Saturday, May 19, 2012

In the Garden with Eve Ensler: A Grrrrrl Revolution

Here is the unabridged introduction to my review of Eve Ensler's "I Am an Emotional Creature." You can find the abridged full review of the Call to Revolution on the Canadian Feminist blog, Gender Focus, at:

Eve Ensler, meet my father.

Father, meet Eve.


That’s the way I would have introduced them if I were present when they met.  But they met on their own, without me.  Yes, as you might guess, my father’s emotions ran high.  He saw Eve standing by a lovely tree.  She wasn’t afraid of the snake slithering around the tree’s branch.  She lifted her hand, slowly.  So slowly.  She placed her palm beneath the ripe fruit and waited for it to fall into her hand.  She looked the sir-pent directly in the eye and bit into the flesh of the fruit.  She let it run pink down her chin and she did not look down or wipe away the juice.  The snake didn’t speak because he knew his words did not have any power over her.  He watched, in awe. And so did my father.  My father and the serpent watched Eve eat the fruit on her own, at her own will, at her own pace.  They were her voyeurs, longing to be so bold and unafraid.  Then, he felt a wave of courage come over him so he went to Eve’s side, hoping he could pick and eat his own fruit the way she did.  With sensual and emotional power.  Without a second thought, without wiping his mouth with a leaf.  But he was too afraid to say anything at all to her.  The serpent scared the death out of him.  My father did not want to look into the serpent’s eyes so he ran up beside Eve, grabbed a piece of fruit from the tree and took off.  He took the fruit home, calling it an apple, and gave it to me, his daughter.

Oh.  Wait.  Different story.  So sorry.  That must have been ANOTHER father.  My father didn’t even tell me about his encounter with Eve; I only know about it because I received a copy of Ensler’s Best-Selling book, I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World in the mail (from him, my father).  That was back when the book first came out, in 2010.  I was shocked that my father would send me the book, and I wondered if he was being sarcastic.  As I studied the front and back covers, I figured out that he was serious.  I paged through the book and knew it would take me an hour or so to read it, but I didn’t read it at that time.  I put the book in my nightstand drawer and left it there until yesterday.  I’m sure many of you have books in your drawers or on your shelves that are waiting for you to come to them and spend a little quality time with them.  This is one book that should come out of its hiding place.  Right about now.  If you have any inkling, even a remote one, that you are an emotional creature, do something rash and get ahold of this work.  Then read it.  Give an hour of your time, that’s all you will need, to develop your emotional intelligence and remember your inner girl and all her superpowers.  I want that for you, I want you to be a tour de force in the world.  Maybe my father wants that for me, too.  I credit Eve.

It was Eve Ensler’s intuitive sense, after all, that led her to giving the Vagina a voice (multiple voices, in fact) in The Vagina Monologues.  Likewise, it was her fierce, unapologetic anger and delight that fueled “I Am an Emotional Creature.”  Eve, of the Garden of Eden, and Eve Ensler, of the Garden of Girlhood, have a lot in common.  They are both intense emotional beings.  They both share a powerful ability to change the course of the world in one single juicy act.  They both share an unstoppable hunger for what they already possess: insight.  And they are both like you and me.  Ensler’s latest work is defiant and self-fulfilling.  It’s self-indulgence that benefits all of humanity.  The Voices of Girlhood in her book are the modern Eves of the world: daughters seeking pleasure, fire, freedom, independence and agency, even if it requires willful disobedience.  Eve (Ensler) wants us to stand up, pick our fruit and enjoy eating it.  She wants the international daughters of the world to realize that they possess something that threatens the current state of affairs in the world – something so powerful it could turn patriarchy on its head.  We possess the power of emotional intelligence and spirituality.  If we come together and share our intelligence and agency, we can and we will revolutionize gender, sexuality, and emotional existence.  If one girl, say one named Eve, can stand alone and disobey the patriarchal order of things; imagine how transforming it would be for a group of girls and women to stand together in their disobedience.  Imagine the power of our disobedience, our intuitive knowledge, our sensuality and our pleasure.  Ensler’s book will light a fire under your ass if one is not already lit.  She, and the voice(s) of girls everywhere, will call for your participation in the Girl Revolution.

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