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Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues" performed at Madison Square Garden

February 10, 2001
The Vagina Monologues
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This image is from a 2006 performance of The Vagina Monologues at Tufts University's Cohen Auditorium. Image by Presta.

The February 10, 2001, performance of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues was cheered by 18,000 men and women at New York City's Madison Square Garden. The event raised $1 million for Ensler's V-Day movement, which works to end violence against women and girls.

The Vagina Monologues, first performed in 1996, won an Obie Award in 1997, and has been translated into over 35 languages and run in theaters all over the world. The play consists of a series of monologues drawn from interviews in which Ensler asked hundreds of women to share their thoughts and feelings about their vaginas. Funny, painful, angry: the monologues run the gamut of emotion, and are told in diverse voices, ranging from a sex worker to a victim of mass rape, a 65-year-old to a young lesbian.

In performing Monologues around the world, Ensler says, she was inspired to create V-Day as a way of working to stop violence against women and girls. In order to draw attention to rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation, and sexual slavery, annual V-Day events — including performances of Monologues — raise money for the organization, which then distributes it to anti-violence groups around the world. Since its inception in 1998, V-Day has raised more than $50 million. In 2008, V-Day's tenth anniversary was celebrated at the New Orleans Superdome on April 11 and 12. It included an international and star-studded cast performance of The Vagina Monologues and was preceded by two weeks of local activities meant to bring attention and assistance to efforts to help women and girls of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in rebuilding their lives after Katrina.

See also: "Well-behaved vaginas rarely make history," blog post in "Jewesses with Attitude."

To see video clips of an interview with Eve Ensler from the MAKERS project, click here.

Sources: www.vday.org; Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution

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Jewish Women's Archive. "This Week in History - Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues" performed at Madison Square Garden." (Viewed on April 19, 2014) <http://jwa.org/thisweek/feb/10/2001/eve-ensler>.