's. Don't get me wrong, vaginas are lovely — I'm a massive fan — but these monologues represent the sort of facile, pseudo- My vagina is a shell, a round pink tender shell, opening and closing, closing and opening.
Don't get me wrong, vaginas are lovely — I'm a massive fan — but these monologues represent the sort of facile, pseudo-feminist waffle that is actually anti-feminist. First of all, it's questionable that reducing women to their vaginas can really be helpful in the first place; but since that's the premise of the whole thing, I won't go on about it. It's just utter bullshit from start to finish. Or it's not what I believe, anyway: I think women are just normal people, same as men are. Why can't someone write a play about that revolutionary idea.
I do feel bad slagging this off, because the stories in here are clearly meaningful for the people that experienced them, and maybe if you have had a certain kind of upbringing then this might be useful or liberating. I don't want to devalue the positive experiences some people have obviously found here. Particularly when I don't have a vagina myself. But Christ, it's all so po-faced and earnest and humourless. My wife has never seen it staged but she started the book and threw it across the room on page The passage that finally finished her: My vagina amazed me.
I couldn't speak when it came my turn in the workshop. I was speechless. It was better than the Grand Canyon, ancient and full of grace. It had the innocence and freshness of a proper English garden. It was funny, very funny.
Why V-Day Started | V-Day: A Global Movement to End Violence Against Women and Girls Worldwide.
It made me laugh. It could hide and seek, open and close. It was a mouth. It was the morning. OK, this book isn't aimed at me. And it's probably not cool to borrow Hannah's reactions to try and make my own review seem more valid. Maybe it's a generational thing. View all 96 comments. Paulina Salcedo Your review gave me a good chuckle! I love the sincerity. I haven't read the book. This gave me a good gist of its contents. I can appreciate the inte Your review gave me a good chuckle! I can appreciate the intention behind the book, but from what I can gather, it's just one of those ideas that once put forward it's just silly.
Thank you for your thoughts and quotes. Diana Baltrusaityte Well these words are just how women say they perceive it : saying that it is not is just pointing the finger to the woman as screaming- you are wrong Well these words are just how women say they perceive it : saying that it is not is just pointing the finger to the woman as screaming- you are wrong. I honestly do not see this as just about vaginas, this piece is about everything being a woman. It is deeper. It is talking about struggles that women overcome punishing and torturing themselves.
After all it is based on many interviews with many different women and what they say. I never understand how anything like that can be critized to be honest. I was worried. I was worried about vaginas. I was worried about what we think about vaginas, and even more worried that we don't think about them.
- Treating Families and Children in the Child Protective System: Strategies for Systemic Advocacy and Family Healing (Family Therapy and Counseling, 4).
- Why V-Day Started.
- Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology Vol 10?
- Post Digital Network.
- Process engineering and industrial management.
I didn't want to think about vaginas. I still don't want to think about vaginas simply because I've got the gay, you know. But it is important that we do. Thinking, reading, talking about vaginas in a feminist way, that's what I'm here for. We use the word penis in so many different situations and variations, without cringing, careless even.
But we never say "vagina" out loud. We hardly ever think it. And when we do, we cringe and lower our voices, or we shout it out loud as an insult. Why is that? Because the female sex organ, in comparison to the male opposite, is at least as oppressed, shunned and mistreated as the female sex in comparison to the male one.
This tiny book holds the power to not only normalise but to praise and strengthen the way we treat and talk about vaginas, which praises and empowers females as individuals in our society. My only criticism is the overwhelming and tiring amount of letters and listing of stars who support this movement which only appear in this special V-Day edition. It sounded more like a praise of personal fame, than giving evidence of the movement's influence. Sometimes, less is more. Thanks for Emma Watson and Our shared shelf for bringing this book to my attention! In a nutshell: an empowering and revolutionary read.
Find more of my books on Instagram View all 21 comments. Dec 23, Elle rated it it was ok Shelves: overrated , plays , gender. It's disturbingly tempting to give this book a high rating just so everyone knows that I'm a feminist which I am and that I'm comfortable talking about sex you mean coitus? And I think Ensler depends on that tendency. Because here's the thing- VM's politics may be admirable, but as theatre it's really quite bad. Also, Ensler is a self-serving egomaniac.
Think about it- she could fund an endowment for female playwrights and premiere a new feminist play every year, but instead she's set up an It's disturbingly tempting to give this book a high rating just so everyone knows that I'm a feminist which I am and that I'm comfortable talking about sex you mean coitus?
Think about it- she could fund an endowment for female playwrights and premiere a new feminist play every year, but instead she's set up an organization to promote the performance of this same play every single year all over the country with strict rules so that no one takes too many liberties with her vision , and apparently the plan is to continue this for all time.
Don't get me wrong, I see why this play is so eye-opening for so many people, and I think everyone should see it once, just to get the ideas out in the open. After several years of V-Days, though, I'm through. View all 4 comments. Thank you, Secret Santa. Or maybe once, actually, when we discussed menstruation. This sign of womanhood that brought about nightmares of waking up in puddles of blood that could be hidden with scraps of material bunched around your underwear making you w Thank you, Secret Santa.
This sign of womanhood that brought about nightmares of waking up in puddles of blood that could be hidden with scraps of material bunched around your underwear making you waddle like a duck or awkward looking fingers of cotton wrapped in plastic to look like candy. So yeah, not all that much sex ed at home. And the watered down sterilization of sex at school was little more illuminating. It would be an act of violence that initiated my self-discovery as a card-carrying member of the vagina brigade.
At sixteen I hated my vagina!! From it I got humiliating blood and cramps that would knock me flat with their sharp spiking fissures of agony. And then to add insult to injury, rape.
A space in my body that someone could force themselves into against my will simply because it was there. A whole new pain, not just physical but spiritual. Years later, when I was in my mid-twenties I remember sitting in the living room with my best friend and her daughter, who was five. I remember hearing her whisper something to her daughter about going to her room if she wanted to do that and not really paying attention…. I turned my head from the book I was reading and froze, staring onto a scene that perplexed me.
Your vagina is not now and will never be gross. That if she wanted to do that she should go to her room and close the door. I looked over at this five year old and she was smiling at her mommy with wide blue eyes and rosy pink cheeks. I left the room to go wipe away the tears and came back and hugged my friend, startling her.
Eve Ensler: I Never Defined a Woman as a Person With a Vagina
She laughed it off when I told her how amazing of a mother she was. But you see, I thought my vagina was gross. My whole life. It was a cunt. It was a pussy. It was words used to describe someone who was weak and inferior… The heart is capable of sacrifice. So is the vagina. The heart is capable to forgive and repair. It can change its shape to let us in. It can expand to let us out. So can the vagina. It can ache for us and stretch for us, die for us and bleed and bleed us into this difficult, wondrous world.
BUT I do think they are something we need to talk about, openly, because living in terror, disgust or simple ignorance of our own bodies is no way to live. No way at all. View all 26 comments. Wish this was longer. View 1 comment. Feb 09, Christian McKay rated it it was amazing.
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I don't understand a lot of the reviews on here. Especially the one star ones. She purposefully chose the more hideous word to make people uncomfortable and eventually--hopefully--comfortable with the subject matter. The low goodreads reviews make me think those people didn't actually read the play. Maybe they just saw a sub-par production that didn't have all the pieces. Second, people are s I don't understand a lot of the reviews on here. Second, people are sick of V-day? The play is my offering. Only that. I celebrate and support more and more voices and plays defying, wrestling with, and illuminating the dimensions and definitions of sexuality and gender.
I stand in solidarity with students at Mount Holyoke in their fight against transphobia. Contact us at editors time.
Eve Ensler. By Eve Ensler January 19, She founded both V-Day, a global movement dedicated to ending violence against women, and the One Billion Rising campaign. TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary on events in news, society, and culture.