Sunday, August 15, 2010

Emotional Creature

Eve Ensler (Of Vagina Monologues fame) has a new book of monologues out, I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World. MTV has been promoting the work through posting videos of young women reciting segments of five of the monologues on their website. I am predisposed to like everything Eve does and really appreciated large portions of these pieces. However, there are a couple of elements of the monologues that annoyed and offended me a little. Below are my thoughts on the video segments I saw and monologues I read.

The first monologue listed on MTV’s website for the series is “You Tell Me How to Be a Girl in 2010.” The parts of this monologue that I really like are how Eve takes on homophobia with lines like “And if the hetero nuclear family is so great/how come everyone is fleeing it” and how she highlights the world’s violence against women problem (“Women are burned, raped, bludgeoned, sold,/starved, and buried alive/and still don’t’ know they are the majority.”) However, neither of these aspects were highlighted in the video clip read by Aubrey Plaza. What is highlighted is the part of the monologue that calls my generation apathetic, “What happened to teenagers kissing/instead of blogging and dissing?/What happened to teenagers marching/and refusing/instead of exploiting and using?” That really made me angry.
As Stephanie Herold wrote for Campus Progress, young activists do exist despite the lack of “teenagers marching.” And part of the way we are working to bring about change is by doing some of that blogging.

The second monologue “I Dance” I found very powerful, especially when it speaks out against society’s attitudes towards a young woman’s body “I dance past your lustful eyes/Your dirty interpretations of my teenage body.” However, again, what was chosen to be highlighted in the video was the part that speaks against technology, “I dance ‘cause it’s better/than sexting.” I realize that technology
has been utilized as a way to abuse women, but the theme of technology-bashing in these monologues is really disheartening for someone like me who does most of their activism through it. Sure, we should highlight what is wrong with it (it makes it easier to bully and emotionally abuse people) but not without also displaying the awesome ways young people are using it.

The third monologue “Asking The Question” is just awesome, both the part emphasized via video and the entire thing. Adorable and happiness inducing.

The fourth monologue “It’s Not a Baby, It’s a Maybe” was a really thoughtful look at how one young woman might think about an unplanned pregnancy. However, I was once again disappointed with the segment they decided to highlight in video. The video seemed to deliberately avoid the central conflict in the monologue, which was whether or not the speaker would get an abortion.

The fifth monologue “Dear Rihanna” was hard to read, but I appreciate how it captures some of the troubling reactions people have to dating violence. The video segment seemed well chosen.

If any of you get a chance to see any of the videos or read any of the monologues let me know your thoughts in comments.

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