Monday, October 17, 2005

Eve Ensler: feminist of the day?

Eve Ensler
Author of the extremely influential vagina monologues, named America's Best Feminist by TIME in 2001
"I think 'vagina' is a perfectly good word. It's a gorgeous word...I made a commitment. Nothing is more important than stopping violence against women."

I have another confession to make, I've never read the Vagina Monologues or seen it performed (I really am a bad feminist). But I do believe it is an important project. One of the most important parts of feminism is telling women's stories, as our lives have been silenced and private for so long. Talking about our lives, and our bodies is an important step to reclaiming them, and was central to the women's liberation movement. In that Vagina Monologues does seem to aim to inspire more conversations between women, I respect it, and now kind of want to read it.

However, (that sounds a little ominous) according to my nice little banner she was Time named her America's best feminist in 2001. Time doesn't get a say on feminism. Well it does get a say on feminism - it's an international magazine it gets a say on whatever it wants. Most of the time what it wants to say on feminism that it's dead and apparently Ally McBeal is a post feminist heroine (in my experience what people call post-feminism is actually pre-feminism, with some extra annoyingness added in). But in order to judge what makes someone a good feminist you should have some grasp on what feminism is. New Weekly is very good at deciding whether celebrities are too thin or too fat (usually they're both), but it gets no say in who Australia's best feminist is, because they wouldn't know a feminist if they had a front page photo of one in a bikini.

Although I suspect the reason Time Magazine wouldn't recognise a feminist is that feminists have some basis in fact, unlike most Time Magazine stories.

Conclusion: Everything the mainstream media says about feminist is wrong. But Eve Ensler's still pretty cool.

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