Volume 11, 2008

   Volume 5, December 2004

Volume 10, 2008
Volume 9, 2007

   Volume 8, 2007
  › Volume 7,2006
  › Volume 6, 2005
   Volume 5, 2004
   Volume 4, 2001
   Volume 3, 2000
   Volume 2, 1999
  › Volume 1,1999



Re-embodying the (W)hole:
The Vagina Monologues and the Conception of
Universal Womanhood

Carla Lever

University of South Africa (UNISA)

This article addresses the contemporary phenomenon of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. Whilst the play’s popular success is beyond question, its philosophical successes warrant closer attention. I examine the manner in which The Vagina Monologues purports to speak for womanhood and assess whether, given cultural and gendered variables, this is indeed possible. I conclude that Ensler’s overt reliance on biological femaleness and fixity of language results in a deeply exclusionary work, and one that is, crucially, unaware of its own constructions. Paradoxically, while seeking to address the marginalisation and oppression the female body has experienced, Ensler’s appeal to a physically universal womanhood ultimately re-inscribes these very notions. As such, I critique Ensler’s implied insistence on a normative body, one that functions, quite literally, to silence any-body outside of her representational framework.

 Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues, feminism, woman, language, performance, body, criticism, theatre.



 Webmasters: Neic Rãzvan and Crăciun Bogdan