Friday, November 12, 2010

Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler (book not dvd)


Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler is a transcript of her brilliant one woman show with some extra material added about V-Day and her organizing productions of the show across the globe.

However what works on stage doesn’t always work in print.  It is unfortunate that Ensler didn’t take the time or make the effort to replace certain pieces with ones that would read better.  Often a spoken word poem only works when it can be heard and seen.  I am thinking specifically of the piece where Ensler plays with the word “cunt” and how amusing this was on stage but when on the page was trite and pretty senseless.  Obviously, Ensler has talent enough to write something that either translates to both stage and page or the ability to write something that will work where it is to be presented.

In spite of its flaws, this book has the potential to create dialog.  For instance, when Ensler quotes from a New York Times article on the repercussions that infibulation has on women, the results listed only include physical complications from tetanus to early deaths.  Not one word is said about the psychological effect that such a treatment has.  (Alice Walker has tried to explore this in her novel Possessing the Secret of Joy.  She also has a non-fiction look at this surgery:  The Same River Twice.)

I think this would be a wonderful book for younger women to read and share, to perhaps begin to have a relationship with their own bodies and also understand how many women grew up (and still are, no doubt) where being with the body, all of it, is not something society celebrates.  Not all feminist issues are touched upon but enough are that there is much to be discussed and considered and questions that should be answered even when they are not asked.

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