Where the end of oppression begins

A call to Eve Ensler:
I have had the privilege of performing in the Vagina Monologues for the past two years. This last year, I was able to co-produce it as well. The experience has been transformative, to say the least. But there is one aspect that I cannot remain silent about: the fact that performance is reserved for women only.

I feel very strongly that Eve Ensler’s vision in writing and performing the Vagina Monologues met the initial situation well by having only women perform. However, my current areas of study and activism have brought me to see that our problems cannot continue to be addressed from a divided position. 

When we do not divide our genders, we can begin to transcend the limits we’ve attached to them. Our culture can change the way we see people as well as the values we tacitly place on what we see. We can evolve a language that sees gender multiplicity, and who then will be superior or inferior in sexual identity?

If we are to end oppression we cannot define it in ANY way by exclusion. We cannot define our activism by dividing ourselves along gender lines. This falls so easily into blaming others; blaming men. But blame will not end violence, it will only perpetrate it by always creating someone to fight against.

While I understand the reasons for ‘women only’ initially, I feel that the time has come for us to include men, to step beyond the tactics and limitations installed by some men that separate us and force us into hierarchies-the same tactics and limitations we are all complicit in today. 

If oppression of one group is to be overturned, oppression for all must be overturned-all oppression revolves around the same principles.

I believe that the same spirit that allows women to rebuild their lives, their families and their communities after violence, is the spirit that includes without holding on to fear or hatred or exclusion.

I do not see men standing on a stage performing the Vagina Monologues thinking that it is "all about them" or "I broke into the girls club." Instead, I see men on that stage being full of the same honor and humility for what they can represent, that I have felt. 

I see men standing on that stage who are thinking of the women they love: daughters and granddaughters, wives and partners, mothers and grandmothers.

Their performing, on ground so hallowed now by years of performance and activism, would be a consecration of the feminine upon us all; would speak for peace and mutuality and love in our world.

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