I recently watched the creator of the Vagina Monologues, Eva Ensler, on an internet broadcast. I was immediately inspired to celebrate my 20 year anniversary as a Woman's Health Nurse Practitioner. I can't even begin to count the number of vaginal exams I've done. But I was gentle enough that women requested my exam over that of anyone else's where I used to work. After going to see the Vagina Monologues for the first time, I no longer took that compliment for granted. The Vagina Monologues is made up of a varying number of monologues read by a assorted number of women (initially, Eve Ensler performed every monologue herself, with subsequent performances featuring three actresses, and more recent versions featuring a different actress for every role).
Every monologue somehow relates to the vagina, be it through sex, love, rape, menstruation, mutilation, masturbation, birth, orgasm, the variety of names for the vagina, or simply as a physical aspect of the female body. A recurring theme throughout the piece is the vagina as a tool of female empowerment, and the ultimate embodiment of individuality. Some monologues include: ? I Was Twelve, My Mother Slapped Me: a chorus describing many young women's and girls' first menstrual period.
? My Angry Vagina, in which a woman humorously rants about injustices wrought against the vagina, such as tampons, douches, and the tools used by OB/GYNs ? My Vagina Was My Village, a monologue compiled from the testimonies of Bosnian women subjected to rape camps. ? The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could, in which a woman recalls memories of traumatic sexual experiences in her childhood and a self-described "positive healing" sexual experience in her adolescent years with an older woman. ? The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy, in which a dominatrix for women discusses the intriguing details of her career and her love of giving women pleasure. In several performances it often comes at the end of the play, literally climaxing with a vocal demonstration of a "triple orgasm." ? Because He Liked to Look At It, in which a woman describes how she came to love her vagina because of a sexual experience with a man who was in awe of vaginas. ? I Was There In The Room, a monologue in which Eve Ensler describes the birth of her granddaughter.
Every year a new monologue is added to highlight a current issue affecting women around the world. The monologue is performed at thousands of local V-Day benefit productions of the play that take place annually in February and March raising funds for local groups, shelters, crisis centers working to end violence against women. In 2003, for example, Ensler wrote a new monologue about the plight of women in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. This Monologue is known as "Under the Burqa.
" The Vagina Monologues are the cornerstone of the V-Day movement, whose participants stage benefit performances of the show worldwide each year between February 1st and March 8th (International Women's Day). The first V-Day benefit took place on Valentine's Day 1998 and many of the local benefits are held on Valentine's Day. The "V" in V-Day stands for Valentine, Vagina, and Victory, linking love and respect for women to ending violence against women and girls.
The proceeds from these performances go to programs that work to end violence against women and girls, including crisis centers and women's shelters. In 2007, more than 3000 V-Day events took place in 1150 colleges and communities in the U.S. and around the world.
To date, the V-Day movement has raised over $40 million and educated millions about the issue of violence against women and the efforts to end it, crafted international educational, media and PSA campaigns, launched the Karama program in the Middle East, reopened shelters, and funded over 5000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Kenya, South Dakota, Egypt and Iraq. This year marks my V Day Coming Out Party. I no longer stand by as women are dis-repected and demeaned.
I am a self-appointed advocate for women and nurses everywhere. In my personal life, I no longer people please, and no matter what someone tells me they think I should be doing, I always consult my inner guides and angels, first. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of my mother's death. I am my mother's daughter. I am here to champion the cause of women's suffrage, just like my mother and my grandmother, my mother's mother.
The ancestral lineage smiles upon us all.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=--=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=- Kate Loving Shenk is a writer, healer, musician and the creator of the e-book called "Transform Your Nursing Career and Discover Your Calling and Destiny." Click here to find out how to order the e-book: http://www.nursingcareertransformation.com Check Out Kate's Blog: http://www.nursehealers.typepad.com -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-