In early February 2001, just about six years ago today, I had the privilege of seeing The Vagina Monologues at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Written by Eve Ensler who performed it first as a one-woman show, the performance I saw included a star-studded cast of women, such as Jane Fonda, Rosie Perez, Linda Ellerbee, Glenn Close, Calista Flockhart, and Oprah Winfrey. It was an incredible performance!
The Vagina Monologues has also had a powerful impact on the world. In 1998, as a result of this award-winning play and its impact, V-Day was born. The mission of V-Day (The V stands for Victory, Valentine, and Vagina) is that violence must end and proclaims Valentineâ€™s Day as V-Day until that violence ends. Then V-Day will be known as Victory over Violence Day.
V-Day campaigns around the world are used to raise awareness and funds for anti-violence groups within their own communities. In 2006, more than 2700 V-Day benefits took place through the effort of volunteer activists in the U.S. and around the world.
In 2001, the first year of its incorporation, Worth Magazine named V-Day one of the 100 Best Charities. In eight years (Remember, it was started in 1998.), the V-Day movement has raised more than 30 million dollars.
The Vagina Monologues is also a book with a foreword by Gloria Steinem. The last paragraph of the foreword reads: I wish my own foremothers had known their bodies were sacred. With the help of outrageous voices and honest words like those in this book, I believe the grandmothers, mothers, and daughters of the future will heal their selves—and mend the world.” The slim, powerful book is published by Villard,a division of Random House, 2001. The original edition (1998) is exactly as the play, but the later edition has a lot of excellent, additional information. I recommend reading the book AND seeing the play.
(I also had the privilege of being the narrator of this play at Penn State University in February 2002, a few days after the cast saw the NYC performance. I was the “grandmother” of the PSU cast and as I attended rehearsals, I saw these young students become transformed into young women as a result of the words from the monologues that they memorized or listened to, night after night. This play had a powerful impact on everyone who participated as well as the audience. What a night!)
For more information on V-Day, go to www.vday.org. (The information for the review of V-Day is excerpted from this website.)