Tuesday, July 3, 2012
How Obama Broke His Promise on Individual Mandates
Was it a change of heart or a political calculation that led him to disavow the staunch opposition he voiced to requiring insurance purchases in 2008?
By Andrew Cline
Had President Obama kept his word to the American people, Thursday's ground-breaking Supreme Court ruling that upheld the individual mandate portion of the Affordable Care Act, giving the president a political victory of historic significance, never would have happened. What the court upheld -- a tax disguised as a mandate -- is a beast made up of two specific policies, both of which Obama at one time opposed.
Let's go back to 2007, when then-Senator Barack Obama had been a presidential candidate for only about six weeks. In March, Obama spoke at a Service Employees International Union health-care forum in Las Vegas. A 23-year-old woman asked for details of his health-care plan. He did not have any. No details, no plan. But, he said, he had a principle: "Number one, we're going to have to make sure that everybody is in."
Two months later he released his plan. There was no individual mandate, as in John Edwards' plan, and Obama focused primarily on price, not coverage. By design, he had not included everyone, as he said in Las Vegas he would. That did not stop him from claiming that he included everyone, but the claim was debunked by Politifact, Factcheck.org, and others, including his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination.
That September, Hillary Clinton announced a plan that did put "everybody in." As the Associated Press reported in its lede, "Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's sweeping health-care proposal, which she plans to unveil today, would require every American to carry health insurance and offer federal subsidies to help reduce the cost of coverage." It was Clinton and Edwards against Obama on the propriety of the state forcing people to buy health insurance.
In the Jan. 21, 2008, presidential primary debate in South Carolina, Edwards criticized Obama's plan for its lack of a mandate. Obama responded, "A mandate means that in some fashion, everybody will be forced to buy health insurance." Instead of going that route, his plan, he said, "emphasizes lowering costs."
Obama held that position throughout the campaign. Elect Hillary, he said, and the government will compel you to buy health insurance. Elect me, and I'll give you lower costs and let you keep your freedom.
One Obama TV ad drove the point home: "Hillary Clinton's attacking, but what's she not telling you about her health care plan? It forces everyone to buy insurance, even if you can't afford it, and you pay a penalty if you don't."
The American people voted for a candidate who strongly opposed an individual mandate, but got a president who strongly favored one.Obama's strong objection to the government forcing people to buy insurance in order to get to universal coverage vanished six months into his presidency. In July of 2009, he came out in favor of a mandate, claiming that he had changed his mind.
Either Obama was suddenly persuaded that such a sweeping use of government power was necessary, or he had believed it all along and only took the other side because it would position him better politically. Either way, the American people voted for a candidate who strongly opposed an individual mandate, but got a president who strongly favored one and, it turned out, would make enacting health-coverage reforms that included a mandate his top legislative goal.
Had Obama maintained his stated opposition to a mandate, we would not have one today. But thanks to his post-election reversal from strong opponent of mandates to a passionate advocate of them, a policy the American people do not support now has been imposed upon them. Not incidentally, the same scenario played out in the Supreme Court, resulting in the mandate being upheld.
During debate on the Affordable Care Act, Republicans tried to call the mandate's penalty provision a tax. The bill stated (and the law now states) that those who do not buy health insurance must pay a "penalty" to the IRS. When Republicans labeled it a tax, Obama strongly objected.
In a famous 2009 interview with George Stephanopoulos, Obama said: "For us to say that you've got to take a responsibility to get health insurance, is absolutely not a tax increase. What's it's saying is that we're not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you."
A White House memo of talking points on the act stated with perfect clarity, "what President Obama is proposing is not a tax, but a requirement to comply with the law." That memo is still on the White House website.
But after the law was challenged in court, the administration shifted arguments. Suddenly, the mandate was a tax. The administration argued both that it was a mandate and that it was a tax, hoping that if the courts rejected one argument they would uphold the other. It was a strategy that exposed the administration as once again switching positions entirely after the voting was done.
And it worked. On Thursday the Supreme Court struck down the argument under which the mandate passed Congress, and upheld the argument made exclusively in court after the voting. Though the people did not want a mandate, did not vote for a mandate, and have a Constitution that the high court ruled forbids a health-care mandate -- but not a new health-care tax -- many will now have to buy a product they don't want or pay a penalty to the Internal Revenue Service. Democrats are hailing the ruling as a victory for the president. But it would never have been possible if he had stuck to the positions he said he believed in.
Wildfire crews fight for health coverage in online campaign
'These are employees that time ... forgot,' union official says
Seasonal firefighters, who often work what amounts to a full year during the fire season, aren’t given insurance coverage because they are classified as temporary workers. As a result, they remain unprepared for big medical bills. NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren reports.
Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images
By Miguel Llanos
updated 6/30/2012 9:07:22 AM ET
A social media campaign started by a few seasonal firefighters is spreading, well, like wildfire.The issue? Getting frontline firefighters who battle the nation's wildfires -- temporary federal employees because of the seasonal nature of their work -- into the government health care system.
More than 118,000 people have endorsed the idea on change.org through Friday afternoon. The group also has its own Facebook page.
A union official working on behalf of the 8,000 temporary federal firefighters told msnbc.com he had never seen such traction on an issue that's been around for decades.
A fleet of firefighting air tankers, a key force in squelching the Colorado wildfires, has been grounded after one of them crashes, possibly killing all four aboard. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports.
"These are employees that time, and civil service reforms, forgot," said Mark Davis, head of the Forest Service Council.
John Lauer and a few colleagues on a federal hotshot fire crew based out of Custer, S.D., started the petition while fighting the massive High Park Fire in Colorado earlier this month.
After a few days they had 1,000 supporters -- not bad, Lauer thought. Then they went five days on the fire lines without a cellphone, and when they got reconnected the number had shot up to 94,000.
"It was pretty wild," Lauer told msnbc.com during his lunch break Friday while deployed to a fire in South Dakota.
"We're not looking for a handout," he was quick to add, "we're just looking for the opportunity to buy into" the health insurance program for full-time federal employees.
"We're working a year's worth of work in six months," he said, given the 18-hour shifts over 14 days, then two days off.
Firefighters came face-to-face with flames that shot 100 feet into the air as a wall of fire barreled down the hills in Colorado Springs. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports.
Crews can make $25,000 over a six-month season with overtime, Davis said, but a firefighter with family can expect to pay $6,300 for health insurance, whereas the federal government's costs come out to $3,300a family.
"It'll help a lot of people, particularly folks with families," he said, adding that he hadn't gotten any criticism for the petition.
"It's a morally unambiguous issue ... given the long hours and the nature of the work," said Lauer, who's also fought fires this year in New Mexico and Wyoming.
Story: Colorado fire devastation 'heartbreaking,' Obama says
Firefighters battle blazes without health insurance
In a statement to msnbc.com, the U.S. Forest Service said "any changes to eligibility would require Congress to change the law."
"We are happy to work with Congress, should they decide to address this issue and its impact on the unique circumstances of forest fires," the agency added. "Under current appropriations, Congress has not provided the resources necessary to provide seasonal employees such benefits."
Colorado wildfire is worst in state's history
The Forest Service Council's Davis has been in touch with the Office of Personnel Management -- which is like the U.S. government's human resources office -- and hopes it can be resolved without an act of Congress.
The online petition "has caught their attention," said Davis, who has also been trying to get seasonal employees into the civil service.
"In my mind, it's an administrative issue" that can be resolved after a process that includes public comments, he said.
Taxpayers would end up helping, Davis acknowledged, but crew attrition rates are now four times greater than other federal employees so lowering that through health care incentives would mean efficiencies in not having to train as many new crews and possibly having fewer accidents.
"Yeah, it's going to cost more," he said, "but you get what you pay for."
Lauer, for his part, might not be back on the fire lines next season to reap any benefit. "I'm going to law school next year," he said.
Nine lies GOP lawmakers tell about women's bodies:
Birth Control Causes Prostate Cancer
Earlier this year, a New Hampshire lawmaker came up with a new reason the government should not require health insurance companies to provide contraception.
"As a man, would it interest you to know that Dr. Brownstein just published an article that links the pill to prostate cancer?" state Rep. Jeanine Notter (R) asked a male representative at the hearing, the Merrimack Patch report
"In the children that are born from these women?" he asked. Notter could not clearly explain the study or how the pill results in prostate cancer.
The study described in the newsletter of Dr. David Brownstein, a physician and holistic practitioner in Michigan, suggests men may ingest estrogen through environmental contamination, not in utero from mothers taking birth control.
An author of the study told ABC News, "This is just a hypothesis-generating idea. Women should not be throwing away the pill because of this."
Abortion Causes Breast
The New Hampshire House in 2012 passed a bill that would require doctors to tell women seeking abortions that the procedure can cause breast cancer. Here is an excerpt from the bill, sponsored by Notter:
Materials that inform the pregnant woman that there is a direct link between abortion and breast cancer. It is scientifically undisputed that full-term pregnancy reduces a woman's lifetime risk of breast cancer. It is also undisputed that the earlier a woman has a first full-term pregnancy, the lower her risk of breast cancer becomes, because following a full-term pregnancy the breast tissue exposed to estrogen through the menstrual cycle is more mature and cancer resistant. In fact, for each year that a woman's first full-term pregnancy is delayed, her risk of breast cancer rises 3.5 percent. The theory that there is a direct link between abortion and breast cancer builds upon this undisputed foundation. During the first and second trimesters of pregnancy the breasts develop merely by duplicating immature tissues. Once a woman passes the thirty-second week of pregnancy (third trimester), the immature cells develop into mature cancer resistant cells. When an abortion ends a normal pregnancy, the woman is left with more immature breast tissue than she had before she was pregnant.
There is no link between abortions and breast cancer, according to the World Health Organization, the American Cancer Society and other major health organizations. Similar provisions requiring doctors to make the abortion-breast cancer connection remain on the books in other state laws. Alaska, Kansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas all inaccurately assert a risk in written counseling materials, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a New York-based reproductive health research organization.
Birth Control Is A Sex Pill"She wants to be paid to have sex," Limbaugh said. "She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex."
Rick Santorum has also said that contraception encourages a bad kind of sex. Last year, in an interview with the Evangelical blog Caffeinated Thoughts, Santorum warned of the "dangers of contraception:""It's not OK because it's a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They're supposed to be within marriage, they are supposed to be for purposes that are, yes, conjugal, but also [inaudible], but also procreative. That's the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act."Most women who have had sex have used contraception. Birth control pills -- which are taken daily, regardless of how frequently a woman has sex -- may also be taken to manage endometriosis, ovarian cysts, acne or other health problems. A bill in Arizona proposed penalizing women who use the pill for non-medical reasons.
Abortion Industry Is '
A Republican state legislator in Arizona
wrote in an email to a constituent earlier this year that she wanted to force women seeking abortions to watch the procedure first."speechless" and after a baffling exchange with Proud, released the emails to the media. Facing national outrage, Proud issued a statement and long-term risks of this dangerous surgical procedure.
"Personally I'd like to make a law that mandates a woman watch an abortion being performed prior to having a 'surgical procedure,'" state Rep. Terri Proud (R) wrote. The constituent responded by email that she
"Personally I'd like to make a law that mandates a woman watch an abortion being performed prior to having a 'surgical procedure,'" state Rep. Terri Proud (R) wrote. The constituent responded by email that she
The notion that Planned Parenthood baits women into unwanted pregnancies by providing ineffective contraception then profits off the abortions is nothing new, but it's as outrageous as it sounds. Abortions constitute 3 percent of Planned Parenthood's services, and the organization estimates it prevents more than 220,000 abortions each year by providing contraception. Because Planned Parenthood is not allowed to use federal funds for abortions, defunding the program may limit contraception services and result in more abortions.
Women Can't Get Pregnant From Rape
The odds that a woman who is raped will get pregnant are "one in millions and millions and millions," said state Rep. Stephen Freind, R-Delaware County, the Legislature's leading abortion foe.
The reason, Freind said, is that the traumatic experience of rape causes a woman to "secrete a certain secretion" that tends to kill sperm.Two Philadelphia doctors specializing in human reproduction characterized Freind's contention as scientifically baseless.
According to Planned Parenthood, about 5 percent of rapes result in pregnancy, and providing all rape victims with emergency contraception could prevent more than 22,000 unwanted pregnancies a year.
Prenatal Testing Leads To AbortionNation." "That is a fact." In fact, more than 90 percent of amniocenteses tests result in normal diagnoses, and half of fetuses diagnosed with severe abnormalities -- about 5 percent of those tested -- are aborted, according to PolitiFact.
A campaign spokeswoman for Obama condemned Santorum's comments
HPV Vaccine Causes Retardation
Back when Rick Perry was campaigning for president, his rivals attacked him for signing an executive order mandating the human papillomavirus vaccine for young girls, and misinformation quickly spread. Michele Bachmann insinuated that the vaccine causes mental retardation, while Santorum spoke out against "having little girls inoculated at the force and compulsion of the government."
The vaccine is safe and effective in preventing cervical cancer caused by certain strains of HPV, and Perry's 2007 executive order, which was overturned by the state legislature, would have allowed parents to opt out of having their daughters vaccinated. Dr. Renata Arrington-Sanders, a professor at Johns Hopkins University medical school, told HuffPost's Laura Bassett: "The HPV vaccine has been shown to be safe and well-tolerated based on multiple medical reports that have been submitted through government databases. It's unfortunate that this particular vaccine is surrounded by a lot of controversy just because it's been labeled as an STD-prevention vaccine. We have similar vaccines, such as one for hepatitis B, that are also used in a mandated approach and have shown very successful rates with prevention."
In recent days, Americans of every faith and political persuasion have mobilized in objection to a rule put forward by the Obama administration that constitutes an unambiguous attack on religious freedom in our country. This rule would require faith-based employers -- including Catholic charities, schools, universities, and hospitals -- to provide services they believe are immoral. Those services include sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs and devices, and contraception.
Michele Bachmann called Plan B an abortion pill when she incorrectly criticized Obama for making the drug available over-the-counter -- an FDA recommendation the administration and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius rejected last year. "The president can put abortion pills for girls 8 years of age, 11 years of age, on the bubblegum aisle," Bachmann said at a "pro-life" town hall in December.
Contraceptives, emergency or not, prevent pregnancy. They don't cause abortions. Plan B works in the same way and with the same ingredients as birth control pills, just at a higher dosage, and does nothing to stop the development of a fetus.
The Arizona Senate passed a bill in March to protect doctors from "wrongful birth" lawsuits -- effectively allowing them to withhold information that may lead a patient to get an abortion. HuffPost's John Celock reports:
Sen. Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix) told the Claims Journal that she sponsored the law because she did not want claimants to blame a doctor for a baby born with disabilities. Under the provisions of her bill, a doctor could not be sued for medical malpractice if the doctor withholds information from a mother about a child's potential health issues that could influence her decision to have an abortion. In addition, a lawsuit could not be filed on the child's behalf regarding a disability.
Kansas lawmakers have considered similar legislation.
Vagina Monologues Script - The DialogueThis is funny, true and entertaining. Read and be prepared to laugh, cry and think.... It took me a while to find this, I wanted to post when they did this on the steps of the state capital in Michigan. June 18, 2012
( Ensler ) I'M JUST GONNA ASK YOU A FEW QUESTIONS
AND JUST ANSWER WHATEVER YOU'RE COMFORTABLE ANSWERING.
DON'T GO ANY FURTHER THAN YOU FEEL LIKE GOING
AND IF YOU WANT TO ADD SOMETHING LATER ON
TO A QUESTION I'VE ASKED YOU, THAT'S FINE TOO.
WHEN WAS THE FIRST TIME YOU SAW IT ?
YOU KNOW, IT WAS SORT OF LIKE AN ACCIDENTAL THING.
THERE WAS LIKE A MIRROR ON THE FLOOR,
AND I WALKED UP AND I WAS LIKE, WHAT, WHAT WAS THAT ?
I HAVE TO GO HOME AND DO SOME RESEARCH.
I DIDN'T LOOK AT MYSELF 'TIL PROBABLY IN COLLEGE.
I DON'T EVEN SAY THE WORD TO MY OB-GYN.
AND I WENT TO THE LIBRARY, I'M SNEAKING IN THE LIBRARY,
LOOKING THROUGH THE BOOKS, AND YOU KNOW,
LIKE I'M COVERING THE BOOK WITH LIKE SOMETHING ELSE.
AND THEN IT'S LIKE,
"ADMIRE IT, IT'S A BEAUTIFUL FLOWER,
YOU KNOW, IT'S LIKE ROSES."
I'M LIKE, WE'RE NOT LOOKING AT THE SAME THING
I TOOK PHOTOS OF IT.
I HAD A POLAROID CAMERA
AND I WOULD GO INTO THE BATHROOM
AND TAKE A PICTURE.
ARE YOU EMBARRASSED ?
ALL THOSE THINGS ARE KIND OF LIKE SECRET.
YOU KNOW ?
AND IT'S NOT FOR, YOU KNOW,
IT'S LIKE YOUR OWN LITTLE JOY.
I REALIZED THERE WAS NO CONTEXT
IN WHICH WOMEN EVER TALK ABOUT THEIR VAGINAS.
SO, I JUST STARTED CASUALLY SAYING TO FRIENDS OF MINE,
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT YOUR VAGINA ?
WHAT DO YOU THINK ?
( Ensler ) AND OVER THE COURSE OF ABOUT THREE TO FIVE YEARS,
I HAD INTERVIEWED OVER 200 WOMEN.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE TALKING ABOUT IT ?
I THINK IT'S LIBERATING, BUT IT'S KIND OF FUNNY TOO.
ANXIOUS, KIND OF NERVOUS,
NOT REALLY SURE OF WHAT I'M GONNA SAY
REALLY THOUGHT I T WAS GONNA BE LIKE, UNCOMFORTABLE,
BUT IT'S NOT.
YOU MAKE IT KIND OF EASY.
AND EVERYTHING EVERY WOMAN SAID
WAS MORE SURPRISING, OUTRAGEOUS, DISTURBING
EXCITING THAN THE NEXT
AND ONE WOMAN WOULD SAY TO ME,
OH, YOU REALLY NEED TO TALK TO SO AND SO ABOUT HER VAGINA,
SHE HAS AN AMAZING STORY.
AND SHE WOULD SAY,
NO, YOU NEED TO TALK T TO SO AND SO ABOUT HER VAGINA
AND BEFORE I KNEW IT, I WAS REALLY SUCKED
DOWN THIS VAGINA TRAIL , AND I COULDN'T GET BACK.
AND I'VE BEEN ON THE TRAIL FOR A LONG TIME
AND I DON'T THINK I'M GETTING OFF IT ANY TIME SOON.
EVERYTHING ON THE WALL, ALL OF THESE WERE GIFTS
OR PHOTOGRAPHS OR THINGS THAT HAVE FOUND ME
OR HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO ME AS I TRAVELED AROUND THE WORLD.
WELL, FIRST I'D LIKE TO INTRODUCE VAGINA BARBIE,
COMPLETE WITH DUCK LIPS.
THIS SALAD HERE...
THAT'S A VAGINA SALAD.
THIS IS A VULVA PUPPET.
THEY ACTUALLY TALK.
THERE'S A WHOLE WORLD OF VAGINA LIFE OUT THERE,
WHICH I FIND THRILLING.
( laughing )
SO, WHEN THE SHOW WAS FIRST DONE DOWNTOWN,
GUYS WOULD CALL UP AND SAY,
CAN I HAVE TICKETS TO "THE VAGINA DIALOGUES" ?
AND WOMEN WOULD CALL UP AND SAY,
CAN I HAVE TICKETS TO "THE MONOLOGUES" ?
I'VE HEARD PEOPLE CALL IT "THE VIAGRA CHRONICLES."
AND THERE WAS THIS PUNK TICKET TAKER,
AND SHE WOULD SAY,
LISTEN, IF YOU CAN'T SAY THE NAME, YOU CAN'T COME.
NOW, TRY AGAIN, TRY AGAIN."
( laughing )
( applause and cheering )
I BET YOU'RE WORRIED.
I WAS WORRIED.
THAT'S WHY I BEGAN THIS PIECE.
I WAS WORRIED ABOUT VAGINAS.
I WAS WORRIED WHAT WE THINK ABOUT VAGINAS
AND I WAS EVEN MORE WORRIED
THAT WE DON'T THINK ABOUT THEM.
I WAS WORRIED ABOUT MY OWN VAGINA.
IT NEEDED A CONTEXT, A COMMUNITY,
A CULTURE OF OTHER VAGINAS.
THERE IS SO MUCH DARKNESS AND SECRECY SURROUNDING THEM,
LIKE THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE,
NOBODY EVER REPORTS BACK FROM THERE.
IN THE FIRST PLACE,
IT'S NOT SO EASY TO EVEN FIND YOUR VAGINA.
WOMEN GO DAYS, WEEKS, MONTHS, WITHOUT LOOKING AT IT.
I INTERVIEWED A HIGH-POWERED BUSINESSWOMAN,
SHE TOLD ME SHE DIDN'T HAVE TIME.
LOOKING AT YOUR VAGINA SHE SAID, IS A FULL DAY'S WORK.
YOU'VE GOT TO GET DOWN THERE, ON YOUR BACK,
IN FRONT OF THE MIRROR, FULL-LENGTH PREFERRED.
YOU'VE GOT TO GET IN THE PERFECT POSITION,
WITH THE PERFECT LIGHT
WHICH THEN BECOMES SHADOWED BY THE ANGLE YOU'RE AT.
YOU'RE TWISTING YOUR HEAD UP, ARCHING YOUR BACK,
SHE WAS BUSY.
SHE DIDN'T HAVE TIME.
SO, I DECIDED TO TALK TO WOMEN ABOUT THEIR VAGINAS.
THEY BEGAN AS CASUAL VAGINA INTERVIEWS,
AND THEY TURNED INTO VAGINA MONOLOGUES.
I TALKED WITH OVER 200 WOMEN.
, I TALKED TO YOUNGER WOMEN, OLDER WOMEN, MARRIED WOMEN
LESBIANS, SINGLE WOMEN,
I TALKED TO COLLEGE PROFESSORS, CORPORATE PROFESSIONALS,
ACTORS, SEX WORKERS.
I TALKED TO AFRICAN-AMERICAN WOMEN,
ASIAN-AMERICAN WOMEN, HISPANIC WOMEN,
NATIVE-AMERICAN WOMEN, CAUCASIAN WOMEN,
AT FIRST, WOMEN WERE A LITTLE SHY,
A LITTLE RELUCTANT TO TALK.
BUT ONCE THEY GOT GOING, YOU COULDN'T STOP THEM.
WOMEN LOVE TO TALK ABOUT THEIR VAGINAS, THEY DO.
THEY REALLY DO.
MAINLY BECAUSE NO ONE'S EVER ASKED THEM BEFORE.
LET'S JUST START WITH THE WORD VAGINA.
IT SOUNDS LIKE AN INFECTION AT BEST.
. MAYBE A MEDICAL INSTRUMENT
"HURRY, NURSE, BRING ME THE VAGINA."
IT DOESN'T MATTER HOW MANY TIMES YOU SAY THE WORD,
IT NEVER SOUNDS LIKE A WORD YOU WANT TO SAY.
IT'S A COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS,
TOTALLY UNSEXY WORD.
IF YOU USE IT DURING SEX, TRYING TO BE POLITICALLY CORRECT
YOU KILL THE ACT RIGHT THERE.
I'M WORRIED WHAT WE CALL IT AND DON'T CALL IT.
IN GREAT NECK, NEW YORK, THEY CALL IT A "PUSSYCAT".
A WOMAN TOLD ME THERE, HER MOTHER USED TO TELL HER,
"DON'T WEAR PANTIES, DEAR, UNDERNEATH YOUR PAJAMAS,
YOU NEED TO AIR OUT YOUR PUSSYCAT."
IN WESTCHESTER, THEY CALL IT A "POOKIE".
IN NEW JERSEY, A "TWAT".
THERE'S "POWDER BOX",
A "POOCHI", A "POOPI",
A "PEE-PEE", A "POOPALU",
A "POONINANA" AND A "PICHE".
THERE'S "TOADIE", "DEE-DEE",
"NAPPY DUGOUT", "MONGO",
"MONKEY BOX", "PAJAMA",
"TAMALE", "TOTTITA", "CONNIE",
A "MIMI" IN MIAMI,
A "SPLIT KNISH" IN PHILADELPHIA.
AND A "SCHMENDE" IN THE BRONX.
I AM WORRIED ABOUT VAGINAS.
( applause )
VAGINA GRADUATE !
THIS IS STEVE, THIS IS STEVE.
STEVE JUST GRADUATED FROM UVS,
THAT'S THE UNIVERSITY OF VAGINAL SCIENCES.
THE MOST VAGINA FRIENDLY GUY IN HIS CLASS, OKAY ?
GOT THE JOB, YA.
THIS FIRST MONOLOGUE IS
BASED ON ONE WOMAN'S STORY,
PRETTY MUCH THE WAY I HEARD IT,
ALTHOUGH THE SUBJECT OF THIS INTERVIEW CAME UP
IN EVERY INTERVIEW AND WAS OFTEN FRAUGHT.
. THE SUBJECT BEING HAIR
I LOVE HAIR.
. HAIR VAGINA, HAIR IS A VAGINA, THE VAGINA IS HAIR
I LIKE MY HAIR, I'D LIKE A LOT MORE HAIR ACTUALLY.
I'M A REDHEAD AND EVERYTHING'S RED.
I MEAN, IT'S JUST RED, RED , RED, RED, RED, RED, RED.
I'VE NEVER SHAVED THE BIKINI LINE.
I WEAR APPROPRIATE BATHING SUITS SO THAT IT COVERS, BUT,
I DON'T, YOU KNOW, I DON'T FEEL THAT I HAD
. TO WORK ON IT COSMETICALLY
BECAUSE I'VE BEEN AFFLICTED WITH HAIR FROM THE TIME
I WAS EIGHT YEARS OLD, ON MY VAGINA,
I'M VERY CURIOUS WHAT IT WOULD FEEL LIKE, TO BE HAIRLESS.
I DON'T MEAN A HAIRCUT, I MEAN, YOU KNOW,
IT'S NOT ANYTHING LIKE CRAZY, I MEAN, YOU KNOW,
I DO IT MYSELF, SO HOW CRAZY CAN IT BE ?
IT'S JUST LIKE A NORMAL...
NICE, NEAT, YOU KNOW, THING.
THOUGHT EVERYBODY DID THAT, NO ?
YOU CANNOT LOVE A VAGINA
UNLESS YOU LOVE HAIR.
MANY PEOPLE DO NOT LOVE HAIR.
MY FIRST AND ONLY HUSBAND HATED HAIR.
HE SAID IT WAS CLUTTERED AND DIRTY.
HE MADE ME SHAVE MY VAGINA.
IT LOOKED PUFFY,
AND EXPOSED, LIKE A LITTLE GIRL.
THIS EXCITED HIM.
WHEN HE MADE LOVE TO MY VAGINA,
IT FELT THE WAY A BEARD MUST FEEL.
IT FELT GOOD TO SCRATCH IT, AND PAINFUL,
LIKE SCRATCHING A MOSQUITO BITE.
THERE WERE SCREAMING RED BUMPS.
IT FELT LIKE IT WAS ON FIRE.
I REFUSED TO SHAVE IT AGAIN.
THEN MY HUSBAND HAD AN AFFAIR.
WHEN WE WENT TO MARITAL THERAPY,
HE SAID HE SCREWED AROUND
BECAUSE I WOULDN'T PLEASE HIM SEXUALLY,
I WOULDN'T SHAVE MY VAGINA.
THE THERAPIST HAD A THICK GERMAN ACCENT,
AND SHE GASPED ( gasping )
BETWEEN SENTENCES ( gasping )
TO SHOW HER EMPATHY.
( laughing )
SHE ASKED ME WHY I DIDN'T WANT TO PLEASE MY HUSBAND,
WHY I DIDN'T WANT TO SHAVE MY VAGINA.
I TOLD HER I THOUGHT IT WAS WEIRD.
I FELT LITTLE WHEN MY HAIR WAS GONE DOWN THERE,
AND I COULDN'T HELP TALKING IN A BABY VOICE.
AND EVEN CALAMINE LOTION WOULDN'T STOP THE IRRITATION.
SHE TOLD ME THAT MARRIAGE WAS A COMPROMISE.
I ASKED HER IF MY SHAVING MY VAGINA
WOULD STOP MY HUSBAND FROM SCREWING AROUND.
I ASKED HER IF SHE HAD MANY CASES LIKE THIS BEFORE.
SHE TOLD ME THAT
QUESTIONS DILUTED THE PROCESS.
SHE WAS SURE IT WAS A GOOD BEGINNING,
I JUST NEEDED TO JUMP IN.
THIS TIME, WHEN WE GOT HOME, HE GOT TO SHAVE MY VAGINA.
IT WAS LIKE A THERAPY BONUS PRIZE.
HE CLIPPED IT A FEW TIMES,
AND THERE WAS A LITTLE BLOOD IN THE BATHTUB.
HE DIDN'T NOTICE,
HE WAS SO EXCITED SHAVING ME.
THEN, LATER, WHEN MY HUSBAND WAS PRESSING AGAINST ME,
I COULD FEEL HIS SPIKY SHARPNESS
STICKING INTO MY NAKED EXPOSED VAGINA.
THERE WAS NO PROTECTION.
. THERE WAS NO FLUFF
I REALIZED THEN
. THAT HAIR IS THERE FOR A REASON
IT'S THE LEAF AROUND THE FLOWER,
THE LAWN AROUND THE HOUSE.
YOU HAVE TO LOVE HAIR IN ORDER TO LOVE THE VAGINA.
. YOU CAN'T PICK THE PARTS YOU WANT
MY HUSBAND, WELL...
HE NEVER DID STOP SCREWING AROUND.
( applause )
YOU KNOW, I INTERVIEWED A WHOLE GROUP OF WOMEN
BETWEEN 65 AND 75.
AND THAT WAS DEFINITELY THE MOST POIGNANT GROUP.
MAINLY BECAUSE I DON'T THINK MANY WOMEN IN THAT GROUP
HAD EVER HAD A VAGINA INTERVIEW BEFORE.
THIS PARTICULAR WOMAN WAS 72 YEARS OLD,
AND SHE HAD NEVER SEEN HER VAGINA.
SHE'D WASHED IT IN THE SHOWER AND BATH,
, BUT NEVER WITH CONSCIOUS INTENTION OR AWARENESS
AND SHE'D NEVER HAD AN ORGASM.
WHEN SHE WAS 72,
SHE WENT TO THERAPY FOR THE FIRST TIME,
AS WE DO IN NEW YORK,
AND SHE WORKED WITH A WONDERFUL THERAPIST,
WHO GOT HER TO GO HOME, BY HERSELF.
SHE TOLD ME SHE LIT SOME CANDLES,
SHE PLAYED SOME MUSIC, SHE TOOK A BATH.
SHE GOT DOWN WITH HERSELF,
AND SHE TOLD ME IT TOOK HER OVER AN HOUR
BECAUSE SHE WAS ARTHRITIC,
BUT WHEN SHE FINALLY FOUND HER CLITORIS,
SHE SAID SHE CRIED.
THIS IS FOR HER...
DOWN THERE ?
I HAVEN'T BEEN DOWN THERE SINCE 1953.
NO, IT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH EISENHOWER.
NO, TRUST ME, TRUST ME, YOU DON'T WANT TO GO DOWN THERE,
IT'S VERY DAMP, VERY CLAMMY.
SMELL THE MILDEW, GETS IN YOUR CLOTHES, IT'S HORRIBLE.
NO, AND THERE WAS NO ACCIDENT DOWN THERE,
IT DIDN'T BLOW UP OR CATCH ON FIRE.
IT WASN'T SO DRAMATIC.
WHAT'S A NICE GIRL LIKE YOU GOING AROUND
TALKING TO OLD LADIES ABOUT THEIR "DOWN THERE'S" FOR ?
WE DIDN'T DO THIS KIND OF A THING WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE.
. THERE WAS THIS BOY
HE WAS SO GOOD LOOKING , AND TALL, LIKE ME.
HE ASKED ME OUT FOR A DATE, I'LL NEVER FORGET,
IN HIS NEW WHITE CHEVY BELAIR,
OH, MY GOD.
I CAN'T DO THIS.
I CAN'T TALK TO YOU ABOUT DOWN THERE.
YOU JUST KNOW IT'S THERE LIKE THE CELLAR.
YOU CAN HEAR THE PIPES
THINGS GET CAUGHT THERE FROM TIME TO TIME.
LITTLE ANIMALS AND THINGS.
, IT GETS WET, PEOPLE COME, THEY PLUG UP THE LEAKS
OTHERWISE THE DOOR STAYS CLOSED,
YOU FORGET ABOUT IT.
OH, GOD, HE WAS A CATCH.
THAT'S WHAT WE CALLED IT IN MY DAY.
WE'RE IN HIS CAR,
AND ALL I'M THINKING ABOUT ARE MY KNEECAPS.
I HAVE VERY LONG LEGS,
AND MY KNEECAPS WERE SMUSHED UP AGAINST THE DASHBOARD.
WHEN ANDY JUST GRABS ME, AND KISSES ME IN THIS
"TAKE YOU BY CONTROL LIKE THEY DO IN THE MOVIES"
KIND OF WAY.
WELL, I GOT EXCITED.
. I GOT VERY EXCITED
AND THERE WAS A... WELL, THERE WAS A...
. WELL, THERE WAS A FLOOD DOWN THERE
THIS RIVER OF LIFE,
THIS FORCE OF PASSION JUST FLOODED OUT OF ME.
RIGHT THROUGH MY PANTIES, RIGHT ONTO THE CAR SEAT
OF HIS NEW WHITE CHEVY BELAIR.
WELL, IT WASN'T PEE.
AND IT WASN'T SMELLY.
WELL, HE SAID, ANDY SAID, HE SAID
IT SMELLED LIKE SOUR MILK AND IT WAS STAINING HIS CAR SEAT.
I WAS "A STINKY WEIRD GIRL", HE SAID.
I TRIED TO EXPLAIN
THAT HIS KISS HAD CAUGHT ME OFF GUARD,
I WASN'T NORMALLY LIKE THIS.
I TRIED TO WIPE UP THE FLOOD WITH MY DRESS.
IT WAS A NEW, YELLOW PRIMROSE DRESS,
AND IT LOOKED UGLY WITH THE FLOOD ON IT.
ANDY DROVE ME HOME
HE NEVER SAID ANOTHER WORD TO ME.
AND WHEN I GOT OUT OF HIS CAR, I TELL YOU, I CLOSED IT,
LOCKED IT, LOCKED THE STORE.
NEVER OPENED FOR BUSINESS AGAIN.
I USED TO HAVE THESE DREAMS, THOUGH, I MEAN
THEY'RE CRAZY DREAMS, DOPEY DREAMS.
I DON'T KNOW WHY.
THE GUY NEVER DID A THING FOR ME IN LIFE.
BUT ALWAYS IN MY DREAMS, IT WAS BURT AND I,
BURT AND I, BURT AND I.
WE'D BE OUT FOR DINNER,
ONE OF THOSE RESTAURANTS,
THE KIND YOU SEE IN ATLANTIC CITY.
HUGE CHANDELIERS, THOUSANDS OF THE WAITERS WITH THE VESTS ON.
BURT WOULD BE THERE,
HE'D GIVE ME AN ORCHID CORSAGE.
I'D PIN IT TO MY BLAZER.
WE WERE ALWAYS LAUGHING, BURT AND I.
. LAUGHING, LAUGHING
ATE SHRIMP COCKTAIL,
FABULOUS SHRIMP, HUGE SHRIMP.
THEN BURT WOULD LEAN TOWARDS ME,
AND JUST AS HE WAS ABOUT TO KISS ME,
THE ENTIRE RESTAURANT WOULD START TO SHAKE.
PIGEONS WOULD FLY OUT FROM UNDERNEATH THE TABLE.
I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE PIGEONS WERE DOING THERE
AND THE FLOOD WOULD COME,
STRAIGHT FROM DOWN THERE.
IT WOULD POUR OUT OF ME.
IT WOULD POUR AND POUR.
THERE'D BE LITTLE BOATS INSIDE IT
AND LITTLE FISH,
AND THE ENTIRE RESTAURANT WOULD FILL UP WITH MY FLOOD.
AND THERE WOULD BE BURT, STANDING WAIST DEEP IN IT,
HORRIBLY DISAPPOINTED I'D DONE IT AGAIN,
AS HE WATCHED HIS FRIENDS,
DEAN MARTIN AND THE LIKES,
SWIM PAST US IN THEIR TUXEDOS AND EVENING GOWNS.
I DON'T HAVE THOSE DREAMS ANYMORE, NO.
NOT SINCE THEY TOOK JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING
CONNECTED WITH DOWN THERE.
MOVED OUT THE TUBES, THE UTERUS, THE WHOLE WORKS.
MY DOCTOR THINKS HE'S A REAL COMEDIAN.
HE TELLS ME, "YOU DON'T USE IT, YOU LOSE IT".
IT WAS CANCER.
THE WHOLE THING HAD TO GO.
HIGHLY OVERRATED ANYWAY, RIGHT ?
I DO OTHER THINGS.
LOVE THE DOG SHOWS.
I SELL ANTIQUES.
EXCUSE ME ?
COME AGAIN ?
"WHAT WOULD IT WEAR ?"
WHAT KIND OF QUESTION IS THAT, WHAT WOULD IT WEAR ?
IT WOULD WEAR A SIGN,
"CLOSED, DUE TO FLOODING".
WHAT WOULD IT SAY ?
I TOLD YOU, IT'S NOT A THING THAT SPEAKS, IT'S A PLACE.
A PLACE YOU DON'T GO.
CLOSED UP, UNDER THE HOUSE, DOWN THERE.
YOU HAPPY NOW, YOU HAPPY ?
YOU GOT AN OLD LADY TO TALK ABOUT THIS STUFF, YOU FEEL BETTER ?
I'LL TELL YOU THE TRUTH.
YOU ARE THE VERY FIRST PERSON I EVER TALKED TO
ABOUT ANY OF THIS STUFF.
. I FEEL A LITTLE BETTER
( applause )
( Ensler ) DID YOU EVER LOOK AT YOUR VAGINA OR-- ?
NO, I DIDN'T, NO, I DIDN'T.
SO, YOU'VE NEVER SEEN YOUR VAGINA ?
I DON'T THINK SO.
I DON'T THINK SO, AND I'VE HAD CHILDREN.
REALLY ? YEAH.
WHAT DO YOU IMAGINE IT LOOKS LIKE ?
WELL, I GUESS I'VE SEEN IT IN THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE,
WHEN I'M IN THE STIRRUPS, IF THERE'S A MIRROR,
I MEAN, I'M SURE I MUS T HAVE SEEN IT IN PASSING
. OVER THE YEARS
WELL, I HAPPENED TO LOOK DOWN
AND THERE WAS THIS VERY UGLY THING STARING BACK AT ME,
( laughing )
OH, MY GOD.
AND DO YOU HAVE GOOD SEX TODAY ?
YOU SAID "GOOD", YOU DIDN'T ASK HOW OFTEN.
IS THERE SOMETHING SPECIFIC IT'S LONGED FOR ?
WELL, RIGHT ABOUT NOW, PROBABLY SEX.
'CAUSE IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME.
( laughing )
IT'S PROBABLY DOWN THERE JUST WISHING.
WHY DON'T YOU GET SOME SENSE, WOMAN,
AND GIVE ME SOME HELP DOWN HERE ?
IT STILL ACHES A LITTLE BIT,
. BECAUSE I STIL L LIKE TO PLAY HOUSE
( laughing )
I'M OLD, NOT DEAD.
NO, I'M NOT HOLDING THIS.
IT'S AMAZING HOW MANY PEOPLE COMPLAIN
THAT THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH MONOLOGUES
ABOUT HETEROSEXUAL, VAGINA-LOVING MEN.
WE HAVE 10 MINUTES, MS. ENSLER.
THERE IS A VAGINA-LOVING MAN.
COME IN, STEVE.
THIS IS THE GUY.
RIGHT HERE, RIGHT HERE.
TELL ME, WHAT'VE YOU LEARNED ABOUT VAGINAS
IN THE LAST FEW DAYS ?
I'VE PROBABLY LEARNED MORE IN THE LAST THREE DAYS
THAN IN MY ENTIRE 24 YEARS.
REALLY ? OH, YEAH.
BASICALLY, I THOUGHT I KNEW SOMETHING,
AND I KNEW NOTHING
THAT'S WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO.
THIS NEXT MONOLOGUE IS BASED ON AN INTERVIEW
I DID WITH A WOMAN
WHO HAD A GOOD EXPERIENCE WITH A MAN.
( laughing )
BECAUSE HE LIKED TO LOOK AT IT.
THIS IS HOW I CAME TO LOVE MY VAGINA.
BECAUSE IT'S NOT POLITICALLY CORRECT.
I MEAN, I KNOW HOW IT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED.
IN A BATH, WITH SALT GRAINS FROM THE DEAD SEA,
ME LOVING MY WOMAN-SELF.
I KNOW THE STORY.
VAGINAS ARE BEAUTIFUL.
OUR SELF-HATRED IS ONLY THE INTERNALIZED REPRESSION
AND HATRED OF THE PATRIARCHAL CULTURE.
IT ISN'T REAL.
I KNOW ALL OF IT.
LIKE IF WE'D GROWN UP IN A CULTURE
WHERE WE WERE TAUGHT FAT THIGHS WERE BEAUTIFUL,
WE'D ALL BE POUNDING DOWN MILK SHAKES AND DOUGHNUTS,
, SPENDING OUR DAYS LYING ON OUR BACKS
BUT WE DIDN'T GROW UP IN THAT CULTURE, DID WE ?
I HATED MY THIGHS,
AND I HATED MY VAGINA EVEN MORE.
I THOUGHT IT WAS INCREDIBLY UGLY.
I WAS ONE OF THOSE WOMEN WHO HAD LOOKED AT IT,
AND FROM THAT MOMENT ON I WISHED I HADN'T.
IT MADE ME SICK.
I PITIED ANYONE WHO HAD TO GO DOWN THERE.
IN ORDER TO SURVIVE,
I BEGAN TO PRETEND
THERE WAS SOMETHING ELSE BETWEEN MY LEGS.
I IMAGINED FURNITURE.
COZY FUTONS WITH LIGHT COTTON COMFORTERS,
LITTLE VELVET SETTEES, OR PRETTY THINGS.
QUILTED POT HOLDERS.
I GOT SO ACCUSTOMED TO THIS,
I LOST ALL MEMORY OF HAVING A VAGINA.
WHENEVER A MAN WAS INSIDE ME,
I PICTURED HIM INSIDE A MINK-LINED MUFFLER
OR A CHINESE BOWL.
THEN I MET BOB...
BOB WAS THE MOST ORDINARY MAN
I EVER MET.
THIN, TALL, NONDESCRIPT,
HE WORE KHAKI TAN CLOTHES.
( audience laughing )
BOB DID NOT LIKE SPICY FOODS OR LISTEN TO PRODIGY.
HE HAD NO INTEREST IN SEXY LINGERIE.
IN THE SUMMER,
HE SPENT TIME IN THE SHADE.
HE DID NOT SHARE HIS INNER FEELINGS
HE DIDN'T HAVE ANY PROBLEMS OR ISSUES
HE WASN'T EVEN AN ALCOHOLIC.
HE WASN'T VERY FUNNY OR ARTICULATE OR MYSTERIOUS.
. HE WASN'T MEAN OR UNAVAILABLE
HE WASN'T SELF-INVOLVED OR CHARISMATIC.
HE DIDN'T DRIVE FAST.
I DIDN'T PARTICULARLY LIKE BOB.
I WOULD HAVE MISSED HIM ALTOGETHER
IF HE HADN'T PICKED UP MY CHANGE
THAT I DROPPED ON THE DELI FLOOR.
WHEN HE HANDED ME BACK MY PENNIES AND QUARTERS,
AND HIS HAND
ACCIDENTALLY TOUCHED MINE,
. SOMETHING HAPPENED
. I WENT TO BED WITH HIM
THAT'S WHEN THE MIRACLE OCCURRED.
IT TURNED OUT THAT BOB LOVED VAGINAS.
HE WAS A CONNOISSEUR.
HE LOVED THE WAY THEY TASTED, THE WAY THEY SMELLED,
THE WAY THEY FELT, BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY,
BOB LOVED THE WAY THEY LOOKED.
. HE HAD TO LOOK AT THEM
FIRST TIME WE HAD SEX, HE TOLD ME HE HAD TO SEE ME.
"I'M RIGHT HERE, BOB."
"NO," HE SAID. "YOU, I NEED TO SEE YOU."
"TURN ON THE LIGHT," I SAID,
THINKING HE WAS A WEIRDO AND FREAKING OUT IN THE DARK.
HE TURNED ON THE LIGHT.
"OKAY," HE SAID, "I'M READY, I'M READY TO SEE YOU."
"I'M RIGHT HERE, BOB, RIGHT HERE."
HE BEGAN TO UNDRESS ME.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING, BOB ?"
"I NEED TO SEE WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE."
"BUT YOU'VE SEEN A RED LEATHER COUCH BEFORE, BOB,
I KNOW YOU'VE SEEN THAT."
BOB CONTINUED, HE WOULD NOT STOP.
I WANTED TO THROW UP AND DIE.
"THIS IS AWFULLY INTIMATE, BOB.
CAN'T YOU JUST DO IT ?"
"NO," HE SAID.
"IT'S WHO YOU ARE, I NEED TO LOOK."
I HELD MY BREATH.
HE GOT BREATHY,
AND HIS FACE CHANGED.
HE DIDN'T LOOK ORDINARY ANYMORE.
HE LOOKED LIKE A HUNGRY BEAST.
"YOU'RE SO BEAUTIFUL," HE SAID.
"YOU'RE ELEGANT AND DEEP
" AND INNOCENT AND WILD.
"YOU SAW THAT THERE ?", I SAID.
IT WAS LIKE HE READ MY PALM.
"I SAW THAT,"
HE SAID, "AND MUCH, MUCH MORE."
BOB STAYED LOOKING
. FOR ALMOST AN HOUR
, AS IF HE WERE STUDYING A MAP
, OBSERVING THE MOON
STARING INTO MY EYES.
BUT IT WAS MY VAGINA !
IN THE LIGHT,
I WATCHED HIM LOOKING AT ME.
HE WAS SO EXCITED.
SO PEACEFUL AND EUPHORIC.
I BEGAN TO GET WET AND TURNED ON.
I BEGAN TO SEE MYSELF THE WAY HE SAW ME.
I BEGAN TO FEEL BEAUTIFUL AND DELICIOUS,
LIKE A GREAT PAINTING OR A WATERFALL.
BOB WASN'T AFRAID, NO, HE WASN'T GROSSED OUT.
I BEGAN TO SWELL.
I BEGAN TO FEEL PROUD.
I BEGAN TO LOVE MY VAGINA.
. AND BOB LOST HIMSELF THERE
AND I WAS THERE WITH HIM,
IN MY VAGINA.
( applause )
WE'RE GONNA GET LITTLE BUTTONS MADE THAT SAY, "I'M YOUR BOB."
HE'S A "BOB", I CAN TELL.
IT'S PART OF THAT WHOLE UNIVERSITY TRAINING, YOU KNOW ?
OH, MY GOD.
IT'S ALL ABOUT POSTURE AND HAIR.
HAVEN'T THOUGHT ABOUT MY HAIR THIS MUCH IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.
I ASKED ALL THE WOMEN I INTERVIEWED
THE SAME QUESTIONS, AND THEN I PICKED MY FAVORITE ANSWERS,
ALTHOUGH I HAVE TO TELL YOU,
I HAVE NEVER HEARD AN ANSWER I DIDN'T LOVE.
THE FIRST QUESTION I ASKED WOMEN WAS,
IF YOUR VAGINA GOT DRESSED,
WHAT WOULD IT WEAR ?
WHAT WOULD YOUR VAGINA WEAR IF IT GOT DRESSED ?
OH, I KNEW THAT QUESTION WAS GOING TO COME,
AND I SAID THAT EVERYBODY WOULD PROBABLY SAY
THAT I WOULD HAVE ON A RALPH LAUREN SKIRT
OR A CALVIN KLEIN DRESS OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.
I WOULD PROBABLY PUT A HAT ON IT.
LOTS OF GLITTER.
. PROBABLY A RED BOA
HIKING BOOTS AND A LOT OF SUN BLOCK.
SOMETHING FROM THE 40s.
I LIKE LEATHER , IT'S SEXY.
IT WOULD BE BALD.
AND IT'D HAVE AN EARRING.
ACTUALLY MY VAGINA'S A NUDIST.
DOESN'T WEAR ANYTHING ANYMORE.
SOME BAGGY JEANS,
PROBABLY A HOODIE.
LIKE A LITTLE OLD-FASHIONED DRESS.
. SPOTTED LEATHER PANTS, AND A BLACK KNIT SHIRT
OOH, DADDY WOULD LOVE THAT.
I KNOW IT, HE WOULD LOVE IT.
I'VE BEEN TRAVELING FOR SEVERAL YEARS ALL AROUND THE WORLD,
AND I'VE BEEN THREATENING TO CREATE A MAP
, OF ALL THE VAGINA-FRIENDLY CITIES
FIVE YEARS IN THE THEATER, NOT ONE MAP.
ONE HOUR IN HBO, PRESTO !
! A VAGINA FRIENDLY MAP
I BET YOU DON'T KNOW ABOUT SOME OF
THE REALLY MANY SURPRISING VAGINA-FRIENDLY CITIES.
OKLAHOMA CITY LOVES VAGINAS.
WHO KNEW ?
BOISE, IDAHO, RECENT RECENT CONVERT
THEY'VE COME INTO VAGINA LAND.
. CONGRATULATIONS, IDAHO
THERE ARE ON THIS MAP VAGINA HOLIDAY ZONES,
NEW YORK CITY IS VAGINA HOLIDAY ZONE.
. SAN FRANCISCO HAS ITS OWN STATUS
. THERE IS NO OTHER VAGINA WORLD FAIR ZONE
IT'S THE ONLY ONE ON THE MAP, JUST IMAGINE THE RIDE.
THERE ARE SOME AREAS WHICH CLEARLY,
AS YOU LOOK THROUGH THE MID-PART OF AMERICA,
HAVE NOT BEEN LIBERATED AS OF YET,
BUT WE HAVE GREAT FAITH THEY WILL BE LIBERATED ANY DAY NOW.
PITTSBURGH IS A WILD--
WHERE IS PITTSBURGH ?
WILDLY, WILDLY VAGINA-FRIENDLY CITY,
I'VE BEEN THER E THREE TIMES
AND THEY LOVE VAGINAS IN PITTSBURGH.
WHO KNEW ?
AFTER ONE OF M Y FIRST SHOWS THERE,
A WOMAN CAME UP TO ME AND SHE SAID,
I HAVE TO TALK TO YOU RIGHT AWAY.
. SHE WAS VERY UPSET
. I CALLED HER WHEN I GOT BACK TO NEW YORK
SHE TOLD ME THAT SHE LIKED THE PIECE,
BUT SHE FELT I HAD MISSED THE TEXTURE OF THE VAGINA,
SHE NEEDED TO TALK TEXTURE.
FOR THE NEXT HOUR, SHE TALKED TO ME
ABOUT THE TEXTURE OF THE VAGINA
WITH SUCH NUANCE AND DETAIL,
THAT TO BE HONEST,
I HAD TO LAY DOWN AT THE END OF THE CONVERSATION.
HOWEVER, SHE ALSO TOLD ME IN THE COURSE OF OUR CONVERSATION
THAT I HAD SAI D SOMETHING NEGATIVE
ABOUT A PARTICULAR WORD.
A PEJORATIVE WORD,
A WORD THAT'S BEEN USED TO DECLAIM THE VAGINA,
AND SHE NEEDED TO HELP ME RECONCEIVE THIS WORD.
SO, FOR THE NEXT HOUR,
SHE TALKED TO ME ABOUT THIS WORD,
AND WHEN SHE WAS DONE,
I WAS A CONVERT.
. I WROTE THIS FOR HER..
I CALL IT...
I'VE RECLAIMED IT.
I REALLY LIKE IT.
JUST LISTEN TO IT, LISTEN TO IT.
CACKLE, CLIT, CUTE, COME-CLOSED C,
CLOSED INSIDE, INSIDE CA...
THEN CURVY, INVITING SHARKSKIN, U...
OOH, OOH, U...
. THEN N, THEN CUN..
SNUG LETTERS FITTING PERFECTLY TOGETHER.
ALWAYS DEPTH, ALWAYS ROUND IN UPPERCASE,
CUN, CUN... !
A JAGGED WICKE D ELECTRICAL PULSE.
THEN SOFT N, WARM N...
THEN T, THEN T...
THEN SHARP CERTAIN TANGY T...
TELL ME !
TELL ME, CUNT !
SAY IT !
TELL ME, COME ON !
. LOVE THAT WORD
I CAN'T SAY IT ENOUGH.
I CAN'T STOP SAYING IT.
FEELING A LITTLE IRRITATED IN THE AIRPORT,
JUST SAY "CUNT", EVERYTHING CHANGES.
"WHAT DID YOU SAY ?"
I SAID, "CUNT, THAT'S RIGHT, CUNT, CUNT, CUNT, CUNT."
IT FEELS GOOD.
TRY IT, GO AHEAD, GO AHEAD.
. CUNT, CUNT
. CUNT, CUNT
( together ) CUNT, CUNT, CUNT... !
I'M A CUNT !
MY MOTHER'S GONNA SEE THIS, I CAN'T.
THIS IS BETTER THAN THERAPY.
TURNS THE DAY AROUND, I PROMISE YOU.
WE'RE MOVING ALONG.
I ASKED WOMEN,
"IF YOUR VAGINA COULD TALK, WHAT WOULD IT SAY ?"
IF YOUR VAGINA COULD TALK, AND IT COULD SAY TWO WORDS
WHAT WOULD IT SAY ?
THE FIRST TWO WORDS THAT CAME TO ME HEAD WAS,
"OH, NO," AND I DON'T KNOW IF THAT ANSWERS YOUR QUESTION
OR IF THAT'S WHAT MY VAGINA WOULD SAY, LIKE, "OH, NO".
"EAT ME" COMES TO MIND.
STOP THINKING SO MUCH AND HAVE A GOOD TIME.
WHERE'S TOM ?
WHAT DO YOU WANT ?
OPEN FOR BUSINESS.
? HOW YOU DOING
WHAT'S UP, HONEY ?
THAT'S WHAT IT WOULD SAY.
FOR 10 YEARS I HAD THE PRIVILEGE OF
WORKING WITH WOMEN IN NEW YORK WHO HAD NO HOMES.
IN THAT TIME, I DID ALL KINDS OF THINGS.
I HUNG OUT, I RAN GROUPS,
I HAD MEALS, I WENT TO THE MOVIES.
I INTERVIEWED HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF HOMELESS WOMEN.
AND I HAVE TO TELL YOU IN ALL THOSE YEARS,
IN ALL THOSE INTERVIEWS,
I ONLY MET ONE WOMAN WHO WAS NOT
AS A LITTLE GIRL
OR RAPED AS A YOUNG WOMAN.
THIS PARTICULAR WOMAN I MET SEVEN YEARS AGO,
IN A SHELTER, AND THIS IS HER STORY,
JUST THE WAY SHE TOLD IT TO ME.
I DIDN'T ADD OR CHANGE ANYTHING.
WHAT'S NOT IN HER STORY
IS THAT SHE MET A WOMAN IN THAT SHELTER
AND THEY FELL IN LOVE,
AND THROUGH THEIR LOVE THEY BOTH GOT OUT OF THE SHELTER SYSTEM.
I DO THIS TONIGHT FOR HER, BECAUSE I LOVED HER.
( in southern accent ) MEMORY,
FIVE YEARS OLD.
MY MAMA TELLS ME IN A SCARY, LOUD,
TO STOP SCRATCHING MY COOCHIE SNORCHER.
I BECOME TERRIFIED I HAVE SCRATCHED IT OFF DOWN THERE
AND DO NOT TOUCH MYSELF AGAIN.
EVEN IN THE BATH,
I AM AFRAID OF THE WATER GETTING IN
AND FILLING ME UP SO I EXPLODE.
I PUT BAND-AIDS OVER MY COOCHIE SNORCHER TO COVER THE HOLE,
BUT THEY FALL OFF IN THE WATER.
I IMAGINE A STOPPER, A BATH TUB PLUG UP THERE
TO PREVENT THINGS FROM ENTERING ME.
I SLEEP WITH THREE PAIRS OF HAPPY HEART-SHAPED COTTON UNDERPANTS
UNDERNEATH MY SNAP-UP PAJAMAS.
I STILL WANT TO TOUCH MYSELF, BUT I DON'T.
SEVEN YEARS OLD.
EDGAR MONTANE, WHO IS 10,
GETS ANGRY AT ME AND PUNCHES ME
WITH ALL HIS MIGHT BETWEEN MY LEGS.
IT FEELS LIKE HE BREAKS MY ENTIRE SELF.
I LIMP HOME, I CAN'T PEE.
MY MAMA SAYS "WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOUR COOCHIE SNORCHER, GIRL ?"
AND WHEN I TELL HER WHAT EDGAR DID TO ME, SHE SAYS,
"NEVER, NEVER LET ANYONE TOUCH YOU DOWN THERE AGAIN".
I TRIED TO EXPLAIN.
"HE DIDN'T TOUCH IT, MAMA.
HE PUNCHED IT."
NINE YEARS OLD.
I PLAY ON THE BED, BOUNCING AND FALLING,
AND IMPALE MY COOCHIE SNORCHER ON THE BEDPOST.
I MAKE HIGH-PITCHED SCREAMING NOISES
THAT COME STRAIGHT FROM MY COOCHIE SNORCHER'S MOUTH.
I GET TAKEN TO THE HOSPITAL,
. AND THEY SEW IT UP DOWN THERE FROM WHERE IT'S BEEN TORN APART
10 YEARS OLD.
I'M AT MY FATHER'S HOUSE
AND HE'S HAVIN G A PARTY UPSTAIRS.
I'M PLAYING ALONE IN THE BASEMENT,
AND I'M TRYING ON MY NEW COTTON WHITE BRA AND PANTIES,
. THAT MY FATHER'S GIRLFRIEND GAVE ME
SUDDENLY MY FATHER'S BEST FRIEND,
THIS BIG MAN ALFRED, COMES UP FROM BEHIND,
AND PULLS MY NEW UNDERPANTS DOWN,
AND STICKS HIS BIG, HARD PENIS RIGHT INTO MY COOCHIE SNORCHER.
I SCREAM, I KICK, I TRY TO FIGHT HIM OFF,
. BUT HE ALREADY GETS IN
MY DADDY'S THERE THEN,
AND HE HAS A GUN,
AND THERE IS A LOUD, HORRIBLE NOISE,
, AND THEN THERE IS BLOOD ALL OVER ALFRED AND ME
LOTS OF BLOOD.
I AM SURE MY COOCHIE SNORCHER IS FINALLY FALLEN OUT.
ALFRED IS PARALYZED FOR LIFE.
AND MY MAMA DOESN'T LET ME SEE MY FATHER AGAIN
FOR SEVEN YEARS.
13 YEARS OLD.
MY COOCHIE SNORCHER IS A VERY BAD PLACE.
A PLACE OF PAIN, NASTINESS, PUNCHING,
INVASION AND BLOOD.
IT'S A SITE FOR MISHAPS.
IT'S A BAD LUCK ZONE.
I IMAGINE A FREEWAY BETWEEN MY LEGS,
. AND GIRL, I AM TRAVELING
. I'M GOING FAR AWAY FROM HERE
16 YEARS OLD.
THERE IS THIS GORGEOUS
AND I MEAN GORGEOUS,
24-YEAR-OLD WOMAN IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD.
AND I DO NOT KNOW WHY,
BUT I CAN'T HELP
BUT STARING AT HER ALL THE TIME.
SHE INVITES ME INTO HER CAR.
SHE ASKS ME IF I LIKE TO KISS BOYS, AND I SAY,
"NO, I DO NOT LIKE TO DO THAT."
THEN SHE SAYS SHE WANTS TO SHOW ME SOMETHING.
AND SHE LEANS OVER,
AND SHE KISSES ME
SO SOFTLY ON THE LIPS,
WITH HER LIPS.
AND THEN SHE PUTS HER TONGUE IN MY MOUTH.
SHE ASKED ME IF I WANT TO COME OVER TO HER HOUSE,
AND THEN SHE KISSES ME AGAIN,
AND TELLS ME TO RELAX,
TO FEEL IT,
TO LET OUR TONGUES FEEL IT.
SHE ASKS MY MAMA IF I CAN SPEND THE NIGHT,
AND MY MAMA'S DELIGHTED,
THAT SUCH A BEAUTIFUL, SUCCESSFUL WOMAN
HAS TAKEN AN INTEREST IN ME.
I AM SCARED,
BUT REALLY I CAN'T WAIT.
HER APARTMENT IS FANTASTIC.
SHE'S GOT IT REALLY HOOKED UP.
IT'S THE 70s, THE BEADS,
THE FLUFFY PILLOWS, THE MOOD LIGHTS.
I DECIDE RIGHT THEN I'M GONNA BE A SECRETARY
JUST LIKE HER WHEN I GROW UP.
SHE MAKES A VODKA FOR HERSELF,
AND THEN SHE ASKS ME WHAT I'M DRINKING.
I SAY, THE SAM E AS SHE'S DRINKING,
AND SHE SAYS SHE DOESN'T THINK
MY MAMA WOULD LIKE ME DRINKING VODKA.
I SAY, "SHE PROBABLY WOULDN'T LIKE ME KISSING GIRLS EITHER."
AND THE PRETTY LADY MAKES ME A DRINK.
THEN SHE CHANGES INTO THIS CHOCOLATE...
SHE IS SO BEAUTIFUL.
I MEAN, I ALWAYS THOUGHT BULLDAGGERS WERE UGLY.
I SAY, "YOU LOOK GREAT."
SHE SAYS, "SO DO YOU."
I SAY, "NO, I ONLY HAVE THIS WHITE COTTON BRA
AND PANTIES ON."
SO, SHE TAKES ME INTO HER CLOSET,
AND SHE CHANGES ME INTO
ANOTHER SATIN TEDDY.
IT IS LAVENDER,
LIKE THE FIRST SOFT DAYS OF SPRING.
THE ALCOHOL HAS GONE TO MY HEAD,
AND I AM LOOSE.
I AM READY.
I NOTICE, AS SHE LAYS ME DOWN ON HER BED,
THAT THERE IS A PICTURE OF A NAKED BLACK WOMAN
WITH A HUGE AFRO.
AS SHE SLOWLY
AND GENTLY LAYS ME DOWN ON HER BED,
AND JUST OUR BODIES RUBBING.
JUST OUR BODIES RUBBING MAKES ME COME.
THEN SHE DOES EVERYTHING TO ME AND MY COOCHIE SNORCHER
THAT I ALWAYS THOUGHT WAS NASTY BEFORE
AND OH, MY GOD, I AM SO EXCITED.
SHE SAYS, "YOUR VAGINA, UNTOUCHED BY MAN,
"SMELLS SO FRESH, SO NICE,
I WISH I COULD KEEP IT THAT WAY FOREVER."
I GET CRAZY.
I GET CRAZY WILD.
AND THEN THE PHONE RINGS,
AND IT'S MY MAMA.
SHE CATCHES ME AT EVERYTHING.
I TRY TO ACT NORMAL WHEN I GET ON THE PHONE.
"WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, GIRL ?
HAVE YOU BEEN RUNNING ?"
I SAY, "NO, MAMA, EXERCISING."
THE GORGEOUS LADY TEACHES ME EVERYTHING
ABOUT MY COOCHIE SNORCHER.
SHE MAKES ME PLAY WITH MYSELF IN FRONT OF HER,
AND SHE TEACHES ME ALL THE DIFFERENT WAYS
TO GIVE MYSELF PLEASURE.
SHE IS VERY THOROUGH.
IN THE MORNING, I AM WORRIED I'VE BECOME A BUTCH,
BECAUSE I'M SO IN LOVE WITH HER.
SHE LAUGHS, BUT I NEVER SEE HER AGAIN.
YOU KNOW, I REALIZED LATER,
SHE WAS MY SURPRISING, UNEXPECTED,
SHE TRANSFORMED MY SORRY-ASS COOCHIE SNORCHER
AND RAISED IT UP
INTO A KIND OF HEAVEN.
( applause )
( Ensler ) IN 1993, I SAW THIS INCREDIBLE PICTURE
ON THE COVER OF "NEWSDAY".
IT WAS A PICTURE OF SIX YOUNG BOSNIAN GIRLS
WHO HAD JUST BEEN RETURNED FROM A RAPE CAMP
IN THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA,
AND THE PICTURE WAS REALLY SHOCKING,
BECAUSE ON ONE LEVEL THEY LOOKED LIKE SIX YOUNG BEAUTIFUL GIRLS
IN THEIR LATE TEENS, EARLY 20s.
BUT FROM ANOTHER DIRECTION IT WAS REALLY CLEAR
THAT SOMETHING HAD JUST OCCURRED TO EACH OF THESE GIRLS
THAT HAD CHANGED THEM FOREVER.
INSIDE THE NEWSPAPER WAS ANOTHER PHOTOGRAPH,
AND THERE WERE 30 GIRLS WHO HAD BEEN RETURNED FROM A RAPE CAMP.
AND THEY WERE ALL STANDING IN A SEMI-CIRCLE,
HAVING THEIR PICTURE TAKEN,
YET NOT ONE OF THEM COULD LOOK AT THE CAMERA.
THESE PICTURES COMPLETELY HAUNTED ME,
AND WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR MY GOING TO THE FORMER YUGOSLAVIA
SEVERAL MONTHS LATER DURING THE WAR,
WHERE I SPENT MONTHS
INTERVIEWING BOSNIAN WOMEN REFUGEES IN CAMPS
AND IN CENTERS.
THEIR STORIES WERE, UH, THEY WERE HORRIBLE.
AND WHEN I CAME BACK TO THE STATES,
I FELT INSANE,
AND I COULDN'T UNDERSTAND
WHY WE WEREN'T DOING ANYTHING ABOUT THE FACT
THAT BETWEEN 20 AND 70 THOUSAND WOMEN WERE BEING RAPED
IN THE MIDDLE OF EUROPE IN 1993,
AS A SYSTEMATIC TACTIC OF WAR.
AND A FRIEND OF MINE FINALLY SAID,
"WHY ARE YOU SURPRISED ?"
IN THIS COUNTRY, IN ONE YEAR, AND I DO NOT EXAGGERATE,
IT'S A DOCUMENTED FACT.
IN THIS COUNTRY IN ONE YEAR,
OVER 700,000 WOMEN ARE RAPED.
AND IN THEORY, WE'RE NOT AT WAR.
I WROTE THIS FOR THE BRAVE, BEAUTIFUL WOMEN
OF BOSNIA AND KOSOVA.
MY VAGINA WAS GREEN WATER,
SOFT PINK FIELDS,
SUN RESTING, SWEET BOYFRIEND,
TOUCHING LIGHTLY WITH A SOFT PIECE OF BLONDE STRAW.
THERE IS SOMETHING BETWEEN MY LEGS.
I DO NOT KNOW WHAT IT IS.
I DO NOT KNOW WHERE IT IS.
, MY VAGINA WAS CHATTY, CAN'T WAIT, SO MUCH SAYING
WORDS TALKING, CAN'T QUIT TRYING,
CAN'T QUIT SAYING, "YES,
NOT SINCE I DREAM THERE'S A DEAD ANIMAL
SEWN IN DOWN THERE
WITH THICK BLACK FISHING LINE.
AND THE BAD DEAD ANIMAL SMELL CANNOT BE REMOVED.
AND ITS THROAT IS SLIT
AND IT BLEEDS THROUGH ALL MY SUMMER DRESSES.
MY VAGINA SINGING ALL GIRL SONGS,
ALL GOAT BELL RINGING SONGS,
ALL WILD AUTUMN FIELD SONGS,
VAGINA SONGS, VAGINA HOME SONGS.
NOT SINCE THE SOLDIERS
PUT A LONG, THICK RIFLE
SO COLD, THE STEEL ROD CANCELING MY HEART.
DON'T KNOW WHETHER THEY'RE GONNA FIRE IT
OR SHOVE IT THROUGH MY SPINNING BRAIN.
SIX OF THEM,
WITH BLACK MASKS SHOVING BOTTLES UP ME TOO.
THERE WERE STICKS, AND THE END OF A BROOM
MY VAGINA SWIMMING RIVER WATER, CLEAN
SPILLING WATER OVER SUN-BAKED STONES,
OVER STONE CLIT, CLIT STONES OVER AND OVER.
NOT SINCE I HEARD THE SKIN TEAR
AND MADE LEMON SCREECHING SOUNDS...
NOT SINCE A PIECE OF MY VAGINA CAME OFF IN MY HAND,
NOW ONE PART OF THE LIP,
ONE SIDE OF THE LIP IS COMPLETELY GONE.
A LIVE, WET, WATER VILLAGE.
WAS ONCE MY HOMETOWN.
NOT SINCE THEY TOOK TURNS.
THEY TOOK TURNS FOR SEVEN DAYS
SMELLING LIKE FECES AND SMOKED MEAT.
THEY LEFT THEIR DIRTY SPERM INSIDE ME.
AND I BECAME A RIVER OF POISON AND PUS,
AND ALL THE CROPS DIED
AND THE FISH.
A LIVE, WET, WATER VILLAGE.
THEY INVADED IT.
THEY BUTCHERED IT
AND BURNED IT DOWN
I DO NOT TOUCH NOW
I DO NOT VISIT
I LIVE SOMEPLACE ELSE NOW.
I DON'T KNOW WHERE THAT IS.
HAS ANYONE EVER HURT YOUR VAGINA ?
. THE WORST THING WAS DEFINITELY BEING RAPED
AND WHEN WAS THAT ?
WHEN I WAS 14 YEARS OLD.
. THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME A MAN EVER DID ENTER MY BODY
THAT WAS WHEN YOU WERE A VIRGIN ?
SO, WHAT HAPPENED ?
UH, HE HAD CUT ME WITH HIS FINGERNAILS,
AND THEN I WALKED AROUND TRYING NOT TO PEE,
BECAUSE IT HURT.
I EXPERIENCED A DATE RAPE IN COLLEGE.
THIS WAS A VERY CLOSE FRIEND FROM HIGH SCHOOL,
AND HE ONE TIME WAS STAYING OVER
AND WOKE ME UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT,
AND RIPPED OFF MY UNDERWEAR,
STUFFED UNDERWEAR IN MY MOUTH,
PINNED MY KNEES DOWN WITH HIS KNEES
AND RAPED ME.
I WAS WALKING HOME FROM MY FRIEND'S HOUSE
AND AN OLDER MAN CAME UP BEHIND ME
AND PUT HIS HAND OVER MY MOUTH,
AND SHOVED HIS OTHER HAND IN MY BACK
AND SAID, "DON'T SCREAM OR I'LL KILL YOU."
HE BEAT ME AND HE KNIFED ME
AND HE RAPED ME.
. AND HE TRIED TO KILL ME
IT WAS SUCH AN EMOTIONAL INJURY,
THAT DISTORTS YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT YOUR WOMANHOOD,
IT TOOK A LONG, LONG, LONG TIME TO TRUST ANYONE,
AND TO MAKE REALLY MYSELF FEEL THAT IT WAS NOT MY FAULT.
AND THANK GOD I DIDN'T CATCH ANYTHING BEHIND IT.
I WAS HURT MORE THAN MY VAGINA.
MY VAGINA'S ANGRY !
IT IS !
IT'S PISSED OFF !
MY VAGINA IS FURIOUS.
AND IT NEEDS TO TALK.
IT NEEDS TO TALK ABOUT ALL THIS SHIT
. AND IT NEEDS TO TALK TO YOU
I MEAN, WHAT IS THE DEAL ?
AN ARMY OF PEOPLE OUT THERE THINKING UP WAYS
TO TORTURE MY POOR-ASS , GENTLE, LOVING VAGINA.
SPENDING THEIR DAYS CONSTRUCTING PSYCHO PRODUCTS
. AND NASTY IDEAS TO UNDERMINE MY PUSSY
VAGINA MOTHERFUCKERS !
ALL THIS SHIT THEY'RE CONSTANTLY TRYING TO SHOVE UP US.
SHOVE UP US, STUFF US UP, AND MAKE US GO AWAY.
. WELL, MY VAGINA'S NOT GOING AWAY
IT'S PISSED OFF AND IT'S STAYING RIGHT HERE.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOUR VAGINA'S EVER BEEN ANGRY AT ?
EVER BEEN ANGRY AT ?
YES, AGAIN IT ALL HAS TO DO WITH THE...
WHEN IT'S NOT READY.
WHEN IT HASN'T BEEN, UM...
WHEN IT HASN'T BEEN NURTURED.
LET'S JUST BEGIN WITH TAMPONS.
? WHAT THE HELL IS THAT
( audience laughing )
A DRY WAD OF FUCKING COTTON STUFFED UP THERE.
WHY CAN'T THEY FIND A WAY
TO SUBTLY LUBRICATE THE TAMPON ?
AS SOON AS MY VAGINA SEES IT, IT GOES INTO SHOCK !
IT CLOSES UP.
IT SAYS, "FORGET IT."
YOU HAVE TO WORK WITH THE VAGINA,
INTRODUCE IT TO THINGS
PREPARE THE WAY.
THAT'S WHAT FOREPLAY'S ALL ABOUT.
YOU'VE GOT TO CONVINCE MY VAGINA,
SEDUCE MY VAGINA,
ENGAGE MY VAGINA'S TRUST.
YOU CAN'T DO THAT
WITH A DRY WAD OF FUCKING COTTON!
YOU PROBABLY DON'T REMEMBER, BUT THEY USED TO HAVE, UH,
ELASTIC BELTS WITH LITTLE HOOKS AND THEY HANDED YOU A PAD
THAT WAS LIKE THICK ENOUGH
FOR BARBIE TO USE AS A RAFT, YOU KNOW ?
IT WAS LIKE GIGANTIC.
I REMEMBER WHEN I WAS,
AFTER I'D STARTED MY PERIOD,
SPENDING A SUMMER TRYING TO FIGURE OUT
HOW TO PUT A TAMPON IN.
AND I REMEMBER SORT OF SQUATTING OVER A MIRROR,
FOR DAYS AND DAYS AND DAYS TRYING TO FIND THE WAY IN.
STOP SHOVING THINGS UP ME !
STOP SHOVING AND STOP CLEANING IT UP.
MY VAGINA DOESN'T NEED TO BE CLEANED UP.
. IT SMELLS GOOD ALREADY
DON'T TRY TO DECORATE.
DON'T BELIEVE HIM WHEN HE TELLS YOU
IT SMELLS LIKE ROSE PETALS,
WHEN IT'S SUPPOSED TO SMELL LIKE PUSSY.
THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE DOING, YOU KNOW, TRYING TO CLEAN IT UP,
MAKE IT SMELL LIKE A BATHROOM SPRAY OR A GARDEN.
ALL THOSE DOUCHE SPRAYS.
FLORAL, BERRY, RAIN.
I DON'T WANT MY PUSSY TO SMELL LIKE RAIN !
. ALL CLEANED UP LIKE WASHING A FISH AFTER YOU'VE COOKED IT
I WANNA TASTE THE FISH !
THAT'S WHY I ORDERED IT !
YOU HEARD THE JOKE ABOUT "GOOD EVENING, LADIES" ?
, OH, WELL, IT'S A JOKE THAT GOES
"A BLIND MAN PASSED THE FISH MARKET
AND HE SAYS, "GOOD EVENING, LADIES !"
MY FIANCE SAYS IT'S LIKE POTPOURRI AND ROSES.
THAT'S LIKE DOUCHING WITH LIKE...
FABRIC FRESH OR GLAD OR WHATEVER.
THE THING YOU GET LIKE ALL FREAKED OUT,
BECAUSE THERE' S ALL THESE WARNINGS
ABOUT THE ODOR, AND THEN THE ODOR SHOWS UP,
AND YOU'RE LIKE, OH, MY GOD, WHAT'S GOING ON ?
AND THEN YOU REALIZE IT'S NORMAL.
THEN THERE'S THOSE EXAMS.
WHO THOUGHT UP THOSE EXAMS ?
. I KNOW THERE HAS TO BE A BETTER WAY
WHY THE SCARY PAPER DRESS THAT SCRATCHES YOUR TITS ?
? WHY THE FUNKY RUBBER GLOVES
WHY THE FLASHLIGHT ALL UP THERE,
LIKE NANCY DREW WORKING AGAINST GRAVITY ?
WHY THE NAZI STEEL STIRRUPS ?
WHY THE MEAN, COLD DUCK LIPS THEY SHOVE INSIDE YOU ?
! WHAT IS THAT ?
. MY VAGINA IS FURIOUS ABOUT THESE VISITS
IT GETS DEFENDED WEEKS IN ADVANCE,
IT WON'T GO OU T OF THE HOUSE.
, THEN YOU GET THERE
DON'T YOU LOVE THAT ?
. "RELAX YOUR VAGINA
RELAX, COME ON, SCOOT DOWN, SCOOT DOWN, RELAX YOUR VAGINA."
MY VAGINA'S NOT STUPID.
YOU'RE ABOUT TO SHOVE MEAN , COLD DUCK LIPS UP INSIDE IT !
. IT'S JUST HORRIBLE
FIRST THING, THE ROOM IS ALWAYS VERY COLD.
YOU KNOW, YOU'RE SITTING THERE,
. SPREADING YOUR LEGS, IT'S JUST HORRIBLE
WHAT THEY CALL A SPECULUM, OR WHATEVER THAT THING IS ?
I CAN'T STAND IT,
EVEN WHEN THAT LITTLE BRUSH THING FOR THE PAP SMEAR GOES IN THERE,
IT MAKES ME CRINGE
AND THEY'RE LIKE, "OH, DOES THIS HURT WHEN I SQUEEZE HERE ?"
YOU'RE SQUEEZING MY VAGINA, IT'S NOT A COMFORTABLE FEELING.
WHY CAN'T THEY FIND SOME NICE, DELICIOUS PURPLE VELVET
AND WRAP IT AROUND ME,
LAY ME DOWN IN SOME FEATHERY COTTON SPREAD
PUT ON SOME FRIENDLY PINK OR BLUE GLOVES,
AND REST MY FEET IN SOME FUR-COVERED STIRRUPS ?
WARM UP THE DUCK LIPS !
WORK WITH MY VAGINA !
! BUT NO, MORE TORTURES!
DRY WAD OF FUCKING COTTON,
COLD DUCK LIPS
THONG UNDERWEAR !
. THAT SHIT IS THE WORST
IT IS THE WORST.
IT MOVES AROUND ALL THE TIME.
IT GETS STUCK IN THE BACK OF YOUR VAGINA,
REAL CRUSTY BUTT.
THE VAGINA IS SUPPOSED TO BE LOOSE AND WIDE,
NOT HELD TOGETHER.
THAT'S WHY GIRDLES ARE SO BAD.
WE NEED TO MOVE
AND SPREAD AND TALK.
VAGINAS NEED TO TALK.
WHY DON'T THEY MAKE SOMETHING COMFORTABLE,
? SOMETHING TO GIVE THEM PLEASURE
. OF COURSE THEY WON'T DO THAT
THEY HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE, HATE
TO SEE A WOMAN HAVING PLEASURE.
PARTICULARLY SEXUAL PLEASURE.
I SAY, MAKE A NICE PAIR OF WHITE COTTON UNDERPANTS
WITH A FRENCH TICKLER BUILT IN.
THAT'S RIGHT, THAT'S RIGHT.
WOMEN WOULD BE COMING ALL DAY.
COMING IN THE SUPERMARKETS.
"GIVE ME THE JUICE."
THEY WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO STAND IT.
SEEING ALL THESE ENERGIZED, NOT-TAKING-SHIT,
HOT, HAPPY VAGINAS COMING DOWN THE STREET.
IF MY VAGINA COULD TALK...
IT WOULD TALK ABOUT ITSELF LIKE ME.
. IT WOULD TALK ABOUT OTHER FABULOUS VAGINAS
IT WOULD DO VAGINA IMPRESSIONS.
IT WOULD WEAR HARRY WINSTON DIAMONDS,
JUST THERE, ALL DRAPED IN THE DIAMONDS.
MY VAGINA HELPED RELEASE A GIANT BABY.
IT THOUGHT IT WOULD BE DOING MORE OF THAT.
NOW IT WANTS TO TRAVEL.
IT DOES NOT WANT A LOT OF COMPANY.
IT WANTS TO READ AND KNOW THINGS AND GET OUT MORE.
IT WANTS SEX.
IT LOVES SEX.
IT WANTS TO GO DEEPER.
IT'S HUNGRY FOR DEPTH.
IT WANTS KINDNESS.
IT WANTS CHANGE.
IT WANTS SILENCE AND FREEDOM
AND GENTLE KISSES AND WARM LIQUIDS
AND DEEP TOUCH.
. IT WANTS CHOCOLATE
. IT WANTS TO SCREAM
IT WANTS TO STOP BEING ANGRY !
IT WANTS TO COME.
IT WANTS TO WANT.
MY VAGINA, IT WANTS,
IT WANTS EVERYTHING.
( applause )
( Ensler ) I INTERVIEWED A WHOLE GROUP OF SEX WORKERS,
AND OBVIOUSLY WOMEN WHO DO SEX WORK
HAVE RICH, COMPELLING,
COMPLEX RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEIR VAGINAS.
THIS PARTICULAR WOMAN BLEW MY MIND.
SHE WAS A SEX WORKER, BUT SHE ONLY DID SEX WORK WITH WOMEN.
YOU KNOW WHEN YOU GO OUT WITH SOMEONE
AND YOU THINK THEY'RE IN THE SAME ZONE AS YOU
AND FIVE MINUTES INTO THE CONVERSATION YOU'RE LIKE,
"OH, MY GOD !"
THAT'S WHAT IT WAS LIKE WITH THIS WOMAN.
YOU KNOW, YOU TRY TO BE HIP.
MEANWHILE YOUR HEAD'S BEING BLOWN OFF,
YOU JUST HOPE YOUR SCARF WILL CONCEAL IT.
I WROTE THIS FOR HER.
. I LOVE VAGINAS
I LOVE WOMEN.
I DO NOT SEE THEM AS SEPARATE THINGS.
WOMEN PAY ME TO DOMINATE THEM,
TO EXCITE THEM,
TO MAKE THEM COME.
I DID NOT START OUT LIKE THIS.
NO, TO THE CONTRARY...
I STARTED OUT AS A LAWYER.
BUT IN MY LATE 30s
I BECAME OBSESSED WITH MAKING WOMEN HAPPY.
IT BEGAN AS A MISSION OF SORTS,
BUT THEN I GOT INVOLVED IN IT.
I GOT VERY GOOD AT IT, KIND OF BRILLIANT.
YOU COULD SAY I FOUND MY CALLING.
I STARTED GETTING PAID FOR IT.
. I WORE OUTRAGEOUS OUTFITS WHEN I DOMINATED WOMEN
I USED PROPS...
THERE WAS NOTHING LIKE THIS IN TAX LAW.
THERE WAS NO PROPS , NO EXCITEMENT,
AND I HATED THOSE BLUE CORPORATE SUITS,
ALTHOUGH I HAVE TO TELL YOU,
I WEAR THEM NOW IN MY NEW LINE OF WORK,
. AND THEY FIT IN NICELY
CONTEXT IS EVERYTHING.
THERE WAS NO WETNESS.
THERE WAS NO DARK, MYSTERIOUS FOREPLAY.
NO ERECT NIPPLES.
NO DELICIOUS MOUTHS,
BUT MAINLY THERE WAS NO MOANING.
NOT THE KIND I'M TALKING ABOUT ANYWAY.
I SEE NOW THAT MOANING WAS THE KEY.
IT WAS THE THING THAT ULTIMATELY SEDUCED ME
AND GOT ME ADDICTED TO MAKING WOMEN HAPPY.
I MADE LOVE TO QUIET WOMEN, OKAY ?
I FOUND A PLACE INSIDE THEM,
THEY SHOCKED THEMSELVES IN THEIR MOANING.
I MADE LOVE TO MOANERS AND THEY FOUND A DEEPER,
MORE PENETRATING MOAN.
I BECAME OBSESSED, I LONGED TO BE IN CHARGE,
LIKE A BANDLEADER OR A CONDUCTOR.
IT WAS A KIND OF SURGERY, A KIND OF DELICATE SCIENCE
FINDING THE EXACT LOCATION OR HOME OF THE MOAN.
THAT'S WHAT I CALLED IT.
SOMETIMES I FOUND IT OVER A WOMAN'S JEANS.
SOMETIMES I SNUCK UP ON IT, OFF THE RECORD,
QUIETLY DISARMING THE SURROUNDING ALARMS
AND MOVING IN.
SOMETIMES I USED FORCE
BUT NOT VIOLENT, OPPRESSING FORCE, NO.
MORE LIKE DOMINATING,
"I'M GONNA TAKE YOU SOMEPLACE,
WHY DON'T YOU LAY BACK, ENJOY THE RIDE" KIND OF FORCE.
SOMETIMES IT WAS SIMPLY MUNDANE.
I FOUND THE MOAN BEFORE THINGS EVEN STARTED,
WHILE WE WERE EATING CHICKEN OR SALAD IN THE KITCHEN,
RIGHT THERE, WITH MY FINGERS ALL MIXED IN
WITH THE BALSAMIC VINEGAR.
SOMETIMES I USED PROPS, I LOVE PROPS.
I MADE THE WOMAN FIND HER OWN MOAN
IN FRONT OF ME
I STUCK IT OUT UNTIL SHE OPENED HERSELF.
I WAS NOT FOOLED BY THOSE MINOR, MORE OBVIOUS MOANS.
I PUSHED HER FURTHER,
ALL THE WAY
INTO HER POWER MOAN.
THERE'S THE CLIT MOAN.
EH, EH, EH...
THE VAGINAL MOAN.
OH, OH, OH...
THE COMBO CLIT-VAGINAL MOAN.
EH-OH, EH-OH, EH-OH...
THE ALMOST MOAN.
. THE ON-IT MOAN
THE ELEGANT MOAN.
( laughing )
THE GRACE SLICK MOAN.
( high-pitched moan )
THE WASP MOAN.
( no sound )
THE SEMI-RELIGIOUS MOAN.
OY, OY, OY...
THE MOUNTAINTOP MOAN.
( yodeling )
THE BABY MOAN.
OH-AH, OH-AH, OH-AH...
. THE DOGGY MOAN
( fast panting )
THE SOUTHERN MOAN.
YEA, YEA, YEA !
THE MILITANT, UNINHIBITED BISEXUAL MOAN.
HO, HO, HO, HO !
THE MACHINE-GUN MOAN.
( machine-gun sounds )
THE TORTURED ZEN MOAN.
AH, OH, AH...
THE DIVA MOAN.
! AHHHHHH ! AHHHHHH
THE SURPRISE TRIPLE-ORGASM MOAN.
OH, GOD, THAT'S REALLY GOOD, DON'T STOP.
THAT'S, OH, THAT'S IT, THAT'S IT, THAT'S IT--
OH, THAT'S IT.
OH, MY GOD, OH, THAT'S REALLY GOOD, OH, THAT'S, OH MY GOD !
( continuous moaning )
( applause )
? CAN YOU BELIEVE WE'RE DOING THIS ON HBO
. ORGASMS ON HBO , I'M SO EXCITED
I'VE BEEN COLLECTING VAGINA FACT S FOR QUITE SOME TIME,
AND I HAVE TO TELL YOU,
I'VE BEEN HARD-PRESSED TO FIND A HAPPY VAGINA FACT.
I FOUND THIS ONE AND NOW I THINK I LIVE TO TELL IT.
THE CLITORIS IS PURE IN PURPOSE.
IT IS THE ONLY ORGAN IN THE MALE OR FEMALE BODY
DESIGNED SOLELY FOR PLEASURE.
THE CLITORIS IS SIMPLY A BUNDLE OF NERVES,
8,000 NERVE FIBERS , TO BE PRECISE.
THAT IS A HIGHER CONCENTRATION OF NERVE FIBERS
THAN IS FOUND ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE BODY,
INCLUDING THE FINGERTIPS,
LIPS, AND TONGUE.
AND IT IS TWICE...
THE NUMBER IN THE PENIS.
( cheering and applause )
DO YOU WAN T TO GO FIRST ?
YOU GO FIRST, LET'S SEE.
UH, YOU GO FIRST.
YOU GO FIRST.
OKAY, FIRST I FEEL IT IN MY HEAD.
BEFORE I FEEL IT ANYWHERE ELSE.
I DO, I FEEL IT LIKE RIGHT HERE IN MY HEAD.
AND THEN IT LIKE TRAVELS DOWN,
AND IT'S THE MOST INCREDIBLE SENSATION.
I SCREAM AND I YELL, AND I SAY, YOU KNOW...
"MORE, IT'S GOOD."
I HAVE TO SQUEEZE ALL MY MUSCLES,
PRETTY MUCH, IT'S LIKE EVERY SINGLE MUSCLE IN MY BODY.
YEAH, I START BREATHING HEAVIER, AND HONESTLY,
YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE GOING TO EXPLODE.
YOU KIND OF LOSE YOUR MIND FOR A LITTLE BIT,
YOU JUST KIND OF GO CRAZY.
IT'S SORT OF AN ERUPTIVE STATE,
IT'S A RISING, IGNITED STATE.
IT CAN BE KIND OF A BOOM, OR IT CAN BE SOFT.
AH, AH !
IT'S JUST LIKE, WHEW.
OH, OH !
I'D BEEN PERFORMING THIS PIECE FOR QUITE SOME TIME,
AND I DIDN'T HAVE ONE MONOLOGUE IN IT ABOUT BIRTH,
WHICH WAS A BIZARRE OMISSION,
ALTHOUGH RECENTLY I WAS INTERVIEWED
BY A MALE JOURNALIST, AND HE SAID,
"REALLY, WHAT'S THE CONNECTION ?"
( laughing )
MY HUSBAND WAS THERE, AND THE DOCTOR WAS THERE,
AND THE NURSE, AND MY SISTER,
AND THEY WERE HOLDING MY LEGS AND TELLING ME TO PUSH...
WHEN THEY SAID,
"OH, WE CAN SEE THE HEAD, ONE BIG PUSH
AND YOU COULD PUSH THAT BABY OUT,"
AND THERE'S THIS SORT OF BONE CRACKING, YOU KNOW,
I FELT THIS VERY STRANGE SENSATION
OF LIKE SOMETHING SWIMMING THROUGH MY BODY.
AND I REALIZED, OH, MY GOD,
HE'S COMING OUT, HE'S COMING OUT.
SO, I JUST KEPT PUSHING HARDER.
AND THEN FINALLY THERE HE WAS, UPSIDE DOWN,
HANGING BY HIS LEGS, AND HE WAS OKAY.
IT'S SO, I CAN'T WAIT 'TIL YOU EXPERIENCE IT.
I KNOW YOU CAN'T.
I CANNOT WAIT.
IT'S SO WONDERFUL.
I CAN'T WAIT.
IT'S THE BEST THING EVER.
OVER THE COURSE OF WRITING THE MONOLOGUES,
MY DAUGHTER-IN-LAW GOT PREGNANT,
AND SHE AND MY SON INVITED ME TO BE THERE
FOR THE BIRTH OF MY GRANDDAUGHTER.
AND I HAVE TO TELL YOU,
IF I WAS IN AWE OF VAGINAS BEFORE THIS MOMENT,
I'M IN DEEP WORSHIP NOW.
I WROTE THIS FOR MY DAUGHTER-IN-LAW, SHIVA,
AND MY GRANDDAUGHTER COCO.
I WAS THERE
. WHEN HER VAGINA OPENED
WE WERE ALL THERE...
HER MOTHER, HER HUSBAND AND I,
AND THE NURSE FROM THE UKRAINE
WITH HER WHOLE HAND UP THERE, IN HER VAGINA,
FEELING AND TURNIN G WITH HER RUBBER GLOVE,
AS SHE TALKED CASUALLY TO US,
. LIKE SHE WAS TURNING ON A LOADED FAUCET
I WAS THERE IN THE ROOM WHEN THE CONTRACTIONS
MADE HER CRAWL ON ALL FOURS,
MADE UNFAMILIAR MOANS LEAK OUT OF HER PORES.
AND STILL THERE, AFTER HOURS,
WHEN SHE JUST SCREAMED, SUDDENLY WILD,
HER ARMS STRIKING AT THE ELECTRIC AIR.
I WAS THERE WHEN HER VAGINA CHANGED...
FROM A SHY, SEXUAL HOLE
TO AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL TUNNEL,
A SACRED VESSEL,
A VENETIAN CANAL,
A DEEP WELL WITH A TINY STUCK CHILD INSIDE,
WAITING TO BE RESCUED.
I SAW THE COLORS OF HER VAGINA.
SAW THE BRUISED BROKEN BLUE,
THE BLISTERING TOMATO RED,
THE GRAY-PINK, THE DARK,
SAW THE BLOOD-LIKE PERSPIRATION ALONG THE EDGES,
SAW THE YELLOW, WHITE LIQUID,
THE SHIT, THE CLOTS PUSHING OUT ALL THE HOLES,
PUSHING HARDER AND HARDER,
SAW THROUGH THE HOLE,
THE BABY'S HEAD.
SCRATCHES OF BLACK HAIR,
SAW IT JUST THERE,
BEHIND THE BONE.
LIKE A HARD, ROUND MEMORY,
AS THE NURSE FROM THE UKRAINE
KEPT TURNING AND TURNING HER SLIPPERY HAND.
I WAS THERE WHEN EACH OF US,
HER MOTHER AND I,
HELD A LEG AND SPREAD HER WIDE,
PUSHING WITH ALL OUR STRENGTH AGAINST HER PUSHING,
AS HER HUSBAND STERNLY COUNTING,
"ONE, TWO, THREE,"
TELLING HER, "FOCUS, FOCUS HARDER."
WE LOOKED INTO HER THEN.
WE COULDN'T GET OUR EYES
OUT OF THAT PLACE.
WE FORGET THE VAGINA,
ALL OF US.
WHAT ELSE WOULD EXPLAIN OUR LACK OF AWE,
OUR LACK OF REVERENCE ?
I WAS THERE WHEN THE DOCTOR REACHED IN
WITH ALICE IN WONDERLAND SPOONS
AND THERE AS HER VAGINA
BECAME A WIDE, OPERATIC MOUTH
SINGING WITH ALL ITS STRENGTH,
FIRST THE LITTLE HEAD,
. THEN THE GRAY FLOPPING ARM..
THEN THE FAST, SWIMMING BODY,
SWIMMING QUICKLY INTO OUR WEEPING ARMS.
I WAS THERE LATER
WHEN I JUST TURNED,
I TURNED AND I FACED HER VAGINA.
I STOOD AND I LET MYSELF SEE HER,
ALL SPREAD, COMPLETELY EXPOSED,
MUTILATED, SWOLLEN, TORN,
BLEEDING ALL OVER THE DOCTOR'S HANDS,
WHO WAS CALMLY SEWING HER THERE.
AND AS I STARED,
HER VAGINA SUDDENLY BECAME
A WIDE, RED,
THE HEART IS CAPABLE OF SACRIFICE.
SO IS THE VAGINA.
. THE HEART IS ABLE TO FORGIVE AND REPAIR
. IT CAN CHANGE ITS SHAPE TO LET US IN
IT CAN EXPAND TO LET US OUT.
SO CAN THE VAGINA.
IT CAN ACHE FOR US AND STRETCH FOR US,
AND DIE FOR US.
AND BLEED AND BLEED US INTO THIS DIFFICULT...
SO CAN THE VAGINA.
I WAS THERE IN THE ROOM.
( applause )
( cheering )
WELL, I DIDN'T REALLY WANT TO SHOW VAGINAS...
IN THIS MOVIE.
I KIND OF RESISTED IT,
BUT HBO, REALLY WOULDN'T BE AN HBO MOVIE,
WITHOUT SHOWING A VAGINA.
SO, HERE WE GO, HERE WE GO.
OKAY, WE'RE DONE.Donated by SergeiK