The Website for the Sharon Fisher Bassett Memorial Fund
“Welcome to the wetlands of New Orleans the vagina of America. And if you want to know how some folks feel about vaginas just look at New Orleans since the storm. We are nourished and sustained by her generous wet fertility but don’t hesitate to rape her, defile her, assault her, shave and mutilate the marsh grasses and trees which protect her. We call her sultry and sexy when we crave her, but after when we want to demean her and dismiss her we call her swampy and soiled. We brag about her music, the way she moves, we beg to get inside her, but shown her later when she has needs. We use her to entertain us and excuse us, and then jealous of her power and embarrassed by our awe, we make her a whore. We take holidays and get lost and happy in her embrace, we eat her, we love the fishy taste, we love her spices. But when she is hurting, when she is waving for help, we ignore her and let her drown. New Orleans is the vagina of America if we honor her, if we heal her, if we praise her; we change history and the story of women.”—Eve Ensler writer of the vagina monologues
Thus started the vagina monologues presented by students from Bloomsburg University on March 1st, 2008. On sale at the door were pins bearing the same emblem as shown above or various other sayings like the vagina warriors, chocolate covered condoms, and chocolate vagina lollipops. It was a little embarrassing especially seeing a few gentlemen in the audience but then comforting to know that men were brave enough to be men. The proceeds were split between Columbia Montour Home Health, Beyond Violence in Berwick, as well as Columbia Montour Women’s Shelter.
An invitation was extended directly from Eve to all the supported that had attended tonight’s performance to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the vagina monologues. On April 10th thru the 12th, 2008 the vagina warriors will be celebrating in New Orleans where they will change the history of women and girls against years of domestic violence once and for all. Eve is requesting that you come and celebrate your town and soul from all over the world where we will plant marsh grass, dance in the streets, turn the super-dome into super love, hear stories, honor the earth and women’s bodies, fight for racial justice, demand equitable housing and healthcare, support men in being vulnerable, eat great food, and conjure revolution.
Karen Anselm advises the young women from Bloomsburg University. Kymmie Dennis and Diana Santos organized the event. The stage was set with various forms of seating all draped in red. The girls did a splendid performance with some difficult material some of which included Outrageous Vagina Fact, The Little Coohie Snorcher That Could, The Flood, Because He looked at it and ending with I was There in the Room which talked about Eve watching as her grandchild was born.
Eve has traveled all over the world interviewing women and putting on the vagina monologues. In the beginning she did all the parts by herself but it has evolved over the years by many women making a stand and presenting her work. Jane Fonda has joined her and does many performances. HBO a television version featuring Ensler was produced by cable TV. In 1998, Ensler launched V-Day, a global non profit that has raised over $50 million dollars for local anti-violence groups through benefits of The Vagina Monologues.
“Every monologue somehow relates to the vagina, be it through sex, love, rape, menstruation, mutilation, masturbation, birth, orgasm, the variety of names for the vagina, or simply as a physical aspect of the female body. A recurring theme throughout the piece is the vagina as a tool of female empowerment, and the ultimate embodiment of individuality.” The play started simply enough by Eve speaking with her friends about rape, violence, mutilation, sex and how they all related to the vagina. She speaks about women of Bosnia who have been violated and mutilated and other societies that have the clitoris removed from their women.
Her movement has brought great insight into the life of those who have felt domestic violence in their lives raising millions of dollars for women’s centers and domestic violence groups. But along with the acclaim has come criticism. Camille Paglia an American social critic, author and teacher. She is a professor of humanities and media studies at the University of Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She feels that the monologues has tuned Valentine’s Day (V-Day) from a very romantic holiday into a grisly reminder of rape and incest. Betty Dodson, Ph.D. a feminist an American sex educator, author, and artist. She is widely known as a pioneer in women’s sexual liberation. She feels the play is biased against males and has a very restrictive view of female sexuality. At Bucknell University this year an elderly women entered where the play was being advertised at the University and tore down everything she felt was offensive.
It definitely touches a nerve which I feel is good. The Vagina monologues is getting its message across to millions of women to take control of their lives. I felt the girls did an excellent job of getting their point across not only about the violence but also of the love that can be found when a woman is treated properly. I encourage men and women to take a chance and go a reading to support V-Day until the violence stops. This is what The One Arts and Entertainment Magazine is all about. We are trying to get the word out through education, workshops, and materials through out the Susquehanna valley. The Sharon Fisher Basset Memorial Fund is dedicated to raising community awareness concerning domestic violence, sexual abuse, sexual assault and their connection to eating disorders. This awareness can be achieved through educating individuals, families, schools, universities, civic organizations and communities on local, regional, and national levels. By promoting, organizing and financially supporting forums, lectures, workshops and other community programs we believe that a deeper consciousness can be gained on all levels, attitudes can be enlightened, healthier choices can be made and lives can be changed. Please help us by making your donation today until the violence stops.