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Conservative Groups: Celebrating V-Day Is Unladylike

Fourteen years after its first performance, “The Vagina Monologues” has become a February tradition. Eve Ensler’s award-winning play is a series of monologues drawn from interviews with hundreds of women of all ages and nationalities about that most intimate part of themselves — their vaginas. The resulting monologues are funny, angry, triumphant and painful. They represent a wide range of experience including pleasure, shame, abuse and empowerment. Performances are staged around the country, and many Americans find meaning in celebrating V-Day instead its commercialized counterpart, Valentine’s Day.

Eve Ensler, featured in “Jewish Women and the Feminist Revolution,” created V-Day to address a number of global issues including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation, and sexual slavery. The money raised from V-Day events is distributed to anti-violence organizations around the world. Since its inception in 1998, V-Day has raised more than $50 million. In 2001, a performance of The Vagina Monologues at New York City’s Madison Square Garden raised $1 million.

But every year, V-Day faces opposition from conservative and religious groups that think it’s vulgar to talk about vaginas.

Leah Berkenwald is the online communications specialist at the Jewish Women’s Archive, and a contributor to its Jewesses With Attitude blog, which cross-posts regularly with the Sisterhood.

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