I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World

( 33 )

Overview

In this daring book, internationally acclaimed author and playwright Eve Ensler offers fictional monologues and stories inspired by girls around the globe. Fierce, tender, and smart, I Am an Emotional Creature is a celebration of the authentic voice inside every girl and an inspiring call to action for girls everywhere to speak up, follow their dreams, and become the women they were always meant to be.

 
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Overview

In this daring book, internationally acclaimed author and playwright Eve Ensler offers fictional monologues and stories inspired by girls around the globe. Fierce, tender, and smart, I Am an Emotional Creature is a celebration of the authentic voice inside every girl and an inspiring call to action for girls everywhere to speak up, follow their dreams, and become the women they were always meant to be.

 
This paperback edition features new material about starting a discussion group based on the book.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A searing look at the inner lives of young females . . . a potent call to girls to honor their emotions and to readers of all ages to uphold human rights at every level, from the boardroom to the bedroom.”—Booklist (starred review)

“Powerful.”—Los Angeles Times

“Leave it to Eve Ensler to get it right.”—Bust magazine
 
“The emotions are raw and intense. [Ensler’s] writing is very conversational, which gives the stories power.”—The Roanoke Times
 
“Provocative . . . inspiring.”—Associated Press

Publishers Weekly
Ensler's groundbreaking play The Vagina Monologues sought to start a revolution in the way women related to their bodies and their sexuality; in her latest, the author and activist seeks to do the same for teenage girls-empowering them by giving voice and value to their feelings, opinions and struggles, and teaching them to do the same for themselves. This series of monologues from teenage girls all over the world includes poetry, blog entries, anecdotes and conversations covering topics as familiar as anorexia and peer pressure, and as hard to face as sexual slavery and institutional oppression. The collection shines when dealing with more serious material (arranged marriages, genital mutilation), but those powerful pieces unintentionally overshadow the more common concerns of girls struggling to fit in or cope with the popular crowd. As such, the average American teenager should gain a good bit of perspective, though less than Ensler would like about the legitimacy of her everyday experience.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812970166
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/25/2011
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 157,276
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Eve Ensler

Eve Ensler is an internationally bestselling author and an acclaimed playwright whose works for the stage include The Vagina Monologues, Necessary Targets, and The Good Body. She is the author of Insecure at Last, a political memoir. Ensler is the founder of V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls. In the last decade, V-Day has raised more than $70 million for grassroots groups that work to end violence against women and girls around the world. Eve Ensler lives in Paris and New York City.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Section I

YOU TELL ME HOW TO BE A GIRL IN 2010

Questions, doubt, ambiguity, and dissent

have somehow become very unmasculine.

Authoritarian maniacs are

premiers, czars, and presidents.

Each one is more righteous than the next.

Each town they bomb

each human they kill

is done for “humanitarian” purposes.

People don’t own the water in their own village

and they certainly don’t own the diamonds and gold.

Millions are forced to make dinner out of garbage and dust

while Russian businessmen and movie stars

are buying 500-million-euro villas on Côte Sud.

Bees have stopped making honey.

People are drilling in all the wrong places.

The U.S., Russia, Canada, Denmark, and Norway all claim the Arctic

but none of them seem to care that the polar bears are drowning.

They are fingerprinting, photographing our licenses and teeth.

Big Brother is now in our phones, our pods, our PCs.

Not one of us feels even a little safer.

New Age mental health providers turn

out to be former war torturers with beards.

And the pope in a dress showing off his

ermine trim and cuffs

is telling everyone that

people kissing people they love is the greatest evil.

A woman running for U.S. vice president

believes in creationism

but not global warming.

Why is everyone so much more afraid of sex

than SCUD missiles?

And who decided God wasn’t into pleasure?

And if the hetero nuclear family is so great

how come everyone is fleeing it

or paying their life savings just

to sit in a room with a stranger and cry about it?

The Iraq war cost nearly $3 trillion.

I can’t even count that high

but I know

that money could have

would have

ended poverty in general

which would have canceled terrorism.

How come we have money to kill

but no money to feed or heal?

How come we have money to destroy

but no money for art and schools?

The fundamentalists now have

billion-dollar private armies.

The Taliban is back

but never went away.

Women are burned, raped, bludgeoned, sold,

starved, and buried alive

and still don’t know they are the majority.

Water is clearly nearly running out

but even in the desert where there’s serious drought

the golf courses are green and lush

and the swimming pools are full of water

for the twelve rich people who might decide to come.

Special people adopt hand-picked babies in faraway lands.

Their flights there cost more

than the babies’ parents made

this year.

Why don’t they just give it to them?

Slavery is back

but never went away.

Just ask anyone who’s been whipped

how deep the legacy.

Six million dead in the Congo

and they never made the news,

and don’t tell me it doesn’t have

to do with color

and minerals.

Poor folks are dying first

From hurricanes

Shame

Tsunamis

Radiation

Pollution

Floods

And neglect.

Rich folks

just put up fancier super-electrified gates

on their private perfect cities.

Everyone’s having “benefits”

and throwing fancy parties

with lots of swag

so the rich people feel good about giving

away the tiny little bit of the whole lot they have.

But no one really wants to change anything.

If you really want it

you have to give something up

like everything

and then those that have, wouldn’t,

and then who would they be?

And that’s too complicated

so they write checks

and keep doing the same old things.

Selling change.

Making revolution profitable.

Corporations own everything anyway

even our hippie jeans, memory cells, and rain.

Why do so many women leaders look like Margaret Thatcher

and act even meaner?

Why doesn’t anyone remember anything?

And how come rich bad people

get paid lots of money to give speeches

and poor bad people are tortured

and in prisons?

Is there anyone in charge?

Or is this whole thing spinning out until it explodes

or dissolves?

And if there is something we can do

why aren’t we doing it?

What happened to fury?

What happened to accuracy

or accountability?

What happened to not showing off your wealth?

What happened to kindness?

What happened to teenagers rebelling

instead of buying and selling?

What happened to teenagers kissing

instead of blogging and dissing?

What happened to teenagers marching

and refusing

instead of exploiting and using?

I want to touch you in real time

not find you on YouTube,

I want to walk next to you in the mountains

not friend you on Facebook.

Give me one thing I can believe in

that isn’t a brand name.

I’m lonely.

I’m scared.

Girls younger than me are giving blowjobs

in homeroom

and they don’t even know it’s sex.

They just want to be popular

and get some respect.

Most girls my age are taking pills

or not getting out of bed

or eating or starving

or getting nose jobs or implants

or getting cut

or twittering away

or covering themselves

or desperate for a way

to be awake without faking

to be alive without freaking

to be serious

to be true

to even think of loving someone

when we’re already doomed.

You tell me how to be a girl in 2010

I say let’s go for it

if it’s all coming down.

I say let’s speak it

let’s fight it

let’s right it

there’s nothing to hold on to

if it’s already gone.

They left it to us.

It sucks but it’s true.

It’s you and me baby.

LET ME IN

Suburbs, USA

Oh God. I hate it when they act like that.

“Sit down. Shut up. Stop embarrassing me. Please!”

Don’t worry!

I don’t say this out loud. God no. Only in my head. These are my friends . . . supposedly.

“Oh God. Please stop. You are so utterly immature.”

I hate it when all those people look at me.

Not like them. They’re always showing off. They’re not so sure of themselves when they’re alone. But in the posse—giddyup.

It’s hopeless. I can’t keep up. I’m always one Marc Jacobs, one Juicy Couture behind.

There’s Julie.

“Hi hi.” Kiss kiss.

She hates my guts. Look at her cruising my once-something-now-so-over boot. I wish my feet were leaves. Blow away. I bought the brown leather riding boots like you said. Even though I’m allergic to horses and I didn’t have the money. Or I should say my mother didn’t. She’s a temp secretary and sometimes for weeks doesn’t even get called. I got hysterical in the shoe store. Started hyperventilating on the floor. My mother was so embarrassed that she paid.

But then they changed right after that. Julie says riding boots are so pre-Britney. It’s all about purple UGGs. My mother will not even consider it. She doesn’t get it. She constantly jeopardizes my position. I mean she’s the reason I can’t keep up. I hate my mother and I hate these painful riding boots even more. To be honest I didn’t like them in the first place. Now I just look like a stupid girl without a pony.

Oh God, Julie just can’t stop.

“Cut it out, okay? I got the drop circle earrings like you said and the . . . Just stop checking me out.”

Don’t worry. I don’t say this out loud. Only in my head. They are my friends . . . supposedly.

Julie now hates every bit of me. It happened yesterday. I completely blew it. I was accidentally nice to Wendy Apple in front of them. I forgot and hugged her right there. I lost myself. Wendy is so out. She’s got wild hair and her family lives in this ugly house and she has the dumbest laugh. She can’t help herself and she really doesn’t care. To be honest, I sort of like Wendy. Well, I admire her. She’s pretty sarcastic and draws these amazing pictures of slutty angels who are always falling from somewhere like outer space. But it’s familiar.

Julie says she’s not like us. Well, them. Julie saw me hug Wendy and did the big eyeball roll in front of all of the posse like I was demented or pathetic and then she turned her back on me. So did they. Like her backup dancers.

So I got mad at Wendy. I shoved her a little and turned my head and told Wendy to stay away from me. She just looked at me, stared in shock like I was an alien. Then she started crying. That made me feel pretty shitty because I kind of like her a lot. But it made Julie like me again. Later Julie gave me the same kind of glitter lipstick that Beyoncé wore at the MTV music awards. Julie only used it for two weeks.

But she is suspicious. So are the others. The word is out. It’s because of my clunky boots and my tits. Well, my lack of them. Julie is stacked and that’s why all the greatest guys are after her. She and Bree rule the posse. They don’t go anywhere apart. Even to pee. I saw them go into the toilet together. They were laughing real loud and we were all wondering if it was us they were laughing at. Wendy told me they had padded bras and went all the way. That’s why the guys like them so much. But Julie is genuinely pretty and very skinny. Her stomach is totally wholly abbed and flat like Gwen Stefani’s and she’s got that “I can’t help it if I’m perfect” smile. Bree’s hair is actually a little frizzy but she’s got perfect breasts and the coolest voice all deep like Miley and she doesn’t even have to fake it. She was born like that. Bree brought me into the posse ’cause I helped her with her history exam. She definitely regrets it now. I am the contaminator. Loser-girl virus. It spreads so fast, and once you get it you’re forever dead and ugly.

Oh God. Look at them. They can’t even go to the vending machine without each other. Aren’t they happy?

I shouldn’t be telling you this. Breaking confidentiality. Totally illegal. We signed this posse agreement, really cool like

Angelina Jolie’s personal assistants do.

But sometimes I want to say:

“Grow up. Be real. Stop pretending. Leave me alone.”

Don’t worry, I don’t say this out loud. Only in my head. These are my friends . . . supposedly.

But the reason they hate Wendy Apple so much is ’cause she was one of them once. Higher up than Bree. I mean, she could have been a Julie. What Wendy did was like a revolutionary. She just gave it up. I mean, she walked away. She said it was stupid. And she told everyone their secrets. Even the ugliest and fattest girls know about their padded bras. Julie and Bree tried to sue. But the posse agreement didn’t really hold up in high school court.

I can’t believe it. Julie and Bree are all over Amber. That’s because of Amber’s older brother who Julie is suddenly dating. Amber made this happen, and so now Julie is just worshipping her. I mean, God, you would think Amber would be embarrassed. Two weeks ago Julie and Bree humiliated her in the locker room, did the posse circle in the shower when Amber was naked and we all laughed at her body.

You know Wendy wrote me a note in third period and said she wasn’t crying for herself. She said she was crying for me ’cause I started out so nice and now I am so desperate. But I’m not funny like Wendy or talented. I am so tragically in the middle. Not one outstanding characteristic. I have nothing going for me . . . but them.

Wait a minute. There’s no more room at the table. Tiffany was supposed to get there first and save me a seat. But Tiffany is sitting in between Julie and Bree.

Oh God, look at my boots—?they are so stupid. And my hair, I hate it. My mother can’t even get work as a typist. I’m just a pathetic blob of middle girl.

“Please don’t do this. Make room at the table. Tiffany, what about my seat? Don’t squeeze me out. Tiffany, stop pretending I’m not here. Oh look, look. Julie is braiding your hair. So now you’re Julie’s friend. Tiffany! Tiffany, turn around! I am here. I am not dead. What? What?”

Bree is motioning them to cut me off. They’re giving me the posse slam.

“Don’t do that. Bree, remember I helped you pass the exam? I gave you the answers and risked my ass. Listen. I don’t like these riding boots. I bought them for you. I know you were really generous to let me in because I am so utterly insignificant. I know I don’t have breasts. I’ll get the UGGs. I promise. I won’t be nice to people you hate. I’ll do whatever you want. Please. Please just let me sit down. Make room on the bench. Let me in. Let me in. Let me in!!”

Oh God. Everyone is looking. I must be really screaming. It’s in the cafeteria and not just in my head.

“Let me in. Make room on the bench.”

(Tantrum)

“I can’t do it, Julie. I can’t keep up. I will never be invited. I won’t ever get the guy. My hair is stringy and ugly and my breasts don’t exist. I am a piece of shit shit shit. Let me in. Let me in.”

(She collapses.)

(She wakes up.)

I wake up at Wendy’s. There is incense burning that smells like fruit. Apples, I think. Right. Wendy Apple. I don’t remember how I got here. Wendy is sitting next to the bed, drawing a picture of me as an angel in transition. She says I have hit bottom. And that it feels terrible now. But I am lucky it has happened so young. She says she will be my friend if I can stop worrying about being popular. She says there are others who don’t fit in and I will like them better. She says there is another world and the door is open. She says she can help.

Wendy laughs and it’s too loud. I want to be pretty. Wendy is incredibly kind. I want to be skinny. Wendy is on the outside. And I am no one. Wendy is by my bed and she is drawing my picture.

WHAT DON’T YOU LIKE ABOUT BEING A GIRL?

Girls can’t control anything

Boys can do anything they want

My brother is adored,

I am ignored

My boobs, people talking about my boobs

People assuming you can’t do something

My boobs, it all changed with my boobs

Blood, cramps, seven days

People thinking you are weak

A girl can get pregnant

You have to do your hair

You have to remove your hair

Wash and iron clothes

More chance of being raped

Have to take care of husbands and kids

Girls can’t work even though

they are educated.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Carol Gilligan Gilligan, Carol

Introduction Dear Emotional Creature

Section I

You Tell Me How to Be a Girl in 2010 3

Let Me In 10

What Don't You Like About Being a Girl? 16

Girl Fact: Three Adults You Can Trust

Bad Boys 18

What I Wish I Could Say to My Mother 21

Girl Facts: Abstinence/Teen Pregnancy

It's Not a Baby, It's a Maybe 23

What's a Good Girl? 27

Girl Fact: FGM

Don't 29

Would You Rather (I) 32

Stephanied 35

Girl Fact: Sports

Moving Toward the Hoop 38

Sophie et Apolline , or, Why French Girls Smoke 44

Things I Heard About Sex 50

I Dance (I) 52

Section II

I Build It with Stone 57

Girl Facts: Losing an Arm/Anorexia

hunger blog 61

The Joke About My Nose 64

Would You Rather (II) 68

Girl Fact: Slapped by Partners

Dear Rihanna 71

Girl Fact: Victims of Sex Trafficking

I Have 35 Minutes Before He Comes Looking for Me 75

Girl Fact: Barbie's Past

Free Barbie 82

Sky Sky Sky 87

The Wall 93

Girl Fact: Child Soldiers

A Teenage Girl's Guide to Surviving Sex Slavery 97

I Dance (II) 102

Section III

Refuser 107

Girl Fact: Child Labor

What Do You Like About Being a Girl? 114

Asking the Question 115

Would You Rather (III) 119

Things I Like About My Body 122

My Short Skirt 123

Things That Give Us Pleasure 126

Girl Fact: Less Than a Dollar a Day

Five Cows and a Calf 129

I Am an Emotional Creature 134

I Dance (III) 138

Epilogue: Manifest a to Young Women and Girls 141

Acknowledgments 145

Girl Fact Sources 147

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 33 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 34 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Makes You Think

    I have never read a book like this before. Do not be fooled by the title. This is not some sappy book. This is not touchy-feelly. This book is devastating and makes you think about your life. It makes you put things in perspective. This is not a book for the faint at heart. This book will rip you to pieces but you will not be able to put it down. There are stories from girls who are so tortured and lost and alone. There are sad and scary and true facts in this book. Basicly, if you are looking for a light-hearted book, look elsewhere. This is not the book for you. But this book is amazing and devastating and beautiful. End of story.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 4, 2011

    An Amazing read for all girls-old and young

    When I first read Vagina Monologues I was so intrigued by Eve Ensler and just had to get this book. I finally did and read it in a day, same as Vagina Monologues. This and Vagina Monologues are very empowering books for a womans mind. Just a reminder no matter who you are, what you look like, or where you come from as woman you hold a special greatness and power and never be afraid to be just who you are.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    One of the best books

    This book is one of the best books that I've read that all young girls should read. I sat down at Barnes and Noble and read the entire book in an hour and a half. The book was inspirational and spoke to me in the exact way that I was looking for. Fantastic book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2010

    Bad Relationship Help

    This book will help many people out there, that is in a bad relationship, they can learn how to help theirselves to a better life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2013

    I am an emotional creature too.

    I thought this book was very thought-provoking and life-altering personally :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2012

    Allie

    Why do you talk about rihanna she does not have to get back togather with criss brown if she doesnt want to i dont think you know the stress she is under

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