Monday, 9 July 2012

The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler (3/5)

The back says: A poignant and hilarious tour of the last frontier, the ultimate forbidden zone. The Vagina Monologues is a celebration of female sexuality in all its complexity and mystery. Hailed as the bible for a new generation of women, it has been performed in cities all across America and at hundreds of college campuses, and has inspired a dynamic grassroots movement – V-say – to stop violence against women. Witty and irreverent, compassionate and wise, Eve Ensler’s Obie Award-winning masterpiece gives voice to real women’s deepest fantasies and fears, guaranteeing that no one who reads it will ever look at a woman’s body, or think of sex, in quite the same way again.

I say: I have heard talk of The Vagina Monologues for years, but never felt compelled to go see it/them live. However, when I saw this at the book store I thought I may as well buy it and see what all the fuss was about. 

What it is is Ensler describing how she came to write The Vagina Monologues; anecdotes from the road, as well as transcripts from conversations that she’s had with women about their vaginas. There is some really interesting information in here, inspirational stories, as well as some random silliness.

Like the questions “If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear?” and “If your vagina could talk, what would it say, in two words?”

It was obvious to me while reading this that I was perhaps a tad too old for this, or too aware of the – my – female body; I would have enjoyed this a lot more if it had been given to me to read in my teens, when a lot of things vagina related were curious and a bit of a novelty. Either way, it was nice to read vagina facts like this one:

“In some places, Africans seem to have been quietly putting an end to the tradition of genital cutting. In Guinea, for instance, Aja Tounkara Diallo Fatimata, the chief “cutter” in the capital, Conakry, used to be reviled by Western humanitarian groups. Then a few years ago, she confessed that she had never actually cut anybody. “I’d just cinch their clitorises to make them scream,” she said, “and tightly bandage them up so that they walked as though they were in pain.” – p 91

I can't say that I'd be interested in seeing this live, but it was nice enough read.


  1. I saw this performed at my university when I was a student and it was interesting/entertaining enough. But yeah, I think I'm a little old/over it and don't really find reading it to be appealing. I like that fact about the chief cutter though. I always thought this book would just be bleak, full of doom and gloom about how women have been mistreated, so I wasn't expecting something like that.

    1. There were some facts about how history has treated "The Vagina" - something about witches - and also something about Vagina Workshops, which I found rather weird. I thought it was going to be full of feministic ramblings, but they were few and far between. All in all it was worth reading, but nothing to search out.