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The Vagina Monologues

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3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  17,714 Ratings  ·  1,070 Reviews
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.
Paperback, 185 pages
Published May 3rd 2001 by Virago Press Ltd. (first published 1996)
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Warwick
May 23, 2015 Warwick rated it did not like it
Shelves: drama, gender-stuff
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-
...more
Elle
Dec 21, 2013 Elle rated it it was ok
Shelves: plays, gender, overrated
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 ...more
Whitney Atkinson
Nov 05, 2016 Whitney Atkinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, feminism
LOVE. Wish this was longer.
Anthony Vacca
Nov 12, 2014 Anthony Vacca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Shannon
Feb 22, 2008 Shannon rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: feminists who don't feel like thinking too hard
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 ...more
Aaron
Dec 24, 2013 Aaron rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Ideologues, those looking for a larf.
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 ...more
Christian McKay
Jan 07, 2014 Christian McKay rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Nikki
Dec 21, 2013 Nikki rated it liked it
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
...more
Dixie Diamond
Mar 28, 2014 Dixie Diamond rated it did not like it
Shelves: plays, women
"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
...more
Beth F.
Oct 22, 2010 Beth F. rated it liked it
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. ...more
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 ...more
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.

Jesse James
Apr 16, 2007 Jesse James rated it did not like it
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.
Anna
Dec 16, 2009 Anna rated it liked it
Shelves: earlyyears
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
Maxi
Oct 04, 2016 Maxi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, feminism
*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
...more
Debbie
Jan 23, 2008 Debbie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: women everywhere
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
...more
Deniz Balcı
Oct 12, 2016 Deniz Balcı rated it really liked it
Bir belge çalışmasından yola çıkılarak, vajinanın neliği üzerine farkındalık yaratan; çeşitli sanat ve medya dallarına yayılıp çok kollu bir projeye dönüşen bu 'Vajina Monologları'nın ülkemizde de sahnelenen tiyatro oyunundan haberdar olmuş ancak izleme fırsatını yakalayamamıştım.

Miron Yayınları'nın, 2002'de Özden Öke çevirisiyle yayımlamış olduğu bu Türkçe baskısına denk gelince hemen okumak istedim. Oldukça ilgi çekici bir metin bu. Aslında vajinayla ilgili yazılmış bir şey ne kadar ilginç ol
...more
Sara
Dec 16, 2009 Sara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
...more
Chris
Oct 22, 2016 Chris rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Ben 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
...more
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 ...more
JT
Feb 27, 2008 JT rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Whoever wants to read it
Recommended to JT by: A friend of my mom's who sees it the way I do.
So, I know, I am only giving this book 3 stars. Not that I didn't think that some, even most of it was really good, my dislike starts to form when they are performed. The monologues and stories in this book are well written, they are heartwarming, funny, devastating, real and emotional. Some rip your heart out, some make you laugh because we have all done what ever it was. The problem with performance of this piece is that when some people start to say these words for a crowd, it becomes more ...more
Caitlin
Jun 15, 2007 Caitlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have a vagina, you need to read this or see it performed. (If even you don't, it may help you better understand those who do!)
I performed in this most of the years I was in college as part of the national V-day campaign, and the experiences I gained there with stay with me forever. Some of the monologues are funny, some are heart-wrenching. The play is an emotional roller coaster if you let yourself get swept away in it. I only wish this would include some of the optional monologues that
...more
Sam
Aug 03, 2016 Sam rated it really liked it
Well I can see why this is a book that has and still does divide opinion. Not only does Ensler deliberately use vagina instead of vulva, the more discomfort inducing of the two words even if its not anatomically accurate (which she does acknowledge and explain), but she looks at women through the viewpoint of their vaginas. To many this is not what women are but I thought this was rather cleve in that men are often regarded/described/thought of by their penises/balls (just think of the various ...more
Vannessa Anderson
In order for the human race to continue, women must be safe and empowered. It’s an obvious idea, but like a vagina, it needs great attention and love in order to be revealed.—Gloria Steinem

Synonyms for Vagina: the short list

that girl down there—down there—pussy—pussy cat—miss mary—snatch—clit—vagina—money maker—the hairy monster—the snapper—genital—the twat—girlfriend—sadie—cunt—itsy bitsy—the package—vulva—powder box—pooki—derrière—poochi—poopi—peepe—poopelu—poonani—pal—piche—toadie—dee dee—n
...more
I. Merey
Mar 08, 2015 I. Merey added it
Shelves: 2015, play, feminism
ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

It is hard for me to rate this play, so I won't.
I read it because I had heard that an American university cancelled their annual production of this show. The material was considered outdated and that reminded me...'wow, I have STILL not read the Vagina Monologues.'

I was surprised by how *short* it was.... really, just a handful of pages. It was... well yeah. It was what I expected.

I'd like to believe that since the play has come out 20 years ago
...more
Natalie
Mar 14, 2012 Natalie rated it it was amazing
You can giggle all you want at the title- and you can giggle an even considerable amount more when you open the book, as well. Yes, it is in the category of "Feminism," but don't the let the stereotype dissuade you from reading. If I could sum this book up in one word, I'd say it's beautiful. I read it for a Women's Literature class several years back, and it surpassed my expectations greatly.

The idea behind the book, is generally, yes, somewhere along the line of answers to the question, "If y
...more
Manny
May 15, 2012 Manny marked it as to-read
The US Presidential Election is now in full swing. Particularly if you are a US citizen who happens to possess a vagina, you will want to avoid this crude, tasteless, completely unamusing campaign ad. Shame on you, Real Republican Real Women Of Real America!
Bunnyhugger1
Feb 05, 2012 Bunnyhugger1 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry-plays, reviews
Throughout reading this, I was bothered repeatedly by one major error: she frequently uses vagina when she means VULVA! It makes me cringe that a play dedicated to freeing women from shame about this most intimate of body parts can't even name it correctly.

I also didn't really connect with the monologues and no doubt that's because they were meant to be seen performed, not read. I would probably only buy this if I had already seen and enjoyed a performance.

So why 3 stars and not fewer? It's an a
...more
Sylwia (Wish Fulfillment)
Jun 05, 2016 Sylwia (Wish Fulfillment) rated it really liked it
This is my second read and review of this book.

Why I Recommend Bumping This Up On Your TBR: It is a stirring account of how many (for the most part cis?) women think and feel about how they've been treated due to being women. Both times I've read this, I've cried and felt affected. I consider this a MUST READ for everyone, no matter your reading or educational interests. I recommend reading the entire thing out loud to yourself.
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Banging Book Club: General discussion of the monologues 39 137 Feb 28, 2016 07:45AM  
What's with the hate? 15 67 Mar 01, 2013 08:55AM  
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Eve Ensler is an internationally bestselling author and an award-winning playwright whose works include The Vagina Monologues, The Good Body, Insecure at Last, and I Am an Emotional Creature, since adapted for the stage as Emotional Creature. She is the founder of V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls, which has raised more than $90 million for local groups and activis ...more
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“When you rape, beat, maim, mutilate, burn, bury, and terrorize women, you destroy the essential life energy on the planet.” 92 likes
“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. I was there in the room. I remeber.” 71 likes
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