I remember hearing about The Vagnia Monologues when I was in college. Since I was quite a bit of a fundie, I didn’t give it the time of day. Truthfully, the whole thing made me very uncomfortable. Things have changed and so have I. My past does not haunt me as it once did and I have broken free from the bonds of fundamentalism. I was at my friend’s house yesterday and I was sitting at her table eyeing all the books around me (books are our friends!) when I saw it. It was sitting there on the shelf. I asked for it. She handed it to me. I started reading. Sometimes I don’t read the foreword or intro but I’m glad I did. It was interesting. I think I actually got more out of it than the monologues themselves. My eyes got pretty big on a few occasions and my jaw dropped a few others. My two friends, who were talking about something pretty serious, couldn’t help but stop to ask me what I had just read (they had already finished the book). So here are my thoughts on the book:
This book is about “down there.” Yes, that’s right, your friendly neighborhood vagina. Or more accurately, your vulva (i.e., the whole package deal). My friend was mortified when I told her the term that I have used since my youth. In an effort to keep this post rated “E” for “Everyone,” I will say it’s listed on page 6 as what folks from New Jersey call it which make sense since I was born and raised there (until I was 14 anyway). Anywho, if there is one thing this book is not, that would be subtle. But after all, that’s the point. For too long us women have been taught it’s not okay to talk about our vagina. For instance, there are many phallic symbols that people see without trying and joke about without much consternation. And yet, would any one ever say that’s a…wait…is there even a word like phallicfor the vagina? Sheesh. Okay, so we call our vagina by various vague or insulting terms and somehow this has always been okay. Encouraged even. Well as far as Eve Ensler is concerned, it’s gotta stop! And I for one have to agree with her. Our vaginas are not some thing that should be shunned and neglected and spurned. Our vaginas are an extension of ourselves. They are wonderful. They are powerful.
Despite what some believe about The Vagina Monologues, is not a book about sex. It’s reverent in it’s irreverence. It is engaging. And it is a bridge to a much bigger issue: the neglect and abuse of women around the world. V-day is something they started in 1998 to continue to get the word out.
I read this book in one day. It is not a hard read and the format helps out quite a bit. There are lists of answers to questions like: If your vagina got dressed what would it wear? and If your vagina could talk, what would it say in two words? Strange? A bit. BUT! how wonderful a way to help women see that their vagina is not just a ‘thing between their legs.’ So again, this book is not about sex. It’s not erotica. I must say there is one part that is erotic, but other than that, it’s more exploratory. It’s about having a healthy relationship with your vagina. It’s about taking care of yourself. It’s about being a woman.
So if you are a woman I would recommend reading it. Even if parts are offensive to you, keep reading. You never have to agree with every word slapped between the covers of a book. It is well worth your time! If you you are a young woman, read it with a woman you trust. But just remember…she might need to read it just as much (if not more than!) you do so be gentle with her. And if you have little girls too young to read it (I would say maybe younger than 13?) read it yourself and teach them what you learn. It’s really important. I wish my mom would have taught me. But now maybe I’ll get to teach her…she still might not know that her vagina is not something to be ashamed of.