‘Monologues’ critic should give Ensler credit

Although the diatribe about “The Vagina Monologues” that appeared in the Kernel on Monday was undoubtedly well-articulated, despite simply reiterating a laundry list of palpable objections that have long been associated with the controversial play, it was short-sighted in that it undermined the countless contributions both the play and its author have made to raising consciousness about the diversity and complexity of women’s experiences and lives.

Unbeknownst to Natalie Glover, resistance to the play is in keeping with V-Day’s mission as noted on its Web site (www.vday.org): “V-Day benefits that are attacked, whether for religious, social or political reasons … succeed in (the) mission” of creating “the awareness that V-Day strives for with every production.” This awareness focuses not on debating the depth or substantive merits of the play (or lack thereof), but on the fact that a third of women in the United States and the world are affected by violence.

While it is Glover’s prerogative not to like the play, may I suggest that rather than criticize, she give credit where credit is due — to Eve Ensler who spawned a movement the likes of which this country has not witnessed since the advent of second-wave feminism. Contrary to Glover’s opinion, Ensler has empowered women of all persuasions across the globe by reclaiming the word “vagina” and creating a culture where women can openly share their unique experiences related to all the pain and pleasure that comes along with not just having but embracing “one of the most celebrated parts of the female anatomy” — which, let’s be honest, isn’t very celebrated!

One final point: it takes a lot less ingenuity to write a criticism of someone else’s work than it does to write a body of original work that is representative of the experiences Glover would like to see portrayed. Anyone can be a cynic; not everyone can translate cynicism into action by getting off their soapbox and doing something comparable to — or better than — what someone else is actively trying to do or has done. Like it or not, Eve Ensler’s play has succeeded in creating meaningful social change. Which begs the question: What, besides criticize and thereby advance Ensler’s mission, has Natalie Glover done for women lately?

Karen Lightbourne

English and women’s studies senior