The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

Published in 2001 by Virago Press Ltd.

About the Author

Eve Ensler is an American playwright, performer, feminist, and activist, best known for her play The Vagina Monologues. In 2006 Charles Isherwood of the New York Times called The Vagina Monologues “probably the most important piece of political theater of the last decade. Ensler was born in New York City, the second of three children of Arthur Ensler, an executive in the food industry, and Chris Ensler. She was raised in the northern suburb of Scarsdale. Her father was Jewish and her mother Christian, and she grew up in a predominantly Jewish community.


I come from a generation that uses the word ‘pussy’ quite often-either in a derogatory manner or in whispered or hushed tones when we’re talking about sex or periods with my girlfriends. A few friends have recommended this book to me for a while now but I’ve been delaying it because it’s a collection of stories where women talk about their vaginas (how interesting does that sound) and when are you ever going to be in a mood for something like that ? But I was thoroughly surprised. The Foreword by Gloria Steinem and the introduction by Eva Ensler is interesting. It starts off with asking us if we have ever seen our own vaginas. I was stumped because I realized I hadn’t. The different names used by different cultures (I remember our aunts used to use pussycat) that had me confunded, the reactions when you get your first period, genital mutilation, lesbians, the whole point of moaning, rape, the perspective that the vagina is capable of as much sacrifice as the heart because it stretches and tears while giving life. This book made me appreciate the written word and myself even more – the VDay foundation – a movement that began after this book with the aim to end violence against women.
Though I think the play would be better than the book because the stories do seem a bit distorted. I could identify with some and not so much with others but it just goes to show the diverse ranges of emotions and expression of people from various cultures regarding one topic.