We all know Eve Ensler to be that androgenous image and powerfully femininst voice behind the popular play, The Vagina Monologues which over the past 15 years, has rapidly gained international attention and acclaim for being a vehement symbol against female gender discrimination and mistreatment. Well, once again, Ms. Ensler has taken her vajayjay stories on the road and landed smack dab in the heart of Michigan, our state capital, Lansing.
Ensler’s visit was sparked by the barring of two Michigan female legislators from speaking on the state House floor after they made some controversial comments regarding the sanctioning of abortion providers. On Thursday, State Reps. Lisa Brown, D-West Bloomfield, and Barb Byrum, D-Onondaga, were told that they wouldn’t be recognized to publicly speak on any matters before the House because of comments they made Wednesday during an emotional debate on a bill that puts new restrictions on abortion providers. The bill Byrum and Brown were arguing against provides for sweeping new regulations and insurance requirements for abortion providers, making it a crime to coerce a woman into having an abortion and also regulating the disposal of fetal remains. This bill was actually passed on a 70-39 vote, but won’t be taken up to state Senate until September at the earliest.
During session of the House, Brown, who voted against the new legislation, passionately told supporters of the bill:
“I’m flattered you’re all so interested in my vagina. But no means no.”
Both Byrum and Brown agreed that their First Amendment right of Freedom of Speech had been infringed upon. They also felt that their emotional comments were only geared towards fighting the war on women that seems to have been waged politically by the Republican party, and that they were not crude or uncivil by speaking out or using the anatomically correct term, vagina.
“I was ignored by the majority floor leader and not allowed to speak on my amendment which would have held the same standards for men and women when it comes to legal, voluntary procedures in reproductive
health and now I am being silenced for standing up for women. This is yet another example of this Republican majority’s misogynistic and cowardly tactics.”Nevertheless, upon hearing of the exclusion of these two female reps, Eve Ensler and her team quickly began to organize, culminating in Monday night’s special performance of The Vagina Monologues on the steps of the Capitol in Lansing. Eve Ensler who flew in from California for the reading proudly proclaimed to thousands of incensed women and a few hundred men that she is “over dudes who can’t even say ‘vagina.”
“I’m over the Michigan state Legislature … censoring and rebuking and removing Lisa Brown. My vagina’s got decorum.”
Ensler’s comments were directly in rebuttal of those made by Ari Adler, spokesman for Speaker of the House Jase Bolger, R-Marshall, who stated that Brown and Byrum “failed to maintain the decorum of the House of Representatives.”
In addition to Ensler’s heated statements, Representative Brown also reminded the V-Day participants that the legislation would “effectively overturn Roe v. Wade,” the 1972 U.S. Supreme Court decision that ended most state-level restrictions on abortion, and also “turn back the clock to the ’60s, when women were denied health care.”
Personally, I am a HUGE Vagina Monolugues fan, specifically because it has provided so many women with a forum to voice taboo, prejudiced, or oppressive events and tribulations within their lives. Although I will not share with you all my opinion on the passing of the abortion bill, I will say that I am proud that so many women came together to guard and stop the silencing of women in a political environment. Nearly a century ago, women fought so hard to be recognized on a political level. Brown and Byrum were elected to speak and fight passionately for those they represent, and it seems that once members of the Republican party deemed their opinions as too radical, they immediately found a way to put an end to it. Well, the Republicans may have bitten off a little more than they can chew this time because now they will be feeling the wrath of feminists across the country. I can’t wait to see how the rest of this story unfolds…