By Tina Lu
Happy V-Day Project GirlSpire readers!
Just like Valentine’s Day, V-Day falls on February 14. But unlike Valentine’s Day, V-Day isn’t about hearts and roses. It’s about feminism, and as you’ve probably guessed, it’s Project GirlSpire’s preferred counterpart to the romance of Valentine’s Day (though a fancy dinner with your significant other is okay too, I guess.)
Founded by author, playwright, and activist Eve Ensler, V-Day is a global activist movement that aims to end violence against women and girls. In case you’re wondering, the “V” in V-Day represents victory, valentine, and vagina.
The cornerstone of the V-Day movement is The Vagina Monologues, a play written by – you guessed it – Eve Ensler. The episodic play began in 1996 at the Off-Broadway Westside Theater, receiving impressive critic reviews. Ensler was awarded a Tony for the play, and The New York Times journalist Charles Isherwood even hailed it as “the most important piece of political theater of the last decade.”
So…what exactly do you see in the play?
As its name suggest, The Vagina Monologues is composed of a series of monologues that each deal with a different aspect of womanhood, touching upon subjects like sex, love, rape, menstruation, masturbation, birth, and orgasm. Monologues include “I Was Twelve, My Mother Slapped Me,” which describes a young girl’s first menstrual period, and “My Vagina Was My Village,” which depicts women’s experiences in Bosnian rape camps. Every year, a new monologue is added to highlight a feminist issue, such as the subjugation of women under Taliban rule.
Worldwide performances of The Vagina Monologues are held every year between February 1 and April 30. Such performances typically benefit rape crisis centers and domestic violence shelters for women, like the one hosted by our mother organization, Project Read. Moreover, royalty-free performances of The Vagina Monologues have been held for charity every February 14. But V-Day isn’t just about the bomb-dot-com play. Since 2001, V-Day has hosted leadership summits for women in Afghanistan, coordinated community briefings on missing women in Mexico, and led to more works of art raising awareness for domestic violence, such as the documentary Until the Violence Stops.
Through the years, V-Day has raised over $100 million to help create its vision of “a world where women live safely and freely.” The nonprofit has attacked issues such as rape and battery of women, incest, female genital mutilation, and human trafficking of female sex slaves. Preach it, V-Day!
Sure, you can celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th (or Galentine’s Day on the 13th). But next time you’re eating those yummy chocolate-covered strawberries, think about V-Day and all it stands for. Maybe next year you’ll be watching The Vagina Monologues on February 14th instead of a romantic Valentine’s Day rom com. But nonetheless, Happy Valentine’s Day and V-Day from Project GirlSpire! <3