“The Vagina Monologues” playwright Eve Ensler has been speaking out about violence against women and girls with her V-Day movement for years. But she took things to a whole new level on February 14 of last year: One Billion Rising, her call to action that made headlines all over the world and even prompted celebrities like Anne Hathaway to speak out about gender-based violence. The premise was simple: on February 14, all over the world, women and men were asked to stop what they were doing and dance in the name of ending violence against women. Last year, one billion people “rose and shook the earth” through dance to strike back against the startling UN statistic that 1 in 3 women will be raped or beaten in their lifetime. One Billion Rising will be back in 2014 for a second round, and we are all invited to participate. This year, Ensler is screening a short film she created with Tony Stroebel about last year’s movement. “One Billion Rising” will be available to watch online on January 19, the same day it’s set to premiere at Sundance Film Festival. The film compiled footage of One Billion Rising from all over the world, and was put together with contributions of filmmakers from 207 countries. Check out the trailer and share it with everyone you know so we can make this year’s movement even bigger.
If you’re not into the commercial cutesiness of Valentine’s Day, there’s an alternate, empowering holiday to celebrate on February 14th: V-Day, a global movement to end violence against women and girls. ”The Vagina Monologues” playwright Eve Ensler created V-Day, which is celebrated each year on Valentine’s Day as the play is staged around the world to raise money for local rape crisis centers.
This year, V-Day also marks the grand finale of Ensler’s year long One Billion Rising campaign. The One Billion Rising name and collective goal derives from a statistic that one in three women will suffer abuse or rape in their lifetime; out of the seven billion people populating the world, that means roughly one billion women will be victims. Keep reading »
February 14th isn’t just Valentine’s Day: it’s also V-Day, the day dedicated to raising awareness about violence against women. The playwright Eve Ensler, whose play “The Vagina Monologues” is performed all over the country on V-Day to raise money for local shelters and crises centers which help women, is commemorating this year with One Billion Rising. The One Billion Rising campaign is asking people all over the world to go on strike for the day, and to hold gatherings and parties to protest against the violence instead. I won’t be striking, but I have been sending Eve Ensler’s “Man Prayer” video to some of the men in my life. It’s recited by men and boys from around the world, each in their own language. The prayer for men asks them to question toxic masculinity which are constricting, like solving problems by hitting, holding negative feelings inside and seeking to control. No matter what your faith, I think any feminist can join their hands together in this prayer. [YouTube]
“I had [a] moment after I finished making ‘Rachel Getting Married.’ I realized that the life I’d been living [was not authentic] and that I had to make a change. Then I found out that my trust had been betrayed quite massively. So for me, that call came at the end of 2007. Who was I going to be? There’s no magic bullet; there’s no pill that you take that makes everything great and makes you happy all the time. I’m letting go of those expectations, and that’s opening me up to moments of transcendent bliss. But I still feel the stress over ‘Am I thin enough? Am I too thin? Is my body the right shape?’ There’s an obsessive quality to it that I thought I would’ve grown out of by now. It’s an ongoing source of shame for me.”
– Anne Hathaway talks to Eve Ensler in the January issue of Glamour. Her honesty and self-awareness is just jumping off the page in this interview. I highly recommend reading the extended excerpt where she goes into more detail about the work she’s doing with One Billion Rising. It’s really inspiring. I picked this particular quote though, because I love how she talks about choosing to be a a better person when she was at a low moment in her life. I think we’ve all had moments like that, where we could choose to let them kick our ass, or we can allow them to help us evolve. Also, it’s rare that you hear a Hollywood leading lady admit to obsessing over her weight. Usually, they talk about how much they love to eat. I think Anne was brave to be so honest. I’m looking forward to seeing her in “Les Misérables” and perhaps with an Oscar nom coming her way. [Glamour]
“The Vagina Monologues” playwright and global anti-sexual violence activist Eve Ensler debuted a new campaign today called One Billion Rising. This short film — powerfully done, but with some NSFW violent imagery — shows just some of the acts of violence that women worldwide endure on a daily basis. On February 14, activists worldwide will hold events for One Billion Rising and remember the one in three women worldwide who will be subject to rape or abuse in her lifetime. Ensler, who is also behind the V-Day celebration every Feb. 14th, where “Monologues” is staged around the country to raise money for anti-sexual violence resources, is embarking on a worldwide trip. She’ll hit up Peru, Mexico, India, China, Philippines, Britain, France, and the Democratic Republic of Congo before coming to New York City for V-Day. You can learn more about the campaign and find events in your country here. Rise up! [One Billion Rising]
“To be a strong woman, to be a fierce woman, to be a true woman, to be a leader, to be truly powerful, you have to get to place where you can tolerate people not liking you. And know that when you actually do that, you have to fall back on your own moral imperative in your own moral trunk and say, ‘I don’t care, this is what I believe. This is who I am.’”
– Eve Ensler in the Logo documentary “Beautiful Daughters”, which is about a group of women putting on the first all-transgender production of “The Vagina Monologues.” I stayed up too late watching this movie last night and I can’t stop thinking about this statement. As women, we are socialized to care what others — our friends, our family, our lovers — think of us, so much so that we often lose focus on ourselves. To be powerful, we need to harness our energy and focus it on the positive. When it comes down to it, caring too much what others think of us is not a powerful or creative act. It’s a waste of our precious energy. I needed to be reminded of that. So thank you, Eve. Keep reading »
The Seattle Times is more uptight than, well, the subject of The Vagina Monologues. The paper refused to put in an ad for a local production of the girl power play by Eve Ensler because the image, a heart made out of labias, wasnâ€™t “appropriate for their audience.” (But weâ€™re pretty sure that well-informed newspaper readers already know about the vag.) The cherry on top of this story: the upcoming performances are sponsored by two reputable institutions, the National Council of Jewish Women and The Museum of History and Industry. The ad has been in other publications as well as put on display around town without complaint. The Seattle Times‘ refusal to print the ad has left Rabbi Yohanna Kinberg of Bâ€™nai Torah bewildered: “We have it hanging in several different places in our Temple.” The show will go on, as scheduled, despite the prudish press. Itâ€™s just sad and ironic since the purpose of the play is to openly and honestly discuss the va-jay-jay. [Ad Week] Keep reading »
Yesterday we had a post about a vagina shaped couch. Today we discovered that New Orleans will be the site of a special 10th Anniversary performance of The Vagina Monologues because, says playwright Eve Ensler, “we should celebrate New Orleans, cherish it, protect it, just as we do our vaginas, and make sure it goes on and on.” Awesome. For those two days (April 11-12), the city will become “The Vagina Capital of the World”, as the Louisiana Superdome gets decked out “with a big vagina entrance.” The Vagina Superdome will be the setting for performance events, parties, parades, workshops, wellness and education programs, speakers, and even spa treatments, which will be free to residents of New Orleans and the Gulf South. Okay, we think all of this is pretty cool, and we get that the hurricane-ravaged city needs some TLC, but we agree with Feministing when they say that all this excessive vagina talk is making the word a lil’ hokey. Whatever, we’d still totally go. [VDay.org via Feministing] Keep reading »