By Megan Reback
Tue February 12, 2013
Like many women, discovering The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler, and V-Day changed my life. A close friend told me about the Monologues, which I read cover to cover on Valentines Day of 2007. I was sixteen years old, a disempowered witness in a household plagued by violence. Privy to the pressures that young women face from the media, from men, from billboards, from magazines, and from a patriarchal society, combined with watching the physical and emotional abuse against women in my family, I had never considered the power of my femininity or of my vagina. After reading The Vagina Monologues, my reality was different: my role in the world had changed, my position as a young woman changed, and my perception of myself as an activist — an empowered, smart, capable, woman. It saved me.
Two friends and I were shaken to life by the Monologues on rape as a tactic of war, a male savior called Bob, and especially a monologue called “My Short Skirt,” which asserts, “I declare these streets, any streets, my vagina’s country.” We decided to perform the monologue at an open-mic night at our high school, but were told to omit the stanza that said the word “vagina.” As a 16 year old, I had yet to develop my feminist consciousness or truly understand the systemic roots of gender inequity; I had realized, however, that this was some kind of injustice — that it was right to perform the monologue in its entirety against the wishes of our school’s administration.
For that insubordinate act, as the administration called it, I was suspended from school.
In the ensuing months and years, I met Eve Ensler, discussed the whole ordeal on The Today Show, and attended the tenth anniversary of V-Day in New Orleans. I went on to study at Connecticut College, where I applied a gendered lens to my liberal arts education, exploring the question “Where are the women?” in everything I studied. I acted — as an actor and activist — in four years of The Vagina Monologues, and produced the show my senior year with a cast of 90 intelligent, complex, passionate, and compassionate women. The show and all of its implications has been the guiding light in what could have been a very dark world for me. Finding V-day and developing a feminist consciousness brought purpose to my life, and framed my existence in a way that was meaningful for the first time.
Now I can add Ensler’s new project, One Billion Rising, to my list of major life influences.
Continue reading at: http://vitaminw.co/society/woman-saved-vagina-monologues-considers-1-bn-rising