To celebrate V-day this year, I read the latest collected "writings to stop violence against women" - A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer edited by Eve Ensler and Mollie Doyle. Written in a style reminiscent of the monologues featured in the Vagina Monologues, this anthology is filled with short pieces from a wide range of accomplished authors, poets, playwrights, and reporters.
I read this collection in two sittings - which is not something I would necessarily recommend. Although the writing is easy to read given the diversity of provocative styles, the content of many of the essays is heavy. For those who have experienced physical violence or sexual assualt, some of the narratives could be triggering. The call to action that these pieces create, however, is powerful. The message of the V-day movement is clear in this collection - until the violence stops. Until, because there are so many activists working towards making a world without violence against women a reality. Until, because there still is a long way to go (as the FAQ in the appendix makes clear with useful statistical references).
The piece that most resonated with me was Ensler's "Fur is Back." This essay humorously illustrates what it's like to be that girl at the party who is seen as such a "Debbie Downer" because she just can't see the humor in sexist-racist-homophobic-classist-jokes or shut up about the current crises facing the world. As someone who has frequently been accussed of being a mood killer because of my insistence on not taking off my feminist hat (which means I can't laugh at anything! because feminists have nooooo sense of - patriarchal - humor), I appreciated Ensler's meditation on this topic. For me, "Fur is Back" was also good food for thought about how it is important to consider the best way to connect with different individuals based on their standpoint - humor sometimes trumps straight talk, questions sometimes trump answers, dialogue sometimes trumps lectures, etc.
A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer was definitely the best V-day gift that I've ever received. When you are looking for something for that someone special next year in mid-February, consider getting this text gift-wrapped!
Please note that as my M.A. thesis project is complete, the George Washington University is no longer overseeing research conducted in conjunction with this blog (effective June 2007 to present). The Informed Consent Materials created while this blog was under GWU's IRB oversight are still available for your information and the principles outlined in them are still being used as a general guide for my continued work.