Eve Ensler is worried about vaginas. She explains why, and much more, in her one-woman play “The Vagina Monologues.” The play began off-Broadway in the mid-“90s and has gone on to become a cultural phenomenon. It is a favorite among celebrities from Glenn Close to Calista Flockhart, who have lined up to perform it.

Paul Wong
Eve Ensler, author of “The Vagina Monologues.”<br><br>Courtesy of Villard Books

This week, a group of University of Michigan students, along with 250 other students groups across the country, are performing the play as part of the V-day movement: So-called because it honors vaginas, falls on Valentine”s Day, and aims to stop violence against women worldwide.

“The Vagina Monologues” was created out of a series of interviews Ensler conducted with women from all walks of life, about what else? their down-theres. It ranges from hilarious diatribes about tampons to frightening accounts from Bosnian rape-survivors. As Ensler said in a teleconference with college students, “if you”re disassociated from your body it never becomes yours.” Her goal is to get women talking about their most vital organ in order to reconnect with themselves. But Ensler said, “it is essential that men participatethey can gain understanding and even some expertise.”

The play is entertaining as well as enlightening, and also free, but donations are welcomed. They will go to SAFEhouse (for battered women) and Planned Parenthood. “The Vagina Monologues” is also out in paperback ($12.95). It”s a quick and enjoyable read, and, along with Inga Muscio”s “Cunt,” form a new literary trend to puts words to what was once hush-hush.

For those who want to take part in the V-Day movement, there is a huge rally and performance on the Wednesday at Madison Square Garden in New York City, with Claire Danes, Melissa Etheridge, Queen Latifa, Erica Jong, Marisa Tomei and many others.

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