Thursday, January 26, 2017

Book Review: The Vagina Monologues

TITLE: The Vagina Monologues
AUTHOR: Eve Ensler
CATEGORY: Play, Non-Fiction
PUBLISHED: 1996 (I had the 10th anniversary edition published in 2006)
GENRE: Essays?
PREMISE: A print version of a play that features women telling stories related to their vagina.
MY REVIEW: So, I recently decided to join Emma Watson's Our Shared Shelf. I half-heartedly did it last year because I had so many books on my list last year and I wasn't sure how much I would like what was chosen for the book club (the pitfalls of any book club, lets face it) and while one I will never read (Caitlin Moran is transphobic, I'm not giving her my reading time) I liked the inclusive variety of reads, so I'll be following along this year. Plus, it fits in nicely with my get the feminist reads done goal this year.
So...I heard about the Vagina Monologues. There's probably not a theater nerd or feminist who hasn't. I also knew the basic premise of it. I also get terribly amused watching the general public lose their collective minds every time some theater or stage dares to do this play. Man, people really are scared of the word vagina, aren't they?
If you're one of the people who gets super uncomfortable with that word...well, this probably won't be for you. Not only is it terribly blunt about the word vagina, it is blunt about sex. Sometimes explicitly so. It also is blunt about childbirth, abuse, rape, and a whole lot of other issues surrounding the vagina. Now, I have heard the claims about this play being transphobic. I'm...not sure about that one. I mean, yeah it does talk an awful lot about vaginas, but there is also a monologue in it from trans women so it does try to be inclusive. But I also suspect that was a late edition to this new version I got, because it's the only trans monologue in the bunch. Same with the one monologue from a non-white person. tries to be inclusive...but I'm not so sure it succeeds.
This is one of those reads that I've found gets a lot of different reactions. I've seen some really positive reviews, some really negative reviews, and a lot of reviews that range somewhere in between. I think it's one of those things that whether you like it, will honestly just depend on you as a person. Me, the intent of it. Some monologues were better then others. I suspect it gets more impact when you see it on stage. I'm smack dab in the middle of the Bible Belt so the odds of there ever being a production here of it are...slim, to say the least.
WHO SHOULD READ: Feminists, theater nerds
MY RATING: Three and a half out of Five feelings about how vagina should not be a dirty word

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