There was a lot of love for Eve Ensler, who received a standing ovation from the JBW audience. A formidable woman, with great passion and skills, she has made a difference to girls and women around the world, and just as importantly, has inspired others to do the same.
Her readings were like collages of the many harrowing stories she has heard through her work. Countless girls have contributed to those poetic expressions, gifted their tales of lives survived and lost, and within these woven narratives, their voices count.
Ensler is determined to liberate “the girl gene” in all of us. This mysterious girl wisdom can be found in females all over the world, whether in pursuit of a pair of purple ‘UGG’ boots, or on a mission to escape a life in prostitution. It is something we are born with, but adults beat it down; such is the fear of girl power.
Thus her premise that nobody is supposed to be a girl; just one assertion that I struggled with, because I see women being called girls all the time, right through adulthood. Perhaps it is actually woman-power that everyone is so afraid of; perhaps it is that we should be reclaiming?
My mistrust of biological essentialism also makes me struggle with any assertion of innate differences between men and women. Women and men are made, not born, and femininity is one of patriarchy’s biggest lies. Although the revolutionary project of feminism has always been to free women from this tyranny, the V message seems to embrace it. To me it is what’s between our ears that matters, not what’s between our legs. Women have been reduced to our sex for centuries, Feminism is the cure. So it’s still F, rather than V, for me – all the way!
Finn Mackay is a founder of the London Feminist Network. You can read her blog here: www.finnmackay.wordpress.com