The first draft of The Vagina Monologues was written in 1995 by Eve Ensler, and was comprised of over 200 interviews she did with women. They talked about sex, relationships, their views on their bodies, and violence against women.
Ensler didn’t exactly set out to write what would become The Vagina Monologues. She just asked her friends questions and found herself fascinated by the answers. She has previously said that a lot of her interest comes from growing up in a violent society, especially one that targets people with vaginas.
In an interview with Women.com she said “Women’s empowerment is deeply connected to their sexuality. I’m obsessed with women being violated and raped, and with incest. All of these things are deeply connected to our vaginas.”
While at times The Vagina Monologues can be cissexist and exclude trans and nonbinary bodies, Ensler has worked to make them more inclusive since she originally released the show. In the original performance, she recited every monologue. Since then there have been a number of other casts, many of them far more diverse. In 2004 the first all transgender production was staged, which resulted in the documentary Beautiful Daughters.
The tradition of V-Day, a day where schools and other organizations put on their own productions of The Vagina Monologues was started to aid rape crisis centers or shelters.
While Ensler’s idea may have seemed absurd to many in 1995, it is now a cultural staple, especially among universities with large female populations. Chatham’s Her Campus chapter will be hosting a V-Day event on Friday, February 16th at 7:00pm! Come check it out if you’re interested!