I WONDER what Eve Ensler, Tony Award winning playwright of “The Vagina Monologues,” would say about President Rodrigo Duterte’s lewd threat to female communist rebels last week.
Ensler would probably be enraged by the President’s order to his soldiers to shoot female rebels in their genitals, as did the many men and women who found as offensive such statement coming from the top official of the country.
It is timely that February is not only the month of love but also the month when the rights of women and children are highlighted in several activities, including the showing of Ensler’s most popular play. For this year, the play will be held in Cebu on February 25, next Sunday, at 7 p.m. at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino in Lahug. The play gains extra meaning in view of Duterte’s order to shoot female rebels in the vagina.
He made the statement in a talk with former communist rebels last Wednesday. “Tell the soldiers. There’s a new order coming from the mayor. We won’t kill you. We will just shoot your vagina,” he said.
“If there is no vagina, it would be useless,” Duterte said.
An outcry immediately followed with critics and ordinary citizens saying Duterte’s order appears to encourage soldiers to target women in conflict and implies that women are useless without their vaginas.
This is the kind of protest that Ensler enshrined in her “The Vagina Monologues” that spoke of violence against women, sexual experiences, rape, genital mutilation, and misogyny. Her play has been performed in over 140 countries and translated into 48 languages, according to www.eveensler.org. Charles Isherwood of the New York Times described the play as, “Probably the most important piece of political theater of the last decade.”
I don’t know if the local performance will tackle Duterte’s misogyny but Ensler would probably join the outcry against Duterte’s vagina statement if given the chance. She is an activist known for creating “V-Day,” a global activist movement to stop violence against women and girls. Benefit productions of “The Vagina Monologues” are held every February as a way of raising funds and awareness. Ensler also initiated the “One Billion Rising,” a worldwide protest campaign to end violence on women.
Ensler waives her rights to productions of the play held every February as part of the global campaign to protect women and children.
I once was part of the local performance, years ago under the direction of a good friend, the late Daisy Ba-ad, because I believed women have to be heard and their rights protected. We have our own monologues, including this one about how genitals do not make the person and how misogyny has no place in Malacañang.
If you can, watch the V-Day Cebu production of Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues.” Beneficiary is the Bidlisiw Foundation.