Nikki's Reviews > The Vagina Monologues

The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler
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's review
Jan 03, 2011

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bookshelves: non-fiction, lgbt, contemporary, plays
Read on January 03, 2011

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.
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Comments <span class="smallText"> (showing 1-3 of 3) </span> <span class="smallText">(3 new)</span>

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message 1: by K.D. (new) - added it

K.D. Absolutely Nice review, Nikki!

message 2: by Gardavson (new)

Gardavson Excellent review!

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Very interesting. Thanks!

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