Vagina Monologues performed in protest against ‘Vaginagate’
Michigan state congresswoman Lisa Brown yesterday took part in a reading of The Vagina Monologues with writer Eve Ensler on the steps of the state capitol building, in protest at being silenced for her “offensive” use of the word “vagina”.
Brown, a Democrat congresswoman, was last week banned from speaking at the Michigan house of representatives, after she said “vagina” during a political debate on anti-abortion laws.
Arguing against the proposed abortion legislation, Brown said: “Mr Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but ‘no’ means ‘no’.” She was subsequently banned from speaking.
Republican representative Mike Callton defended the action against Brown, saying: “What she said was offensive. It was so offensive I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.”
Brown however pointed out that vagina was the “medically correct term”, adding, “we’re all adults here.”
The censure, dubbed ‘Vaginagate’, has provoked a widespread outcry.
Vagina Monologues’ author Eve Ensler condemned it on Twitter, just before she was due to fly to Michigan to perform her famous monologues with Brown and other local politicians at 6pm last night, local time.
More than 2,800 people were expected to attend the protest performance on the steps of the state’s capitol building.
Ensler told protestors: “bring signs, bring your vagina, bring your outrage, bring your humor.”
She added, “Bring your belief that women can have a right to their bodies, have a right to their voices, have a right to determine what happens to their bodies – whether they want children or don’t want children.”
First performed in 1996, Ensler’s monologues discuss different women’s experiences of their vaginas, from body image and sexuality, to violence and sexual abuse.
Posting on Twitter prior to the performance, Ensler said: “I can’t wait to moan!”