I have rarely encountered such an antagonistic interviewer as Deborah Solomon, whose interview with Eve Ensler was published on January 21st in the New York Times Magazine. The subject of the interview was Ensler’s new project and book, which is described as follows in an email I received from vday.org:
Eve’s newest work, I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World, will be released in book form by Villard/Random House tomorrow, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 9! Made up of original monologues about and for girls from around the world, the book aims to inspire girls to take agency over their minds, bodies, hearts, and curiosities.
V-Day believes that girls are the future of our movement, just as women are the primary resource of our planet. It is imperative to educate and nurture future activists so we can see our vision of a world free from violence against women and girls come true. I Am an Emotional Creature is a new vehicle providing a platform for girls’ empowerment and activism.
Solomon emphasizes that the monologues were not written by the girls they aim to represent and challenges Ensler for presuming to represent them:
“Your new book, ‘I Am an Emotional Creature,’ is a collection of 30-plus fictional monologues in which you assume the confiding, often plaintive, voices of teenage girls — from a Chinese factory worker to a sex slave in Africa to a schoolgirl in suburban America bemoaning her lack of purple Ugg boots. Why do you see yourself as a spokeswoman for teenage girls?”
When Ensler answers, “I don’t feel like I’m a spokesperson at all for girls. I just feel like, O.K., in the way that ‘The Vagina Monologues’ was an attempt to communicate stories of women and their vaginas, this is an attempt to communicate the stories of girls on the planet right now,” Solomon responds, “That sounds so Girl-Scoutish.” Huh?
Solomon then asks Ensler if she sees the monologue “as an emblem of the times–everyone yakking, no one listening” and then questions whether or not the monologue is “a form of coercion or even abuse.” Ensler answers that the monologue forces (hence the “coercion”) one to listen and allows the speaker to “take up space.”
When Ensler explains that the “V” in V-Day stands for ” vagina and victory-over-violence and Valentine’s Day,” Solomon interjects, “What about vulture?” (To which Ensler responds, “Vultures serve a positive function. They clean up the dead.” Good answer.)