In her introductory remarks, Professor of Sociology Susan Bell introduced "The Vagina Monologues" author Eve Ensler as a playwright and an activist. It was evident by the conclusion of Ensler's speech that these two roles had become inextricably intertwined.
With candor, Ensler told her story and the story of her V-Day Organization, aiming to motivate the audience to change the "global pattern that was systematically destroying women," and by association the human species.
"We all have to be bolder, go further, be braver," she said. "We all have to move to end violence."
Much of Ensler's speech was devoted to demonstrating the simple power of naming things and thus recognizing that a problem truly exists. Ensler's mission and goals impinge upon this concept of problem-acknowledgment as she works to bring stories from one place to another and to alert the world about problem regarding violence against women?"femicide"?that has been unknown or ignored.
Specifically, Ensler has been working to bring the concept of femicide into the public light. Ensler's creation of such a word?one which conflates violence toward women and genocide?propels a specific form of activism that is often overlooked. By addressing the root of the issue, Ensler explained, "it allows us to attack the issue head on and not remedially. A sense of urgency is revealed."
Ensler infused her talk with examples taken from her many experiences, both domestically and internationally. She spoke of her interactions with women affected by femicide and those who are also working toward its extermination.
She also spoke about her transition into a separate level of consciousness as she witnessed the devastation that femicide has struck on societies around the world.
Ensler emphasized that this is a movement must be incorporate into daily life. Femicide is an issue that affects all women. It is also an issue that threatens not only the female population, but all of humanity.
"What happens to women determines everything," Ensler said. "Our children hold in their DNA this violence and abuse. Women perpetuate everything."
Ensler proved to be what Bell had first described her to be: simultaneously a playwright and an activist. Plays such as the "Monologues," Ensler explained, create social momentum.
"The play is the revolutionary form of art," Ensler said. "It has the capacity to create revolutions and drama. In an audience you are surrounded by strangers. You are never alone. While watching a play, it is happening right then."
When asked how the fight against femicide was relevant to the younger demographic, Ensler responded that college-age students aren't just supporters of the movement, they are the movement.
"Every day young people are seizing this movement," she said. "And I know that one day I can stop what I'm doing because it will have become such an all encompassing phenomenon. That is my goal."
This April 11 and 12, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the V-Day Organization, V-Day is staging V To The Tenth, an event featuring numerous performances of "The Vagina Monologues," musical guests, and V-Day activists from around the globe.
This celebration is taking place at the New Orleans Arena. Tickets begin at $25, and proceeds will be used to end violence against women and girls in New Orleans and the Gulf South and around the world.