From the Publisher
Praise for Eve Ensler:
“Eve Ensler can soar to Rabelaisian heights or move us with quiet compassion. . . . She may not save the world, but what other playwrights even think of trying?”
Acclaim for The Vagina Monologues
“Spellbinding, funny, and almost unbearably moving . . . It is both a work of art and an incisive piece of cultural history, a poem and a polemic, a performance and a balm and a benediction.”
“The monologues are part of Eve Ensler’s crusade to wipe out the shame and embarrassment that many women still associate with their bodies or their sexuality. [They] are both a celebration of women’s sexuality and a condemnation of its violation.”
–The New York Times
“Women have entrusted Eve with their most intimate experiences. . . . I think readers, men as well as women, will emerge from these pages feeling more free within themselves–and about each other.”
In her solo show The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler explored women's relationships with the most tabooed part of their anatomy. In The Good Body, she delves into the wider implications of female body image, reminding us how women change and mutilate themselves to conform to societal expectations. Whether by submitting to Botox or concealing themselves under burkhas, women of all cultures feel compelled to gain acceptance. Drawing on narratives overheard in locker rooms, boardrooms, and cell blocks, Ensler's monologues expose our most repressed selves.
With The Vagina Monologues, Ensler helped women get comfortable with one (very private) part of their bodies; now she's aiming for the body as a whole. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Read an Excerpt
When I was a little girl people used to ask me, What do you want to be when you grow up? Good, I would say. I want to be good. Becoming good was harder than becoming a doctor or an astronaut or a lifeguard. There are tests to pass to become those things–you have to learn dissection or conquer gravity or practice treading water.
Becoming good was not like that. It was abstract. It felt completely out of reach. It became the only thing that mattered to me. If I could be good, everything would be all right. I would fit in. I would be popular. I would skip death and go straight to heaven. If you asked me now what this means, to be good, I still don’t know exactly.
When I was growing up in the fifties, “good” was simply what girls were supposed to be. They were good. They were pretty, perky. They had a blond Clairol wave in their hair. They wore girdles and waist cinchers and pumps. They got married. They looked married.
They waited to be given permission. They kept their legs together, even during sex.
In recent years, good girls join the Army. They climb the corporate ladder. They go to the gym. They accessorize. They wear pointy, painful shoes. They wear lipstick if they’re lesbians; they wear lipstick if they’re not. They don’t eat too much. They don’t eat at all. They stay perfect. They stay thin. I could never be good.
This feeling of badness lives in every part of my being. Call it anxiety or despair. Call it guilt or shame. It occupies me everywhere. The older, seemingly clearer and wiser I get, the more devious, globalized, and terrorist the badness becomes. I think for many of us–well, for most of us–well, maybe for all of us–there is one particular part of our body where the badness manifests itself, our thighs, our butt, our breasts, our hair, our nose, our little toe. You know what I’m talking about?
It doesn’t matter where I’ve been in the world, whether it’s Tehran where women are–smashing and remodeling their noses to looks less Iranian, or in Beijing where they are breaking their legs and adding bone to be taller, or in Dallas where they are surgically whittling their feet in order to fit into Manolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choos.
Everywhere, the women I meet generally hate one particular part of their bodies. They spend most of their lives fixing it, shrinking it. They have medicine cabinets with products devoted to transforming it. They have closets full of clothes that cover or enhance it. It’s as if they’ve been given their own little country called their body, which they get to tyrannize, clean up, or control while they lose all sight of the world.
What I can’t believe is that someone like me, a radical feminist for nearly thirty years, could spend this much time thinking about my stomach. It has become my tormentor, my distracter; it’s my most serious committed relationship. It has protruded through my clothes, my confidence, and my ability to work. I’ve tried to sedate it, educate it, embrace it, and most of all, erase it.