V-Day (movement)

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For the October 3, 2013 event, see One Billion Rising. For V-Day as a political campaign in Italy, see Beppe Grillo.

V-Day, February 14, is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls inspired by Eve Ensler's play, The Vagina Monologues. The movement was started in 1998 by author, playwright and activist Eve Ensler. Ensler has been quoted as saying that it was women's reactions to the play that launched V-Day.

About V-Day[edit]

In 2001, a non-profit charity, "V-Day", was incorporated with the intent of using performances of The Vagina Monologues to raise money to benefit female victims of violence and sexual abuse. Since its inception, the movement has expanded its use of art and activism to include film — most notably the documentary Until The Violence Stops (2004), readings of the compilation A Memory, Monologue, A Rant, and a Prayer, marches, and festivals such as UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS: NYC (June 2006), and the ten-year anniversary V TO THE TENTH at the Louisiana Superdome and New Orleans Arena in 2008.

Beginning in early 2001, V-Day activities expanded to a host of international activities, with V-Day hosting leadership summits for women in Afghanistan, an international gathering of activists worldwide in Rome in September 2002, launching the Karama program in the Middle East, coordinating community briefings on the missing and murdered women of Juarez, Mexico, and more. In some societies where The Vagina Monologues are not permitted V-Day events revolve around other works developed by V-Day, including the book A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer, an anthology of writings about violence against women.

V-Day included the first ever all transgender version of The Vagina Monologues in 2004, with a performance by eighteen notable transwomen under the mentoring of Jane Fonda and Andrea James of Deep Stealth Productions.[1]

In 2010, more than 5,400 V-Day events took place in over 1,500 locations in the U.S. and around the world. To date, the V-Day movement has raised over $80 million and educated millions about the issue of violence against women and the efforts to end it, crafted international educational, media and PSA campaigns, launched the Karama program in the Middle East, reopened shelters, and funded over 12,000 community-based anti-violence programs and safe houses in Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Kenya, South Dakota, Egypt and Iraq. The 'V' in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.

In 2011, V-Day and the Fondation Panzi (DRC), with support from UNICEF, opened the City of Joy, a new community for women survivors of gender violence in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). City of Joy will provide up to 180 Congolese women a year with an opportunity to benefit from group therapy; self-defense training; comprehensive sexuality education (covering HIV/AIDS, family planning); economic empowerment; storytelling; dance; theater; ecology and horticulture. Created from their vision, Congolese women will run, operate and direct City of Joy themselves.

Mission[edit]

According to www.vday.org, V-Day's vision is "a world where women live safely and freely." V-Day demands that rape, incest, battery, genital mutilation and sexual slavery end immediately and believes that "women should spend their lives creating and thriving rather than surviving or recovering from terrible atrocities".

The organization strives to unify and strengthen existing anti-violence efforts by raising money and consciousness, and to lay the groundwork for new educational, protective, and legislative endeavors throughout the world.[2]

V-Day campaigns[edit]

There are two types of V-Campaigns: The College Campaign and the Community Campaign.

Through these V-Day campaigns, local volunteers and college students produce annual benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues, A Memory, A Monologue, A Rant and A Prayer, Any One of Us: Words From Prison, screenings of the V-Day documentary Until The Violence Stops and the PBS documentary What I Want My Words to Do to You, and conduct Spotlight Campaign Teach-Ins and V-Men workshops, to raise awareness and funds for anti-violence groups within their own communities.

Each year V-Day spotlights a particular group of women who are experiencing violence with the goal of raising awareness and funds to put a worldwide media spotlight on this area and to raise funds to aide groups who are addressing it. The 2010 spotlight focuses on the women and girls of Haiti .[3]

In 2007 V-Day launched the global campaign Stop Raping Our Greatest Resource: Power To The Women and Girls of the Democratic Republic of Congo which raised worldwide awareness about the level of gender violence in the DRC and advocating for change throughout the Congo.[4]

With the support of Eve Ensler and the publicity from the V-Day campaign, One Billion Rising, a global protest campaign to end violence and promote justice and gender equality for women, was created. On the 15th anniversary of V-Day, February 14, 2012, One Billion Rising was launched. The project was founded on the striking statistic that one in every three women will experience violence against themselves at least one time in their lives. This means that over one billion women will be impacted by violence and thus the "One Billion Rising" campaign. The project urges women to walk, dance, and rise up in opposition to violence. It has reached over 140 countries including North Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, with special projects in each area dependent on local circumstances, traditions, and religions.[5]

Feminist Theory[edit]

Empowerment Many have applauded the Vagina Monologues and V-Day for its ability to make women feel empowered. The play leaves many women feeling like they can change the world and that they can make the changes in their own lives that are necessary for them to better themselves. This literary work has been said to help inspire women to heal from past violent encounters or to become leaders in their own communities.

Solidarity The movement is meant to bring women together. It is meant to help women to celebrate themselves, appreciate themselves, and to learn their self worth. V-Day provides an outlet to bring women together and to help them deal with their own issues and problems by learning from those around them. Through one unified movement, many are able to consolidate their goals and ideas and find common ground through the need for gender equality.

Standpoint Theory Standpoint theory is based on the idea that one person cannot sincerely empathize with another individual unless they have been through the same issues. The Vagina Monologues attempts to bridge the gap between individuals by providing them with in-depth details and backgrounds about one another's lives in an attempt to grow empathy for one another and to put themselves in one another's shoes.

Intersectionality This movement brings many other factors into the discussion than just gender. V-Day takes an individual's race, religion, ethnicity, culture, sexuality, social class, and gender into account. V-Day makes people aware that there are people living in certain conditions different than others and that those conditions may be more conducive to violence and oppression. Because V-Day is a global movement it is important to take all of these factors into account when organizing protests, marches, and community programs.

Criticism[edit]

V-Day has attracted considerable criticism for hijacking the occasion of Valentine's Day. Critics argue that feminists should not be admonishing people to consider rape, incest and violence on an occasion designed to celebrate love and romance.[6] Feminist Wendy McElroy stated that "V-Day embodies the same double standard and dishonesty that has characterized most feminist pronouncements for decades" and urged people to "take back Valentines Day".[7] Glenn Sacks criticised V-Day for being misandrist and for causing division between the genders, stating "Valentine's Day, which in the past symbolized the romantic bonds between men and women, has been turned into a day which further separates them."[8]

Most literary works published about the V-Day movement are critical of the movements, its ideas, and its methods. Although there seems to be more works critiquing this movement than praising it, nearly all of these critiques still include acknowledgment of the benefits that this movement has had on billions across the globe. One major critique came from Clara Eugenia Rojas in her 2005 publication "The ‘V-Day’ March in Mexico: Appropriation and Misuse of Local Women’s Activism." Following the murders of the women in Juarez, Mexico, V-Day became involved with this cause. Rojas, a local feminist activist, noted that immediately following the discovery of the bodies, there was little that she nor anyone else could do to draw attention to the injustice and need for change. After five years of local activists attempting to promote awareness about the violence, V-Day finally put a spotlight on the incident and made it a global issue. Rojas, although grateful for the global exposure to the incident, believes that V-Day came too late to make much difference and that they were involved for the wrong reasons, i.e., publicity. Rojas also critiques the movement for sidelining the local feminists who were originally attached to this incident and failing to include them in organization or implementation of the march.[9]

Another critique comes from the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community. In her article "Queerness, Disability,and The Vagina Monologues”, Kim Hall explains her critique of the V-Day movement and more specifically "The Vagina Monologues" on an exclusionary basis. Hall believes that the play excludes issues of violence against intersex individuals and perpetuates heterosexism and ableism. Since this critique has been published many of the plays advocate for the Intersex Society of North America by provided literatue on the topic at the plays and by urging the audience to donate to the cause.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Deep Stealth and V-Day 2004 Performance of Vagina Monologues". 
  2. ^ "Mission". Retrieved 2008-09-24. [dead link]
  3. ^ url=http://www.vday.org/spotlight2011
  4. ^ url=http://www.vday.org/drc
  5. ^ [1] "V-Day Column: Until the Violence Stops: V-Day Launches One Billion Rising." //V-Day Column: Until the Violence Stops: V-Day Launches One Billion Rising//. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <http://www.feminist.com/violence/vday33.html>.
  6. ^ The V-Day Chronicles | The Weekly Standard
  7. ^ Take Back Valentine's Day!
  8. ^ glennsacks.com | Valentine's Day Gift for College Students
  9. ^ The ‘V-Day’March in Mexico: Appropriation and Misuseof Local Women’s Activism.”National Women’s Studies Association Journal17:217-227
  10. ^ 79 Hall, Kim Q. 2005. “Queerness, Disability, and The Vagina Monologues.”Hypatia 20:100-119.

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