Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"At First Women Were Reluctant to Talk"

The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler
Weight: 9 oz.
Method of disposal: Attempting to give it away through a social networking site. If I cannot I will move on to plan B.

Today, I am parting with my copy of The Vagina Monologues, complete with the highlighting of the fifteen year old I was when I bought it. I saw it on a shelf in the drama section at Waldenbooks when I worked there, and I bought it because of the title. I read the book that same night and loved it. It started a sort of-affair. I went to see college productions of it on a regular basis throughout the years and one time I went with my friend Sarah to see it done by Eve Ensler herself. Later, I would volunteer at an event that hosted Ms. Ensler and Jane Fonda. A whole group of us took a picture I have never seen. I remember Eve Ensler’s hand on my shoulder. Even later, I would go to Charis with a very attractive queer preacher to see her talk about her publication, The Good Body. This is yet another time when I will be disbanding a book from a complete collection of all the books written by an author.
I use to be in awe of Eve Ensler. Can you tell? There has been a gradual letting go of that awe over the last six years and now I have a dull curiosity when I see her name in print. I will continue to read about her and her work. But I also think about that initial collection where a father buys his daughter a vagina—the only intersex narrative in the book—with dismay. She has spoken with students about it for years and compromises have been worked out, but it lingers in my copy and thousands of others. I think of Jakarta, Warsaw, Kenya, and other places where The Vagina Monologues has traveled and the mixture of emotions about it expressed in the feedback—the validity of the feelings of those who loved it and those who hated it. I love talking about sex, bodies, and sexuality. I also recoil from gynocentrism, and its effects on our beliefs about gender and sex as binary systems.
There is a lot good about Eve Ensler and about The Vagina Monologues, and I will never forget my initial love for it. It is time for me to move on now. Looking at my highlights, “My Angry Vagina” was my favorite piece in the collection when I first read it. In hindsight, it is hard to imagine growing up without it. I found this book at the perfect time. It did what, I think, it was intended to do. It helped me fall in love and/or maintain my love for my genitalia—though I do not think my vagina is the truly important component of my anatomy. It pales in comparison to my clitoris, my ears, my neck, and my back.

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