Every Friday I will be recommending a work of fiction or non-fiction written by a woman who has influenced and shaped my intersectional feminist perspective, with special emphasis on women of colour, women in translation, LGBTQIA women and women of different religions.
Valentines Day couldn’t go amiss without mention of Eve Ensler’s iconic and ever-important play, The Vagina Monologues. When I was living in Hong Kong a few years ago now, I saw a very impressive performance of this work in a basement of a high-rise in aid of the Hong Kong Helper’s Campaign, which aims to promote the rights of foreign domestic workers. Held in a very casual venue, where the majority of the audience were comfortably sat in sofas and bean bags, it felt like we were in someone’s living room. The intimacy of the setting was mirrored by the intimacy of the monologues that were acted out by a diverse group of women – a reminder of the fact that The Vagina Monologues was based on real-life experiences by over 200 women that Ensler had interviewed.
The stories in this play were varied and sent me on a roller coaster of emotions. However, the overall experience was empowering. Learning to talk freely, without flinching, about taboo and painful subjects – from orgasms, to shaving to the more damaging invasion and abuse of the vagina – Eve Ensler was astounded by the response she got. She was amazed by how many women openly talked about their vagina’s when given the chance. What makes The Vagina Monologues so important today is that it is still so relevant to many women’s experiences and every year, on Valentines Day, Ensler allows people to use the script to put on royalty-free performances in aid of charities fighting to end violence against women and girls.
Eve Ensler is an American playwright, performer, feminist and activist. She is best known for her play, The Vagina Monologues, which then inspired her to create V-Day – a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. She is also responsible for creating the One Billion Rising campaign in protest of ending violence and promoting justice and gender equality for women.