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The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler

The Vagina Monologues was the book chosen for January & February for Our Shared Shelf. It's the first one I've had a chance to read in a little bit, although I do have the others and will hopefully be able to read them soon-ish. The books are all topics I want to expand my knowledge of, so they will be read.

When it come to this book, I have no strong positive or negative feelings about it. Some of the entries really spoke to me; others made me laugh; some made me a little squeamish. However, there were others that didn't have an impact on me. So here are some bits that sparked something in me.

(Source: Kelsey Darling)
"Don't wear panties underneath your pajamas, dear; you need to air out your pussycat." In Westchester they called it a pooki, in New Jersey a twat. There's "powderbox," "derrière," a "poochi," a "poopi," a "peepe," a "poopelu," a "poonani," a "pal" and a "piche," "toadie," "dee dee," "nishi," "dignity," "mokey box," "coochi snorcher," "cooter," "labbe," "Gladys Siegelman," "VA," a "pajama," "fannyboo," "mushmellow," a "ghoulie," "possible," "tamale," "tottita," "Connie," a "Mimi" in Miami, "split knish" in Philadelphia, and "scmende" in the Bronx. I am worried about vaginas."      (p. 6)

So first off, how the hell are there so many names for a vagina?! Why? And secondly, I, too, am worried about vaginas.

"I used to have dreams, crazy dreams. Oh, they're dopey. Why? Burt Reynolds. I don't know why. He never did much for me in life, but in my dreams...it was always Burt and I." (p.28)

(Source: Google Image)
This one had me laughing. I read it a few times, and even now, typing it, sends me into a fit of giggles. Burt Reynolds doesn't do it for me, even in dreams, but I know there are definitely some questionable dreams from my past, and I feel like I can safely say that everyone else has one of those weird dreams too.

"Then I met Bob. Bob was the most ordinary man I ever met. He was thin and tall and nondescript and wore khaki clothes. Bob did not like spicy foods or listen to Prodigy. He had no interest in sexy lingerie. In the summer he spent time in the shade. He did not share his inner feelings. He did not have any problems or issues, and was not even an alcoholic. He wasn't very funny or articulate or mysterious. He wasn't mean or unavailable. He wasn't self-involved or charismatic. He didn't drive fast. I didn't particularly like Bob. I would have missed him altogether if he hadn't picked up my change that I dropped on the deli floor. When he handed me back my quarters and pennies and his hand accidentally touched mine, something happened. I went to bed with him. That's when the miracle occurred. Turned out that Bob loved vaginas." (pp. 54-55)

To quote Barney Stinson...

(Source: Google Image)
"In the nineteenth century, girls who learned to develop orgasmic capacity by masturbation were regarded as medical problems. Often they were 'treated' or 'corrected' by amputation or cautery of the clitoris or 'miniature chastity belts,' sewing the vaginal lips together to put the clitoris out of reach, and even castration by surgical removal of the ovaries. But there are no references in the medical literature to the surgical removal of testicle or amputation of the penis to stop masturbation in boys.
"In the United States, the last recorded clitoridectomy for curing masturbation was performed in 1948-on a five-year-old girl."
-The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets
(pp. 65-66)

The first part of the Vagina Fact did not surprise me. Despite women continually being sexualized over the years, the thought that a woman could actually be pleasured without the help of a man, is something that still to this day is something to be hush hush about. The second part of the statement horrified me for a few reasons. One, 1948 was only 69 years ago. In the grand scheme of things, that it is not that long ago. Second, the fact that it occurred in the United States scares me. I know that this still happens in other places (and I will do whatever I can to stop that); but a part of me wanted to believe that we were better than that. And lastly, on a five-year-old! I am still wrapping my head around how that was justified.

"That night, we named her-my husband, Randy, and I. Just like the frogs. Dressed her in sparkles and sexy clothes, put her in front of the body chapel, lit candles. At first we whispered it, 'Vulva, vulva,' softly to see if she'd hear. 'Vulva, vulva, are you there?' There was sweetness and something definitely stirred. 'Vulva, vulva, are you real?'
"And we sang the vulva song, which didn't involve croaking but kissing, and we danced the vulva dance, which didn't involve hopping but leaping, and all the other body parts were lined up-Betty and Gladys and Shorty-and they were definitely listening." (pp. 89-90)

(Source: Giphy)
This one made me extremely nauseous to read. It made me even more nauseous to write. And I am doing my best to not look back up at those words because I don't want to lose my appetite. For me, that was just a bit too much detail.

It was interesting read; knowing how other women feel about their vaginas, how they discovered them. Although some monologues were cringe-worthy, they are the stories of these women and cannot be held against them. For them, they were beautiful moments, real moments, and a part of them.

Rating: 5/10
Genres: Feminism, Plays, Non-Fiction

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