V-Day Feminism

Happy V-Day to all the men, women and and other genders out there. The ‘V’ in this case stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina. Upon stumbling across Emma Watson’s instagram page at the start of the new year, I found myself joining her online book club. The book of the month happened to be The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. Thus began my education on V-Day.

V-Day is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. V-Day occurs on the 14th February whereby creative events take place around in the world to increase awareness, raise money and revitalise the spirit of existing anti-violence organisations. It all started with Eve Ensler, a woman who wrote a play about women’s sexuality and the social stigma surrounding rape and abuse, creating a new conversation about and with women. She based it on dozens of interviews with various women who told Eve about their own personal experiences. Many women who attended performances of the play felt inspired and compelled to share with Eve their experiences too. Then in 1998, a group of women, including Eve Ensler established V-Day. They felt by organising performances of the play that it would move people to act to end violence.

I decided to talk to women about their vaginas, to do vagina interviews, which became vagina monologues…At first women were reluctant to talk. They were a little shy. But once they got going, you couldn’t stop them. Women secretly love to talk about their vaginas. They get very excited, mainly because no one’s ever asked them before.

After reading this book, the feminist within me wants to stand at the top of a tallest mountain and shout “VAGINA” to the world, while waving my bra like a flag in victory. However when I really sit back and think about this book, I am not as impressed as I thought I would be.
The Vagina Monologues was written back in 1996 ( the same year I was born). A lot of the people featured in the interviews have a tendency to be ashamed of their female “bits” or don’t know enough about it. It’s almost like a taboo topic. However, reading this twenty years on, it didn’t reveal anything I didn’t already know. Talking about vaginas and sex with my friends isn’t an unpopular conversation, in fact, it’s a favourite.  This is a positive thing, I think. It shows that we have come a long ways in twenty years. From my experience, we are much more comfortable with sex and talking about it. I do think the Vagina Monologues is an important book and probably far better seen performed.
I think it is definitely a more western/American story. Cultures are different everywhere so some people may not relate at all to the anecdotes in it, I think we can all appreciate an respect the stories and come away from it with a better understanding of ourselves and the world. ★ ★ ★ ★

I’ve always considered myself a feminist. Saying it made me feel cool. Belonging to a group made me feel strong. And being part of something that was important-, that was going to change the future made me feel inspired. It wasn’t until a few months ago, when I really started to take an interest in the world that I realised being a feminist wasn’t as simple as it seemed. I learnt that there are a lot of “types” of feminism and there is a whole lot more of people who disagree with feminism ( including women, surprisingly ). I had heard about femi-Nazis, man-haters and sexist-bigoted men. I just never believed they were real or that they were giving feminism a bad name.

Not too long, I scrolled through pinterest and came across an article about why women chose not to be feminists. This peaked my interest and I was baffled to think what reasons people could have to be against feminism.

“I don’t consider myself a feminist but I wish more men would treat me like a human and not a stereotype” ~ tell me again what feminism means? Your oxymoron precisely says you want men to see you as a person, not a woman whose purpose is for raising children and working in the kitchen, YET you disagree with feminism EVEN THOUGH it promotes that women can work, have equal pay to men and enjoy sex as a thing of pleasure not just a method to get pregnant.

“I’m a girl, yet I hate feminism. I think demanding equality yet still expecting  chivalry is wrong. You can have one or the other. ” Opening a door for a woman does not mean that they are too weak to do so on their own or that you’re doing it just to look at her ass. Respecting a woman as a human being is not the opposite to chivalry. Being equal to someone does not mean you have to be unkind or unfriendly.

“I agree with equal rights but feminists are always so angry and aggressive. ” Of course we’re angry! And don’t tell me it’s un-lady-like to be angry. I think the best response to this is to read an article by Louise O’Neill [HERE]

There were many other reasons why women chose not to be feminists. After hearing both sides of the argument I can safely say that I choose to be a feminist. I want women to be equal to men because they are still (one of) the oppressed gender(s). I want to repeal the 8th and give human rights back to women to be able to take control for their own body. And I want men to be not ashamed to have feelings and that it is okay to talk because mental health and suicide in men is significantly high. And I want all genders to know and understand consent, because rape is wrong. Your body is your own and no one else should have a say in it.

There have been many feminist in the past like Betty Frieden and Nuala Fennell. They “burned their bras” and got women the right to vote and to contraception. The feminists today use media as a tool to inspire others and continue the empowerment of women. Books like The Handmaid’s Tale and Asking For It spark conversations. Speeches from Malala Yousafzai and Emma Watson motivate us to fight. Feminists like Scarlett Curtis, Mary Robinson, Louise O’Neill and Emma Watson encourage the on going movement to equality. If this has been the past, and this is the present, will you be part of the future of feminism?

Happy V-Day! {()}
Always, M


  • Steph Spying February 20, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Marian, I loved your opening: After reading this book, the feminist within me wants to stand at the top of a tallest mountain and shout "VAGINA" to the world, while waving my bra like a flag in victory.

    What an empowering post for valentines day. I've personally need read the monologues, but I've seen them acted out by Drama students.


  • Marian February 20, 2017 at 7:43 pm

    Thank you, Steph! The book just makes you proud to be a woman, I think.
    I hope you get around to reading it sometime. I just found out that my college are actually putting on a performance of the monologues next week! Hopefully they have tickets left.
    Thanks for stopping by ^_^


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