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The Vagina Monologues

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Author: Eve Ensler

Published: May 3rd 2001 by Virago Press Ltd. (first published 1996)

Format: Paperback , 185 pages

Isbn: 9781860499265

Language: English


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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.

30 review for The Vagina Monologues

  1. 5 out of 5

    Warwick

    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, pseud 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-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. More to the point though, this is simply the other side of the coin from standard, run-of-the-mill patriarchy: the idea that women are ‘other’ – wild, mysterious, lunar creatures, with baffling anatomies and magical hidden depths that can be reawakened if they would only discover themselves and get comfortable with their own menstrual blood. 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 46. 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. I had awakened to what the woman who ran the workshop called “vaginal wonder.” I just wanted to lie there on my mat, my legs spread, examining my vagina forever. 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. It made me laugh. It could hide and seek, open and close. It was a mouth. It was the morning. (‘Why do Americans have to turn every part of my body into some psycho-sexual epiphany?’ — Hannah.) 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. But with all of that said and understood, my own humble opinion for what little it's worth is that this goes for lazy, feel-good ‘community’ spirit at the expense of genuine insight, and I suspect that ultimately it's pointing gender relations in the wrong direction. Maybe it's a generational thing.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Kai

    “I bet you're worried. 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.” To be honest, I was worried as well. 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 situatio “I bet you're worried. 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.” To be honest, I was worried as well. 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

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elle

    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?). 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 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.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*

    Thank you, Secret Santa. ♥ 5 It May Not Be Perfect, but it’s a start! Stars I may not have grown up in a “down there” age, but I most definitely grew up in a “down there” house. I don’t remember ever having open dialogue with my mother about vaginas growing up, not once. 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. ♥ 5 It May Not Be Perfect, but it’s a start! Stars I may not have grown up in a “down there” age, but I most definitely grew up in a “down there” house. I don’t remember ever having open dialogue with my mother about vaginas growing up, not once. 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 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!! It was a cause of great suffrage for me, it had never done a damn thing in my life that didn’t cause pain. 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…. Until her daughter said, “Is it because my vagina is gross?” That got my attention. I turned my head from the book I was reading and froze, staring onto a scene that perplexed me. And her mother, my friend, said – without a bit of discomfort, “No. Your vagina is not now and will never be gross.” And I started to silently cry as their conversation continued, and her mother explained that it was perfectly acceptable to explore her body and her vagina but that she shouldn’t do it in the living room. 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. 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. Because it was a secret I couldn’t talk about. 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. So can the vagina. I don’t know that I think vaginas are flowers or our centres, or anything like that. 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.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Whitney Atkinson

    LOVE. Wish this was longer.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Christian McKay

    I don't understand a lot of the reviews on here. Especially the one star ones. First of all, over the vagina/vulva debate, Ensler addresses that almost first thing. 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. Fine. Forgivable. Second, people are s I don't understand a lot of the reviews on here. Especially the one star ones. First of all, over the vagina/vulva debate, Ensler addresses that almost first thing. 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. Fine. Forgivable. Second, people are sick of V-day? Really? You have a problem with women becoming comfortable with their sexuality and finding ways to overcome/prevent violence? Shouldn't we keep going until all violence against women ends? And when the hell will that happen? Third, and lastly, if this is bad theater, what constitutes good theater? Let's see, genuine raw language relating stories that are transformative, not only for the speaker but for the listener as well . . . Are people on here aware of the purpose of monologues? Now, I can understand if some women are so comfortable with their sex that they just don't get these, but they should appreciate that there are other women in the world who were not raised with the same amount of honesty and information. I'm a Utah guy. It's rampant over here. I'll insert a letter that I wrote to the person who gave this to me later. Until then, I think everyone should read this (and think about what they're saying before they review).

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Vacca

    I don't really see the need for the stances of overwhelming crassness many of the reviews take against this book here on the GR. Is Ensler's collection of performance pieces the final word on feminist ideology? No, not at all. But is it a sincere work that approaches with humor and gravity the notion that especially men and especially women should view the female body outside of the bullshit male-centric, patriarchal perception that many people seem utterly oblivious to their own culpability in I don't really see the need for the stances of overwhelming crassness many of the reviews take against this book here on the GR. Is Ensler's collection of performance pieces the final word on feminist ideology? No, not at all. But is it a sincere work that approaches with humor and gravity the notion that especially men and especially women should view the female body outside of the bullshit male-centric, patriarchal perception that many people seem utterly oblivious to their own culpability in helping perpetuate? And by breaking out of this narrow longview of gender identity, help the reader - the female and, by extension, the male reader - learn to appreciate their own owness that is neither defined by societal expectations nor cultural pressures? Emphatically yes and yes. Besides, how can you not find joy in a work that has a section entitled "My Vagina is Angry"? The Vagina Monologues is another welcome bit of social upheaval in the never-ending, variegated discussion of gender identity.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dixie Diamond

    "I did not see my vagina as my primary resource, a place of sustenance, humor and creativity." You know, I don't see it that way, either. I thought the source of all that was my brain. I must not have been abused enough as a girl, because I always feel like vagina-centric art projects like this reduce me to a piece of anatomy just as much as does the alleged male fantasy of big boobs and miles of leg. Which is not to say that there weren't/aren't some seriously screwed-up ideas about female reprodu "I did not see my vagina as my primary resource, a place of sustenance, humor and creativity." You know, I don't see it that way, either. I thought the source of all that was my brain. I must not have been abused enough as a girl, because I always feel like vagina-centric art projects like this reduce me to a piece of anatomy just as much as does the alleged male fantasy of big boobs and miles of leg. Which is not to say that there weren't/aren't some seriously screwed-up ideas about female reproductive anatomy out there, just that I think it's possible to go too far in the other direction. It's just another body part. Two arms, two legs, one vagina. And sorry, but isn't statutory rape still statutory rape, regardless of whether the rapist is male or female?

  9. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    There's a lot to critique about this - but I really don't feel like getting into it. I will say this, though: Eve Ensler doesn't know what a vagina is. If you're unclear: a vagina is "the passage leading from the uterus to the vulva in certain female mammals". Everyone in this play says "vagina" when they really usually mean "vulva". I'm not being oddly specific, they are completely different parts of the anatomy. COME ON. Vulva is a prettier word than vagina anyway. I liked the reclaiming cunt There's a lot to critique about this - but I really don't feel like getting into it. I will say this, though: Eve Ensler doesn't know what a vagina is. If you're unclear: a vagina is "the passage leading from the uterus to the vulva in certain female mammals". Everyone in this play says "vagina" when they really usually mean "vulva". I'm not being oddly specific, they are completely different parts of the anatomy. COME ON. Vulva is a prettier word than vagina anyway. I liked the reclaiming cunt speech. That was about it.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

    While I don't necessarily disagree with Ensler's thesis, or the help the project has provided to various women's charities, the whole thing, as a literary or dramatic work, is very problematic. Anything more honest than a fawning critique reveals how shallow the whole thing is; there's hypocrisy, repetitive symbolism and metaphors, a heaping of that empty sort of communal feminism that makes everyone feel good but doesn't actually change anything, and, upon close inspection, evidence of the kind While I don't necessarily disagree with Ensler's thesis, or the help the project has provided to various women's charities, the whole thing, as a literary or dramatic work, is very problematic. Anything more honest than a fawning critique reveals how shallow the whole thing is; there's hypocrisy, repetitive symbolism and metaphors, a heaping of that empty sort of communal feminism that makes everyone feel good but doesn't actually change anything, and, upon close inspection, evidence of the kind of "creative" editing that awkwardly turns the mundane things people have to say about their sex lives into what is supposed to sound like meaningful drama, but is in fact just forced. I'm sorry, but all the positive vibes of a theater full of people chanting "cunt" isn't going to make it any less awful when the same word is said by some asshole trying to hurl invective at a woman when he is just to trying to make her feel like shit.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Langford

    ”I was worried about my own vagina. It needed a context of other vaginas... there's so much secrecy surrounding them- like the Bermuda Triangle." This book, or rather a play, became a large political movement. The words in this book, even 20ish years after its release, feels radical to read. Eve Ensler wrote this play after her interactions with women and opening up a rather taboo subject- vaginas. Women's sexuality was a taboo subject, shrouded in darkness and shameful to discuss. Eve Ensler doe ”I was worried about my own vagina. It needed a context of other vaginas... there's so much secrecy surrounding them- like the Bermuda Triangle." This book, or rather a play, became a large political movement. The words in this book, even 20ish years after its release, feels radical to read. Eve Ensler wrote this play after her interactions with women and opening up a rather taboo subject- vaginas. Women's sexuality was a taboo subject, shrouded in darkness and shameful to discuss. Eve Ensler does a groundbreaking job in unearthing this topic by interviewing various women, and once they started talking, stories from all types of women came pouring out. Eve put them together into a series of monologues to perform on stage. The topic of this book was initially controversial with publishers wanting to pull the book as the title contains the word "Vagina". One review of the book/play on Tv didn't even mention the word Vagina- further shrouding the word into shamefulness. However, Eve Ensler perseveres and this book is now an international phenomenon, with roots in starting important conversation and activism, such as V-day, a day acknowledging and raising awareness of women suffering from abuse and violence. This book is funny and heart-breaking, shocking and beautiful. It describes women's most intimate experiences and celebrates women's sexuality and the condemnation of its violation. Some stories were upsetting, highlighting the rapes and abuse women faced from the Bosnian war, as well as domestic abuse from family members. Some monologues were hard to dissect and raised conflicting feelings. The realisation that the monologues shouldn't shock you as violence against women happens to 1 in 3 of us and is constantly talked about, however, the shock to these stories are unending. Throughout the book Vagina facts are sprinkled through and some of these are truly disturbing. It was great,also, to read the introduction that Eve Ensler gives. She notes her fascination with the vagina as a taboo subject and the struggles she has faced getting the book published and the play produced. She values the importance of this book and the need for it to be published as she is telling women's stories, their intimate stories, from sex to birth. It was exciting to read the foreword of the book by Gloria Steinem, a power house in the feminist movement. Furthermore, the exploration of the chapters in “V-Day” and “Letters” were so uplifting and liberating. This play has helped numerous women, they are exhilarated and liberated as a reaction from this play. It has given women power over their sexuality, over their autonomy. It has raised consciousness in both men and women. It has given a platform, an important step in acknowledging and raising conversation about women's autonomy, sexuality, and ending violence against women. From this play/book women are able to reclaim the word Vagina. It is liberating, exhilarating, and empowering. This was an interesting book to read and I would love to see this performed live after some of the reviews I have seen!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    When I was in eighth grade health class, the teacher handed out diagrams of male and female genitalia with lines pointing to the different parts and told us to memorize the names of the parts for a test at the end of the week. After our tests had been graded, the teacher admitted that she’d analyzed the results for boys vs. girls and found some interesting discrepancies. Not terribly surprising, most boys and girls scored the highest when identifying the parts of their own respective genitals. B When I was in eighth grade health class, the teacher handed out diagrams of male and female genitalia with lines pointing to the different parts and told us to memorize the names of the parts for a test at the end of the week. After our tests had been graded, the teacher admitted that she’d analyzed the results for boys vs. girls and found some interesting discrepancies. Not terribly surprising, most boys and girls scored the highest when identifying the parts of their own respective genitals. But the girls who achieved the highest scores on the female diagram had a nearly equal success in identifying all the different parts on the male diagram as well. However, even the boys who achieved the highest scores on the male diagram scored very low on identifying the parts on the female diagram (with 1 or 2 exceptions). After explaining these findings the teacher asked for responses from the class. Some of the more vocal boys complained that it “wasn’t fair” because girls had “more parts” and it wasn’t like they “got to see it all the time.” The teacher said that wasn’t an excuse and she made everyone who scored less than 70% retake the test. Good for her! Frankly, I wish more health teachers had been like mine. Over the course of my adult, dating life, I met a surprising handful of fully grown men who had no idea where to find the clitoris. And no, they weren’t virgins and hadn’t been for years. In fact, one of them had been sexually active for nearly 10 years. I was surprised by that but glad he’d finally asked such an important question because honestly, there is no reason why a heterosexual man not know where to find it. Reading this book made me think about these things. It also made me think about a recent conversation I’ve had with another mom about teaching the appropriate names for body parts and how the mantra you teach toddlers goes something like this, “Boys have a penis. Girls have a…a vagina.” And even though we’re too modern to do something embarrassing like whisper the word vagina, or give it a stupid, cutesie name like coochi snorcher or itsy bitsy, we still find ourselves hesitating before we actually say it, almost like you have to first think, “quick, wait, is this the right time to say vagina or…????” I hate that I do that. It makes me angry that I often feel a need to pause before saying the word and to worry that maybe the other person will have an embarrassing reaction to my saying the word. Whatever I do, I don’t ever want my daughter to think that I’m embarrassed to say the word vagina. It bothers me that she could potentially develop some hang ups with the word in life from other sources, like other family members or friends or boyfriends but Lord help me that it doesn’t come from me. That is one of the things I really loved about this book. There was no need to feel embarrassed even though I was reading about messy things like pubic hair and menstruation and odor and rape and lesbian sex. And birth. The V-Day edition I read had an amazing piece on birth that gave me chills. Thanks to the internet, I’ve met a number of moms who’ve had all sorts of different experiences with birth, specifically cesarean birth vs. vaginal birth. I’ve observed that many of the women who had c-sections, especially unplanned, were left feeling distraught and like something had been stolen from them. To some extent, I imagine this can in part be attributed to longer recovery times, scarring, being cut open, etc. But there’s always been some other emotional component that I’ve never fully understood. As someone who experienced a vaginal birth, I’ve looked at some of the c-section mothers and felt those emotions pouring off them and never understood where they were coming from. I’ve heard them say things like, “just because I didn’t give birth doesn’t mean I didn’t give birth.” And I’ve thought, “well, of course” and didn’t understand why the other person felt the need to validate her experience. Reading the birth piece in this book gives me further insight by putting into words the sheer power of my own experience with giving birth and how close it comes to capturing the symbiotic relationship that can exist between woman and vagina. Feeling like the experience has been taken from you might require time to come to terms with. I feel better equipped to respond sensitively having read this. Intense. All that said, I can’t rate the book higher than three stars. I usually have a hard time getting on board with in your face “shock politics” and I can’t help but think this book falls under that category. It tries to shock regular people into thinking about things they perhaps never would have thought about otherwise by using socially shocking words like cunt and vagina. For the record, I had a near perfect score on my eighth grade male and female genital exam. So this means I know when the word vagina is being used properly and when it is being improperly used as a synonym for vulva. I think it’s disappointing the Vagina Monologues barely acknowledges this. This just further convinces me that the primary purpose of this book is shock value rather than to effect actual change.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Poonam

    3.5 stars This is my Book Of the Month- January- February 2017, with GR group- Our Shared Shelf. I really did not know what to expect when starting this book and just thought, What kind of title is that?- The Vagina Monologues... But after reading this book it make's sense. I don't think any other title would have been as fitting as this one for the content of the book. This book basically deals with topics that women shy away from talking about to even their close one's - to their close girlfrien 3.5 stars This is my Book Of the Month- January- February 2017, with GR group- Our Shared Shelf. I really did not know what to expect when starting this book and just thought, What kind of title is that?- The Vagina Monologues... But after reading this book it make's sense. I don't think any other title would have been as fitting as this one for the content of the book. This book basically deals with topics that women shy away from talking about to even their close one's - to their close girlfriends or even their mothers. And why is that, because it is just not done! It is considered something that is not openly spoken about and if done is heavily frowned about by society. Some women face guilt for something that is natural.... "I was black and poor. Blood on the back of my dress in church. Didn't show, but I was guilty." And somethings if spoken any differently is termed as crass in our society "Dear Miss Carling, Please excuse my daughter from basketball. She has just matured." It talks about how the society and culture decides what's right for a woman and what's not! "Like, if we'd grown up in a culture where we were taught that fat thighs were beautiful, we'd all be pounding down milkshakes and cookies, lying on our backs, spending our days thigh-expanding. But we didn't grow up in that culture." It talks about abuse and violence that women face but are too ashamed or scared to talk about as they may be judged or because no one may really understand what they went through. "Edgar Montane, who is ten, gets angry at me and punches me with all his might between my legs. It feels like he breaks my entire self. I limp home. I can't pee. My mama asks me what's wrong with my coochi snorcher, and when I tell her what Edgar did to me she yells at me and says never to let anyone touch me down there again. I try to explain he didn't touch it, Mama, he punched it." Reading this book made me feel the pain that these other women went through and I realized that women even though facing similar kind of problems in life are isolated in what they are dealing with. Only by speaking about the issues with their close one's can one find a strong support system to fight and deal with any problems that one may be facing.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Petra-X

    The book itself is very short and because of that several introductions and a afterwords have been included to pad it out. First there is the extremely long introduction by the author which was partly about how the book was written and partly history and what has happened since the Vagina Monologues was created. Then there is a another extremely long (but much better written and more interesting) introduction by the fabulous Gloria Steinem telling us something of her eccentric, interesting and r The book itself is very short and because of that several introductions and a afterwords have been included to pad it out. First there is the extremely long introduction by the author which was partly about how the book was written and partly history and what has happened since the Vagina Monologues was created. Then there is a another extremely long (but much better written and more interesting) introduction by the fabulous Gloria Steinem telling us something of her eccentric, interesting and relevant family history. Then there is the preface by the author about Vaginas and finally, sigh, yes finally, on page 38, the book begins. The next 150 pages are wonderful, five star with a bullet, really, tremendous writing, thought-provoking and very enjoyable to read. I couldn't put it down, all these women's stories transcribed into poetry and prose and something in between, I read until 3 a.m., fascinating stuff. But then we have the afterwords. 40 or 50 pages to slosh, trudge and wade through about V-Day. It could all have been summed up in a couple of pages, I mean, do you really want to know about which college held V-day in what year and how many people attended? No? Neither me. (Yes? You involved in funding it or something?) So the Vagina Monologues itself gets 5 stars, the prefaces get 3 stars (because of Gloria Steinem) and the afterword gets 1 star and that's generous. That's an average of 3, so there you have it.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nicky

    I've been meaning to read or see The Vagina Monologues for a long time. Someone was talking about it, as people often do, and I realised it was available on the Kindle store, so I got it. It's a very quick read. It's not an easy read. There's discussion of self-loathing, of embarrassment and shame, of sexual assault and violence against women, of statutory rape. It might also not be easy for you if you can't read the word 'vagina' without getting uncomfortable, or if you don't like the word 'cunt I've been meaning to read or see The Vagina Monologues for a long time. Someone was talking about it, as people often do, and I realised it was available on the Kindle store, so I got it. It's a very quick read. It's not an easy read. There's discussion of self-loathing, of embarrassment and shame, of sexual assault and violence against women, of statutory rape. It might also not be easy for you if you can't read the word 'vagina' without getting uncomfortable, or if you don't like the word 'cunt', or if you wish that women wouldn't talk about 'down there' in public. It's about that discomfort, and it's about shining a light on something that we don't talk about, that we are often taught to be ashamed of. A few years ago, I wouldn't have been able to stand the idea of reading it: right now, I can't stand the idea of performing it. And I'm not ready to talk to my grandmother about it! But maybe someday... In any case, I think it's a very important idea, to talk about these things that we find so discomforting. How often have I heard men talking about their penises in public? Far more often than I've ever heard women do -- and often when we do, it's hushed and breathless and illicit. On the other hand, I am not my vagina. I am not my physical form at all, personally. And it feels like this book does a lot of that -- distilling women down until the only important part of them is physical, sexual. For many women, that's not the truth, and it doesn't have to be. And the references in the foreword about not being able to write 'politically correctly', not being able to write about transgendered women -- I believe she should have tried until she got it, by talking to transgendered women, and talking to them again, and again, just like the one about the lesbian who said she was doing it wrong. And if she really, truly couldn't do it, then she should have stepped back and let a transgendered woman write it for herself, if her work is truly intended to be inclusive and about all women everywhere. There's more I don't really engage with: I don't relate to questions like what would my vagina want to dress in, or what it would say. It's a part of me, not separate. Everything has limitations, though, it's true, and this is a big step for many women. Hopefully fewer and fewer, as society moves on. I'm sure someone has written their own transgendered woman monologue -- I hope many have -- and I hope they're heard, too. This particular edition, with the introduction by Gloria Steinem, is quite interesting, giving some historical/cultural context. It also includes a lot of stuff about people's reactions to "V-Day", which can be interesting to read. However, do note that the Kindle edition is badly proofread in places.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Anuradha

    POPSugar Reading Challenge: #12. A bestseller from a genre you don’t normally read, the genre being non-fiction. We did parts of The Vagina Monologues as, well, for lack of a better word, plays for various events in college; this was my introduction to this...play. Of course, because performing the whole thing would be too time consuming, we only performed bits of it. I vividly remember In Memory of her Face; I wasn't in it, but I watched it, and what a passionate, heart-rending performance it wa POPSugar Reading Challenge: #12. A bestseller from a genre you don’t normally read, the genre being non-fiction. We did parts of The Vagina Monologues as, well, for lack of a better word, plays for various events in college; this was my introduction to this...play. Of course, because performing the whole thing would be too time consuming, we only performed bits of it. I vividly remember In Memory of her Face; I wasn't in it, but I watched it, and what a passionate, heart-rending performance it was! What makes The Vagina Monologues special is that it isn't fiction. It's true, it's real, and it's the opinions of living, breathing women. The anecdotes, the incidents, the stories - they're human too - warm, passionate, humorous, and of course, meaningful. I would want my daughters to read it; I think all women should read it. In fact, I think men should read it too, 'twould change their perception of what a vagina is, and that is much needed.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Coraline Turner

    *TRIGGERING* “Slowly, it dawned on me that nothing was more important than stopping violence toward women-that the desecration of women indicted the failure of human beings to honor and protect life and this failing would, if we did not correct it, be the end of us all. I do not think I am being extreme. When you rape, beat, maim, mutilate, burn, bury, and terrorize women, you destroy the essential life energy on the planet. You force what is meant to be open, trusting, nurturing, creative, and *TRIGGERING* “Slowly, it dawned on me that nothing was more important than stopping violence toward women-that the desecration of women indicted the failure of human beings to honor and protect life and this failing would, if we did not correct it, be the end of us all. I do not think I am being extreme. When you rape, beat, maim, mutilate, burn, bury, and terrorize women, you destroy the essential life energy on the planet. You force what is meant to be open, trusting, nurturing, creative, and alive to be bent, infertile, and broken. I finished this book in about 45 minutes total while listening to some Black Sabbath and Fleetwood Mac, but it was quite an empowering read. Being a survivor of gang rape and sexual assault myself, I understand the traumatizing affect it can have on the spirit and general feelings toward one’s own vagina. Eve Ensler lets the reader open up (no pun intended) and teaches how to love and respect the vagina and its inner workings. Everyone’s is different, everyone’s is beautiful. This book brought a smile to my face. I’m glad several celebrities have also joined in the V-Day movement, which can reach out to fellow survivors and women who feel trapped. The only reason I gave this book 4 stars is it is not normally the genre I am drawn to. But, everyone should go out of their comfort zone every once in a while. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jesse James

    I have big issues with this play. It essentializes what it means to be a woman, equating femininity with a having a vagina! Not to mention endorsing racial and cultural stereotypes.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Virginia

    I have such conflicting feelings about this book. On the one hand, I appreciate it for saying out loud some things that haven't been really accepted by society. On the other hand, Eve Ensler is a self-promoting, self-satisfied twit.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I’m coming late to this party, I have to admit. And for my, the defining feminist changes my outlook and gripped book is Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. Still, you have to be a complete idiot to not see the power in this play (or performance piece). Considering that women’s sexuality is in many ways still owned/controlled by men, this book is still timely. Don’t believe that first part. What is the term for an older man who dates a younger woman? No, I’m not thinking Sugar Daddy. But what would you ca I’m coming late to this party, I have to admit. And for my, the defining feminist changes my outlook and gripped book is Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale. Still, you have to be a complete idiot to not see the power in this play (or performance piece). Considering that women’s sexuality is in many ways still owned/controlled by men, this book is still timely. Don’t believe that first part. What is the term for an older man who dates a younger woman? No, I’m not thinking Sugar Daddy. But what would you call Michael Douglas or Tom Cruise? Okay, now what is the term for an older woman (Shakira, say) who dates an insignificantly younger man (say Pique)? Yep, you got it in one. And the age difference between Shakira and Pique is less than between Douglas and Zeta-Jones. I’m not blaming any one group here. As long as everyone is a consenting adult, I don’t care, really. What I don’t get is the double standard. A woman who embraces her sexuality is a slut; a man is a stud. A woman doesn’t have the right to have se without judgment. But a man? And I’m not saying this is global. I’m not saying all men are pigs and all women aren’t. Seism occurs on both sides of the line. Quite frankly, the attitude that society has towards male victims of rape is insulting and upsetting. I’m just saying that even in a country where the average woman doesn’t have to worry about female cutting, forced marriage, war rape, and ignorance, the monologues in the book still resonant. While it is easy to see the power in the monologue of the rape victims, it is almost as horrifying to read the monologues of women who were taught not to be sexual, who did not have emotionally ownership of their bodies. The personal stories that come out in monologues work because you know someone like this. I also have to give Ensler props for including an observing viewpoint. I do not like the word cunt. You have no idea how much I hate typing it. I don’t buy the reclaim the word argument. I really don’t. To call someone a cunt is to simply limit a woman down to that aspect of anatomy. It’s the same when you call a guy a dick. So I don’t like it. Ensler actually debates this idea of objectification and reclaiming of the word. Nicely done. Crossposted at booklikes.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    "the vagina monologues" began ambitiously, as the author, eve ensler, interviewed hundreds of women from all around the globe about their vaginas-- something most of us don't spend much time talking about!-- but i don't think even ensler could ever have predicted the impact it would have on the world. "the vagina monologues" turned into v-day, one of the most important worldwide events, consistently raising awareness and money to work to end violence against women. through all of this, it can be "the vagina monologues" began ambitiously, as the author, eve ensler, interviewed hundreds of women from all around the globe about their vaginas-- something most of us don't spend much time talking about!-- but i don't think even ensler could ever have predicted the impact it would have on the world. "the vagina monologues" turned into v-day, one of the most important worldwide events, consistently raising awareness and money to work to end violence against women. through all of this, it can be easy to lose sight of how important the monologues themselves are. i remember when i first learned of the monologues-- through a book review. they had not even been sent to bookstores yet. i was intrigued and anxiously awaited the release date. i was not disappointed. "the vagina monologues" deserves every bit of acclaim it has received. this is a tangent, but a funny story to anyone who knows me. i have terrible stage fright. i'm always trying to combat it however and frequently force myself to speak in front of large audiences, even as my hands shake and my eyes go blurry. so, the largest part of the v-day campaign every year are the hundreds of productions of "the vagina monologues" on college campuses throughout the world. in fact, my first time seeing the monologues was at my college's benefit performance (though i have seen the monologues performed countless times since then, including a few times by ensler herself). my first year in law school, our women's law caucus decided to do our own benefit production, by and for the law school community. though my stage fright was already scorching its way through my body, i immediately signed up. i thought, "these are my peers, we're all law geeks, i can do this, i *have* to do this." and what monologue did i choose to perform? the lesbian dominatrix, of course. it is the penultimate monologue and often a show-stopper (i won't reveal why in case anyone reading this doesn't know the monologue i'm referring to). the night of our performance, the room was filled beyond capacity. i was terrified. as the time for my monologue approached, i took several deep breaths and sat down. i'm not sure i opened my eyes at all, but i did it, i did the whole damn thing and i didn't hold back at all. in front of pretty much my entire law school community, i performed all of it, ending with a very long triple orgasm moan. when i opened my eyes, there was a second of silence-- and then thunderous applause. i could hardly breathe, i was so choked up from the actual performance and my stage fright. but i did it and it was one of the best, most unforgettable experiences of my life.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Goldberg

    There is something very powerful and liberating in this book, something that will make you cry. But also something that will worry you. When did we lose our feminine half? How did it happen? In the primitive societies, women had immense power. In a society where a bolt of lightning was considered magic, the ability to give birth (still magic today) was regarded with astonishment, and subsequently, women had something unique and magical that gave them power. We know that the most ancient religion There is something very powerful and liberating in this book, something that will make you cry. But also something that will worry you. When did we lose our feminine half? How did it happen? In the primitive societies, women had immense power. In a society where a bolt of lightning was considered magic, the ability to give birth (still magic today) was regarded with astonishment, and subsequently, women had something unique and magical that gave them power. We know that the most ancient religions were about the Mother Goddess. I always thought that patriarchy was a reaction to this power. An envy of the power of giving life. And with patriarchy we lose so much, we lose the power of being united and complete. It's now the time to be complete again. It's time to acknowledge our roots. After all, we were all born through a vagina.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    I have read this before, but I listened to it on audio today and the live version is definitely the best. At times hilarious, brutal, disconcerting, and poignant - The Vagina Monologues is the result of interviews with over 200 women. If the idea of a woman's sexuality makes you uncomfortable, then you definitely need to challenge yourself and come to terms with the vagina. It's not going to disappear just because we are afraid to talk about it. Here in the United States, a woman is raped every I have read this before, but I listened to it on audio today and the live version is definitely the best. At times hilarious, brutal, disconcerting, and poignant - The Vagina Monologues is the result of interviews with over 200 women. If the idea of a woman's sexuality makes you uncomfortable, then you definitely need to challenge yourself and come to terms with the vagina. It's not going to disappear just because we are afraid to talk about it. Here in the United States, a woman is raped every two minutes. See how you can get involved in "V-Day" and help create more respect, safety, and love for the women in your community. If you've got a vagina, talk about it, love it, and never be ashamed of it. And if you don't have one, just remember - RESPECT.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ylenia

    *3.5 stars* Originally I was going to count this for my 52 books challenge as "a book you're embarrassed to read in public". As this book taught me, though, I shouldn't be embarrassed of my own vagina. This one was a super fast read, I finished it in one sitting, but if you don't want to read the full book at least please check out these two monologues: They Beat the Girl out of my Boy…Or so They Tried; Say It (written for the "Confort Women", I can't find the link for this one but I'm sure it's on *3.5 stars* Originally I was going to count this for my 52 books challenge as "a book you're embarrassed to read in public". As this book taught me, though, I shouldn't be embarrassed of my own vagina. This one was a super fast read, I finished it in one sitting, but if you don't want to read the full book at least please check out these two monologues: They Beat the Girl out of my Boy…Or so They Tried; Say It (written for the "Confort Women", I can't find the link for this one but I'm sure it's on YouTube or similar places).

  25. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    i think for her target audience (middle america's sorority girls) they're revolutionary. for me personally, i felt like they essentialized women to their genitalia and were problematic in that sense. i've also had to sit through the play 5+ times, so perhaps i'm just burnt out on cunt-love

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tanya

    The Vagina Monologues debuted in 1996 as an Off-Broadway play made up of various personal pieces, all performed by Eve Ensler in the original run. You can watch the HBO special here. Ensler wrote the pieces after interviewing 200 diverse women, and each monologue deals with an aspect of the female experience, the recurring theme being the vulva as a tool of empowerment. I've let this one sink in for a week, and the four stars come with two caveats: Firstly, you'll notice that I wrote "vulva" rathe The Vagina Monologues debuted in 1996 as an Off-Broadway play made up of various personal pieces, all performed by Eve Ensler in the original run. You can watch the HBO special here. Ensler wrote the pieces after interviewing 200 diverse women, and each monologue deals with an aspect of the female experience, the recurring theme being the vulva as a tool of empowerment. I've let this one sink in for a week, and the four stars come with two caveats: Firstly, you'll notice that I wrote "vulva" rather than vagina. Technically speaking, these should be The Vulva Monologues, since the great majority of these pieces focuses more on the external parts such as the clitoris and labia, rather than the vagina itself. Ensler's reasoning is that there is more of a stigma and reluctance around saying the word "vagina", so that's why she went with it. While I can live with that explanation, there is still so much misinformation about female anatomy, and the play was so influential and widespread, it could have had a huge impact on educating the general public. Secondly, it is obviously body-centric, which doesn't make it particularly trans-friendly since it promotes the sex binary (there have since been transgender performances though), and some pieces do reduce women down to their genitals. It's also still strongly rooted in the kind of... feel-good, consciousness-raising Second Wave feminism rather than an intersectional, activist Third Wave feminism, if that makes sense. And yet. It's been a week, and I am still blown away by some of the pieces, so if you can accept that this play isn't perfect, that it's possibly a little problematic, dated, and no longer as "uncomfortable" as it must've been in the 90s, and you don't expect this to provide the feminist enlightenment of your lifetime, then it's going to be worth your time. The monologues are broken up by short vagina facts and interview answers to questions such as "If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear?" (some of my favorite answers included: a beret. A pink boa. Sequins. Lace and combat boots. Something machine-washable.) and "If it could speak, what would it say?". What struck me was that it's funny, because I didn't expect it to be. Some pieces are, anyway. Sometimes it works, sometimes it tries too hard. I watched the HBO special after finishing the book, and I thought that the audience laughed in lots of inappropriate spots, at things that aren't meant to be funny, and often at things that most definitely aren't. Maybe it's an embarrassed kind of laughter, in which case, I suppose the play is doing what it set out to do. The only piece I don't like much is The Vagina Workshop, which incidentally is the one that most strongly implies that women are their vulvas. But all other pieces have merit, and most work better performed as it was intended, rather than read. My Vagina Was My Village is compiled from the testimonies of Bosnian women who survived rape camps, and is much too tragic to be called a favorite, but it's powerful, horrifying stuff, and it made me cry both while reading and while watching it. Other stand-outs were I Was Twelve, My Mother Slapped Me, a chorus of women describing their first period, My Angry Vagina, a humorous rant about all the injustices wrought against vaginas, and even though it is the most controversial piece (for very good reason), The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could, in which a woman remembers a series of traumatic sexual experiences in her childhood and a self-described "positive healing" sexual experience with an older woman in her teens. (I tried to not let the edition I read color my review of the original piece, because the whole appendix of letters about V-Day (which makes up 40%(!) of my ebook) was repetitive, unnecessary, and so very self-congratulatory that it actually ruined my reading experience of the play a little. Skip it.) Apparently, a new monologue to highlight a current issue affecting women around the world is added every year, so there's hope that it will evolve with the times. I wish I'd read this ten, twelve years ago. What a difference it would've made. "To love women, to love our vaginas, to know them and touch them and be familiar with who we are and what we need. To satisfy ourselves, to teach our lovers to satisfy us, to be present in our vaginas, to speak of them out loud, to speak of their hunger and pain and loneliness and humor, to make them visible so they cannot be ravaged in the dark without great consequence, so that our center, our point, our motor, our dream, is no longer detached, mutilated, numb, broken, invisible, or ashamed." ————— All my book reviews can be found here · Buy on BookDepository

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kara Babcock

    Hmm … tricky. The Vagina Monologues is the February book for the Banging Book Club, run by Hannah Witton, Lucy Moon, and Leena Norms. It’s also the first book I’ve read for the book club, because I ordered January’s pick, Asking For It, on January 1 … and it only arrived from the UK yesterday. Anyway, this is a tough one to review, for a few reasons—not all of them having to do with vaginas! For one thing, it’s one of those books that defies library categorization. It was in the non-fiction sectio Hmm … tricky. The Vagina Monologues is the February book for the Banging Book Club, run by Hannah Witton, Lucy Moon, and Leena Norms. It’s also the first book I’ve read for the book club, because I ordered January’s pick, Asking For It, on January 1 … and it only arrived from the UK yesterday. Anyway, this is a tough one to review, for a few reasons—not all of them having to do with vaginas! For one thing, it’s one of those books that defies library categorization. It was in the non-fiction section of my library, but under 812.54 (which is Literature, not actually non-fiction). It’s a play, in a sense, but it’s based on Eve Ensler’s interviews with real women. So it’s fictionalized non-fiction, albeit probably not in the same sense of the “based on a true story” stories that you see in movies. Similarly, the fact that it’s a play makes it difficult for me to review as a book. I’m not a huge fan of reading plays in general, and The Vagina Monologues is not a straightforward narrative. Rather, it relies quite heavily on the type of performance a dedicated actor (or actors), alone on a stage among a hushed audience, could give. Reading these alone at home with a nice cup of tea was an intellectually fulfilling exercise but lacked much emotional resonance. That lack of resonance might also be because I don’t have a vagina. Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying men shouldn’t read this or can’t understand it. But let’s acknowledge up-front that people without a vagina are going to experience this book in a very different way from people with a vagina, and I can’t begin to speak to how that latter group will experience it. To a certain extent The Vagina Monologues seem reductive—they equate one’s womanhood with one’s vagina. I wonder how many women align their identity that way. One thing I learned while reading this is how many women have never looked at/seen their vagina—either because it’s, understandably, difficult to do, or something they’re not interested in doing. This isn’t an idea, as a man, I had contemplated before. My junk is just kind of … there … hanging around, when it’s not otherwise restrained, for better or for worse. I see it whenever I’m changing or bathing. I’m not sure what kind of relationship other men have with their penises. Our patriarchal culture is pretty phallic and certainly places a lot of emphasis on men’s “prowess”, but since I’m not interested in any of that jazz, it isn’t something I’ve thought about too much. Still, in general, men don’t face the same level of body-shaming that women face. We’re encouraged to look fit and sexy and buff and whatnot, but there aren’t the same penalties for non-conformance that there are for women. Moreover, men’s biology and sexuality both are seen as normal things to be proud of and celebrated. Women’s biology is aberrant—women have “extra plumbing,” as if maleness is the default. And female masturbation is still seen in a different light from male masturbation. So, for all these reasons, The Vagina Monologues as a cultural phenomenon makes a lot of sense. We have a puritanical, patriarchal aversion to discussing female sexuality and genitalia, and we need to change the channel on that—and fast. It’s messed up that young girls grow up thinking their bodies are gross or shameful or unacceptable when they simply are, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Ensler makes it very clear that her vision for the play has grown over time, morphing from a series of “vagina interviews” to a more concerted effort to stop violence against women. Many of the monologues don’t just focus on women’s ambivalence about their vaginas but also the way others have violated or abused them. I mentioned before that I didn’t receive the same emotional charge I might have if I were hearing this performed. Nevertheless, some of the monologues were definitely difficult to read. In particular, Ensler manages to convey how many women who experience sexual violence feel dirty, unclean, or less whole as a result—they feel like they are the ones who transgressed, that even if they were not asking for it, somehow they let it happen. These are ideas I’ve run across before, but hearing them expressed in such a direct way is different. With this in mind, I understand why Ensler chooses to include slightly more silly-sounding monologues, like the lists of clothing women’s vaginas might wear. It’s important that The Vagina Monologues, despite Ensler’s laudable focus on anti-violence messaging, includes body-positive aspects of vaginahood. Still … the monologues that put, shall we say, a more spiritual emphasis on the whole exploring-one’s-vagina thing did not do much for me. And I’m not sure how much of that is the book and how much is my own, personal discomfort with embodiment in general. It’s not even vaginas—I’m just not really all that enthusiastic about corporeal existence as a general rule. The most spiritual experiences for me happen when I’m out of my body, engrossed by a book. This “V-Day Edition” contains letters and materials from participants and organizers of V-Day across college campuses. These testimonials are interesting companions to the monologues proper, as various people explain what The Vagina Monologues or V-Day means to them. It’s also a glimpse into what social advocacy was like before social media. The Vagina Monologues went viral before going viral was a thing (yay for hipster viralness!); social media makes it easier for these kinds of movements to take off very quickly, but very few of them have staying power. That this book remains talked-about and controversial after twenty years is fascinating, though I’m sad we haven’t seemed to make as much progress on giving women agency over their bodies as we should have. (I’m looking at you, United States, and your crazy hang-ups about old white dudes controlling women’s bodies.) I can say unequivocally that we need more books like The Vagina Monologues. We need books that celebrate women’s bodies and that offer frank, sometimes joyous and sometimes painful, memories of women’s experiences. We need books that make talking about one’s body something acceptable, not shameful. I’ve got a few other books on my radar that are like that. However, your actual experience with The Vagina Monologues is going to depend a lot on your personal experience, your gender performance, and the way you frame your feminism (if any). Unlike, say, Unspeakable Things , this is not a book I’d recommend to everyone. With its monologues’ mono-topical focus, to the exclusion largely of issues of trans identity, asexuality, and race, The Vagina Monologues might be “feminist” in the way it transgresses the patriarchal norms around discussing women’s genitalia. However, its lack of intersectionality means that it will always only offer a partial, incomplete vision of how women relate to their genitalia. Ensler acknowledges this herself in her introduction (though she kind of handwaves it away as not a problem). Nevertheless, it’s a powerful for what it is.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Divine Anas

    “The heart is capable of sacrifice. So is the vagina. The heart is able to forgive and repair. It can change it's 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. So can the vagina.” This is definitely one of my favorite books this year! I know that most people would be uncomfortable reading this (of course when they don't have a vagina to begin with) and “The heart is capable of sacrifice. So is the vagina. The heart is able to forgive and repair. It can change it's 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. So can the vagina.” This is definitely one of my favorite books this year! I know that most people would be uncomfortable reading this (of course when they don't have a vagina to begin with) and some even posted long drawn out analysis that explains how pseudo-feminist The Vagina Monologues are. They say women should be viewed as normal people and that there's no need to "deify" the vagina or even talk about it. It's not special right??? I honestly was taken aback by this take because they seem to not get the memo that this was supposedly written to empower women and to reclaim the derogatory meaning attached to the vagina. Like, did we read the same thing or you just didn't get the vulnerable stories of violence against women here and how our patriarchal society compartmentalized women's bodies into neat little shapes??? The Vagina Monologues is hilariously written, it's sometimes obscene, but most importantly it's unflinchingly honest. I am my vagina. I am privileged enough to have never experienced violence just because I'm a woman (thanks mom and dad!). But coming to terms with your sex and knowing the intricacies of your body doesn't necessarily mean that we are objectifying our own bodies! Can you even hear how absurd that sounds? As if countless objectification by the opposite sex isn't enough. LOL I really hate how dismissive some of the reviews of this book are especially when the book is not just about romanticizing the vagina. Yes we're hyper fixating in the vagina but by doing so, women are given the space to realize the autonomy of their bodies outside the male gaze! I love this book mostly because it's refreshing to read about my body and it further opens my eyes on the experiences of other women brought by the act of diminishing their vagina. If you're a woman and you probably have doubts on picking this one up then I think you should try reading three star reviews (they're the most unbiased) instead of believing the low ratings. I'm making this a 5 star read because I love how this book also emphasized women solidarity above all else. I'll probably watch the play soon!!!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nandakishore Varma

    I did not read the book, but a sample that was available online. While I found the concept revolutionary and exciting - women talking about what happens "down there" - after two or three monologues I sort of lost interest. Maybe it's different to see it performed. But I do think it should be performed all around the world, with dialogues in local languages added on as required, based on regional experiences. It would be very intriguing. But with the current puritanical mood in India, I think any a I did not read the book, but a sample that was available online. While I found the concept revolutionary and exciting - women talking about what happens "down there" - after two or three monologues I sort of lost interest. Maybe it's different to see it performed. But I do think it should be performed all around the world, with dialogues in local languages added on as required, based on regional experiences. It would be very intriguing. But with the current puritanical mood in India, I think any attempt to produce it will land the organisers in the jug!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    Upon reading this book I gave it the "I liked it" three star rating. Having now listened to Eve Ensler breathe so much energy and character into these monologues, I am increasing my rating to four stars. The audiobook version of The Vagina Monologues is wonderfully textural. My emotional responses to these pieces as they floated into my mind this afternoon were in abundance whereas when I was reading the monologues I gradually became aware of an emotional disconnect which felt, for me, extremely Upon reading this book I gave it the "I liked it" three star rating. Having now listened to Eve Ensler breathe so much energy and character into these monologues, I am increasing my rating to four stars. The audiobook version of The Vagina Monologues is wonderfully textural. My emotional responses to these pieces as they floated into my mind this afternoon were in abundance whereas when I was reading the monologues I gradually became aware of an emotional disconnect which felt, for me, extremely concerning! Unfortunately, I think that when I first engaged with this book I unintentionally fell into my trawl-for-discussion-resources-and-excerpts-technique that I reserve for second readings only. Now I realise that I really and truly needed to absorb the tone of each monologue. I am unable to give this book (and audiobook) a five star rating because, like a number of my fellow Goodreaders, I feel disappointed that Ensler failed to acknowledge, accept and provide a space for gender fluidity. Her failure to include in the collection of monologues the thoughts, feelings and experiences of transgendered people is rather unacceptable in my opinion. I wholly appreciate that these monologues are about catharsis and empowering people to voice vagina narratives ( - which I feel she achieves, and with an extraordinary eloquence she shares them), therefore I believe it should have been essential for Ensler to also hear from and speak to the transgender and genderqueer communities. Four stars is where this piece is being promoted to and no higher. Later on this year I will be supporting a group of women, some of whom are, like me, survivors of sexual violence and exploitation, to experience TVM as a performance piece. On a personal level, and in my professional capacity, I am looking forward to this theatre trip but mindful of my earlier comments concerning the ways in which this audiobook version triggered an emotional response from me, I feel so very pleased that I decided to obtain a copy of The Vagina Monologues on compact disc first. Vulva and Out.

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