Sunday, February 17, 2008

A soft cotton t-shirt and silk underwear

Did you know that it's the 10th anniversary of V-Day?

I went to the Vagina Monologues last night for the first time since my freshman year of college, and holy
shit, I had forgotten how sobering, thought-provoking, harrowing, and hilarious the show can be. How powerful it is to sit in an audience of hundreds who are all united against violence toward women. The communal spirit of the crowd is infectious, and you can't help but break into spontaneous applause, cheer and voice affirmations, or tear up at various points during the evening. The experience of being at that show is chilling, profound. I never feel more like a woman, more powerful and proud, than I do at the Monologues. There's such a sense of community, of love and security and fierce loyalty. Of belonging. There are no taboos, no inhibitions, no fear. It's a wonderful place to be, and for just a few hours, you can embrace everything it means to be a woman without judgment, without feeling the pressure of puritanical society to keep it all to yourself. You can celebrate, loudly. Hell yes, you can celebrate.

If only all women could join in that celebration.

Did you know that one out of every three women will experience violence during her life, usually perpetrated by someone she knows? That female genital mutilation is still practiced in over 30 countries on at least 4 continents? Up to 2 million girls each year are subjected to this barbaric ancient ritual, whose justification is primarily to "preserve a family's honor" and make a girl "suitable for marriage." It's fueled by ignorance, fear, and a patriarchal abuse of power that's as prevalent today as it was thousands of years ago.

Did you know that scores of women in India and other countries have had acid thrown in their faces to punish them, often by jealous or jilted suitors? That female infanticide is still commonplace in China, India, and Korea? That in the Middle East and North Africa, "honor killings" are committed by family members of women suspected of sexual activity outside of marriage? God, and that's not even the tip of the damn iceberg. It's horrific.

As the mission of V-Day states:
  • V-Day is a vision: We see a world where women live safely and freely.
  • V-Day is a demand: Rape, incest, battery, genital mutilation and sexual slavery must end now.
  • V-Day is a spirit: We believe women should spend their lives creating and thriving rather than surviving or recovering from terrible atrocities.
This is for every woman I've known who has suffered violence in any form. This is for relatives, friends, acquaintances, friends of friends. This is for you.

And if you haven't seen the Vagina Monologues? Make a point to check out a performance sometime; it's truly eye-opening. If you're a woman, be prepared to think about your vagina in an entirely new way. The show actually makes you wonder -- if your vagina could talk, what would it say? What would it wear? I promise, by the end of the show, you'll be really comfortable with the word "vagina." To hell with everyone who judges you for it.

V-Day is a process: We will work as long as it takes. We will not stop until the violence stops.
V-Day is a day. We proclaim Valentine's Day as V-Day, to celebrate women and end the violence.
V-Day is a fierce, wild, unstoppable movement and community. Join us!