#BangingBookClub: The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

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 Yes, I haven’t blogged for ages. Yes, this should have been posted in February. Yes, I’m sorry. Now on with the show…  *

(*I truly am sorry)

This play is about exactly what you think it’s about – vaginas (which sounds so weird to say, I guess because I’ve internalised this shame and secrecy surrounding the female genitalia, heck even writing the word genitalia makes me feel awkward). The play goes back and forth between dialogue, individual stories about certain women’s experiences with their own vaginas and facts.

There is this “darkness and secrecy surrounding them”, a shame I think originates from the patriarchal idea that women’s bodies should be private and unseen . It is hilariously described as a mysterious place, like a cave “nobody ever reports back” from. Continuously throughout the different accounts, the same feeling about the vagina being  detached from us, not a part of us, seemed to crop up a lot, for example the lady in The Flood was so ashamed about having an orgasm in her youth that she locked it up like a “cellar”. Contrastingly, it’s interesting that when a six-year-old is asked to describe her vagina, her descriptions are mostly positive images, “snowflakes”, “peach”, and a smart “diamond”, like she hasn’t been impacted by the negativity surrounding her own body yet. 

Who needs a handgun when you’ve got a semiautomatic?

When asked to speak about their vaginas, the women got “excited” – we internalise this shamefulness surrounding them but once it became normalised these women felt happy to talk about their vaginas. But they aren’t just something sexual, as reinforced in I Was There In The Room, they’re “a sacred vessel”, a gateway to human life.

A deep well with a tiny stuck child inside, waiting to be rescued.

I will now talk about some of the individual stories…

Hair  

In this story the woman was made to shave off her pubic hair by her husband, despite the fact that she didn’t want to. She was made to do something to her own vagina that she wasn’t happy nor comfortable with and even the therapist called it a compromise that must be made in marriage. Yet this was a one way compromise, and after everything, her husband still cheated on her.

The Vagina Workshop

This was such an odd concept to me, do these really exist? The lady who attended the workshop felt that her vagina was like an “abstract plane”, she also did not see it as something attached to her and only knew what she knew about vaginas from things she’d heard . And like so many other women she also held this  shame of orgasming and fear of being “frigid” and incapable.

My Angry Vagina was a right chuckle and definitely one of my favourites! The way it was personified and the voice of the story was just great. This contrasted starkly with My Vagina Was My Village, a darker and jarred story.  

I dream there’s a dead animal sewn in down there with thick black fishing line

Did you know that it’s illegal to sell vibrators in some states in the US? Like you can buy a gun, but not a VIBRATOR?

We have yet to hear of a mass murder committed with a vibrator.

 I Was There In The Room, the last of the stories, was one of my favourites. It was so graphic, yet beautifully written, to emphasise the ugly and the preciousness of childbirth. The ending was almost poetic, and perfect end to the play in my opinion. I’d love to see it live!

The heart is capable of sacrifice.
So is the vagina.
The heart is able 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. I was there in the room.
I remember.

Overall, The Vagina Monologues were funny, quirky, and fascinating to read. It’s a quick and light read (despite it taking me so long to blog about it!) and definitely one I recommend to anyone. The only criticism I really have is that it ignores sexuality and gender.

Goodreads |Buy The Vagina Monologues

Until another time,

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