Woman Making History #20: Eve Ensler

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Eve EnslerEve Ensler was born in 1953 to an upper-middle class Jewish family in Scarsdale, New York. She attended Middlebury College, graduating in 1975. She spent much of the 1980s married to Richard McDermott, and is the stepmother of actor Dylan McDermott, who she adopted during the marriage.

In 1996, Ensler wrote The Vagina Monologues, a (originally) one-woman play which channels the voices of women of various ages, sexualities, and races, all talking about their relationships with their bodies, particularly the parts that women have traditionally been ashamed of and afraid to talk about. Since Ensler's original performance of the play in SoHo, it has become an international success, translated into over 35 languages and performed by women as noted as Jane Fonda, Glenn Close, Susan Sarandon, and Oprah Winfrey. The Vagina Monologues won the Obie Award for Best New Play in 1996, and in 1999 Ensler was presented with the Guggenheim Fellowship in Playwriting.

As amazing as the play itself is, out of it grew something even bigger, V-Day. V-Day is "a global movement to stop violence against women and girls." V-Day takes place on February 14, traditionally Valentine's Day, and includes performances of Ensler's play as well as various other anti-violence and pro-woman activities, in cities around the world. The V-Day foundation also provides cash assistance to local level organizations working against violence towards women.

Though it is her most famous, The Vagina Monologues is not Ensler's only play. She is actually the author of more than nine plays and five books. Recently, she has been touring performing her more recent work, The Good Body, which also deals with women's body image. Another newer play, The Treatment, debuted in New York City in September 2006. It deals with the psychological trauma of war.

Ensler's pro-woman and anti-violence activities are not limited to her writing and performing. She is a dedicated activist. Aside from founding the V-Day foundation, she is also involved in the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA) and other organizations to support women abroad. She also leads a writing group for incarcerated women at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women.

Sources
Wikipedia
Amnesty International
Mother Jones
V-Day

1 Comments

I'm trying to visit as many of the NaBloPoMo blogs as I can and I thought I'd say hi, I liked your blog.. :) This is interesting stuff, I'll be back.. :)

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