Thanks to Eve Ensler, every day is V-Day
To millions of people all over the world, V-Day means much more than roses and a romantic dinner. Yes, the “V” in V-Day stands for Valentine, but it also stands for Vagina, and for Victory—over many different types of violence against women, from the endless commercialization of Valentine’s Day (that often objectifies women) to domestic abuse to genital mutilation that takes place every day of the year.
Eve Ensler, an Obie-Award winning playwright featured in JWA’s online exhibit, Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution, created V-Day following the worldwide success of her play The Vagina Monologues. The monologues in the title came from interviews Ensler did with more than 200 women who shared their thoughts and feelings about their vaginas. At times funny, painful, and angry, the monologues are told in diverse voices, ranging from a young lesbian to a sex worker to a victim of gang rape.
For Ensler, there are no dividing lines between art and activism. After every performance of The Vagina Monologues throughout the world, women would share their stories with her. That’s when she realized that the play could become a catalyst for a global movement to end violence against women and girls.
So, on Valentine’s Day, 1998, Ensler created V-Day with a group of women in New York City. What began as a single event at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom has expanded to more than 5,800 events around the world. Each one raises money for groups that assist women who have faced rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation, or sexual slavery. To date, V-Day has raised more than $85 million.
For obvious reasons, most V-Day events take place in February, but it’s possible to find activities throughout the year.
So, no matter what you’re doing on February 14th, you can indeed go all out for V-Day. After all, there’s nothing sexier than joining a movement for real—and much-needed—social change.