February 16 2010
If you were like me this week -- buried in snow and looking to pick up a new book - you may have come across Eve Ensler's newest work (released on Tuesday), I am an Emotional Creature.
Ensler is the author of the ridiculous - yet award-winning - play The Vagina Monologues. As feminist critic and scholar Christina Hoff Sommers described the play in a speech a few years ago:
1) It is atrociously written. 2) It is viciously anti-male; and 3) and, most importantly, it claims to empower women, when in fact it makes us seem desperate and pathetic.
Well Ensler has struck again. And as if The Vagina Monologues was not bad enough, by reducing grown women to nothing more than their vaginas, her newest book is all about girls and their quest to overcome the "pressures that rob them of their originality and power."
On the surface, there's nothing wrong of course with encouraging young women to move beyond the superficial, to develop self-admiration and self-confidence (certainly, it's something I hope to inspire in my young daughters). But Ensler does something entirely different.
She helps advance the same stale, leftist notion of feminism that sees women as victims living in an openly hostile and repressive society. (And unfortunately Ensler helps promote this belief system that continues to be held by so many women on the left. Just look at NOW's president Terry O'Neill's recent debate about the state of women in the West that I wrote about here.)
Ensler feels she can lump together all girls, from all walks of life, and all their varying life-challenges. As one left-leaning women's organization wrote about the book:
Though the pieces are all fictional monologues, Ensler says they are "based on what is real and true" in her observation of the lives of different girls all over the world. Among the girls Ensler creates are a teenager in a New York suburb struggling with high school peer pressure; a Masai girl resisting female genital mutilation in Kenya, where V-Day maintains a safe house; a survivor of rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo; a teen who blogs about her self-starvation. Says Ensler, "I hope it tells these interior stories of girls that don't normally get told, the secret stories ... as opposed to the fantasy version of what girls are living." She hopes that through the stories, "girls get freed into the reality of their lives."
Really? Can you honestly group together an American suburban girl struggling with peer pressure with a young girl in Kenya facing genital mutilation? It's absurd and offensive to reduce the suffering of all girls around the world and only helps diminish the real problems of violence and abuse facing girls in parts of the Middle East and Africa, for instance.
It's a shame that at a time when women are receiving more college degrees than men, out-earning their spouses, and serving in positions of leadership across all fields, Ensler still can not enjoy the advances girls and women have made.