Eve Ensler, 1953

  • Eve-Ensler-WWP

Woman Category: Activism & Feminism, Literature & Poetry, and Theater & CinemaWoman Tags: Author, NYC Women, and Playwright

  • HerStory

    Tony Award-winning playwright, performer, and feminist activist. The founder of the V-Day movement, best known as the writer of the play The Vagina Monologues.

    Born in NYC and grew up in Scarsdale, New York. From age 5, her father sexually and physically abused her. Her mother knew of the abuse but was scared to interfere. The molestation stopped when Ensler was 10 years old, upon his death. As a teen, she used alcohol as a coping mechanism, an addiction that continued into her mid 20’s. At 22, after graduating from college, she had a series of abusive relationships, which dragged her deep into her addiction, and she started using drugs regularly. At 24, she married Richard McDermott, who convinced her to go to rehab. The couple divorced after ten years, during that time she adopted his biological son – the actor Dylan McDermott. After she got sober, she started writing for the theater.
    As a survivor of sexual abuse, Ensler suffered from physical disassociation, feeling that she could not inhabit her own body. In an attempt to understand her experience, she interviewed other women about their experiences; those interviews were the basis for the groundbreaking play “The Vagina Monologues.” The play explores subjects such as body image, consensual and nonconsensual sexual experiences, encounters with reproduction, menstrual periods, and vaginal care. It became a worldwide phenomenon, translated into 48 languages and performed in more than 140 countries. Knowing for herself how it feels to be abused, she decided to dedicate her life to end violence against girls and women, and in 1998 she founded V-Day – a global movement advocating for ending gender terror. The organization founded more than 12,000 anti-violence programs all over the world. In 2011, they opened the City of Joy in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which provides a community for survivors of gender violence. In 2012, the organization, led by Ensler, created the One Billion Rising campaign, fighting for justice and gender equality for women worldwide.
    Over the years she wrote 12 plays and 10 books, most of them are exploring women’s perspectives of social conventions. She has also been involved in several films, including the television version of The Vagina Monologues, “Until The Violence Stops,” and “What I Want My Words To Do To You.” In her 50’s she struggled with uterine cancer, which she details in her memoir “In the Body of the World.”

    “One of the most radical things women can do is to love their body”

    “One of the most radical things women can do is to love their body”


    More Interesting Anecdotes:

    • In College, she was involved in militant feminist groups.
    • She is divorced once and never had kids of her own.
    • For The Vagina Monologues, she interviewed over 200 women from different races, ages, and sexualities.
    • She identifies as a Nichiren Buddhist, although her father is Jewish and her mother is Christian.
    • When she adopted Dylan McDermott, he was 19, and she was 25.
    • She served as a consultant on feminism and women’s issues in the film Mad Max: Fury Road.
    • The ‘V’ in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine, and Vagina.
    • She went to Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban as part of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan.
  • More About Her Legacy
    Creations By and About Her:

    * Books she wrote


    * The Isabelle Stevenson Award (1997)
    * Obie Award (1997)
    * Guggenheim Fellowship Award in Playwriting (1999)
    * The Avon Award (2005)
    * Lucille Lortel Lifetime Achievement Award (2018)

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  • One of Her Landmarks

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  • Woman Tags: Author, NYC Women, Playwright

    Eve Ensler: Embrace your inner girl

    http://www.ted.com In this passionate talk, Eve Ensler declares that there is a girl cell in us all -- a cell that we have all been taught to suppress. She tells heartfelt stories of girls around the world who have overcome shocking adversity and violence to reveal the astonishing strength of being a girl.

  • Ensler in 2011. Photo credit - Wikipedia