Eve Ensler’s work I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World, is a collection of original monologues about—and for—girls that aims to inspire them to take agency over their minds, bodies, and hearts. Our society continuously tries to mold girls by throwing images of what they should strive to be, rather than celebrate who they are. This book serves as a call to action for girls everywhere to speak up, follow their dreams, and become the women they were always meant to be.
Ensler opens the book with a “girl fact.” The first one reads, “Your left lung is smaller than your right lung to make room for your heart.” As insignificant as it may sound to some, this little random fact preempted the book nicely with imagery of how big one’s heart can be and how each and every one of these monologues were written from the heart. The many girl facts she uses throughout the book touch on various topics such as eating disorders, child slavery, and prostitution. The statistics she uses are mind blowing and really put the issues into perspective to help make people aware of what is happening around us.
Many of us are unaware of what is occurring around the world. We live in our comfort zone where we feel that buying the latest trend or deciding what nail polish color to use next is our biggest worry, when in reality there is so much out there we are blind to. Ensler brings to light many of the ideas and issues that are prominent in society through the voices of other young women and girls around the world. She combines all of their stories to show us what is happening and gives each of them a voice.
The monologues throughout the book are amazing. They’re inspirational and easy to identify with. We all remember that awkward stage in our lives when we felt that no one else understood what we were going through. This book dives into that part of us that can finally sigh with relief and say, “I was not the only one.” These monologues were inspired by girls around the world who live miles and miles away but are not that different from one another. From a girl living in the suburbs speaking of the daily struggles she must undergo to fit in with the popular kids, to a girl who works twelve hours a day in a sweat shop, or another girl who miraculously survives after being kept as a sex slave, Ensler finds a way to connect the daily struggles of each of them.
Ensler ties the book together with her own monologue, Manifesta to Young Women and Girls, which is truly inspirational. She outlines what society wants young women and girls to think is expected of them, as well as a little note she has for them. This particular piece has caused some controversy because many say Ensler is telling girls what they should be doing, rather than allowing them to make their own choices. You can decide for yourself.
This book is a great read for anyone, regardless of age. It’s engaging and poignant and a great outlet for young women and girls to truly express themselves. I leave you with Manifesta to Young Women and Girls to get a feel of what this book is about.
HERE’S WHAT YOU WILL BE TOLD:
Find a man
The world is scary
Don’t go out
You are weak
Don’t care so much
They’re only animals
Don’t be so intense
Don’t cry so much
You can’t trust anyone
Don’t talk to strangers
People will take advantage of you
Close your legs
Girls aren’t good with:
Making difficult decisions
Putting things together
Being in charge.
If he rapes you, surrender,
you will get killed trying to defend yourself
Don’t travel alone
You are nothing without a man
Don’t make the first move,
wait for him to notice you
Don’t be too loud
Follow the crowd
Obey the laws
Don’t know too much
Tone it down
Find someone rich
It’s how you look that matters,
not what you think.
HERE’S WHAT I’M TELLING YOU:
Everyone’s making everything up
There is no one in charge except for those
who pretend to be
No one is coming
No one is going to
Mind-read your needs
Know your body better than you
Always fight back
Ask for it
Say you want it
Cherish your solitude
Take trains by yourself to places
you have never been
Sleep out alone under the stars
Learn how to drive a stick shift
Go so far away that you stop being afraid of
not coming back
Say no when you don’t want to do something
Say yes if your instincts are strong
even if everyone around you disagrees
Decide whether you want to be liked or admired
Decide if fitting in is more important than finding out
what you’re doing here
Believe in kissing
Fight for tenderness
Care as much as you do
Cry as much as you want
Insist the world be theater
and love the drama
Take your time
Move as fast as you do
as long as it’s your speed.
Ask yourself these questions:
Why am I whispering when I have something to say?
Why am I adding a question mark at the end
of all my sentences?
Why am I apologizing every time I express my needs?
Why am I hunching over?
Starving myself when I love food?
Pretending it doesn’t mean that much to me?
Hurting myself when I mean to scream?
Why am I waiting
You know the truth:
Sometimes it does hurt that much
Horses can feel love
Your mother wanted more than that
It’s easier to be mean than smart
But that isn’t who you are.
Eve Ensler is a feminist activist best known for her 1996 play The Vagina Monologues and who wants to empower women around the world. She is the founder of V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls. Ensler has written countless plays, books, and films which serve to celebrate womanhood and promote justice and gender equality for women. Some of her works include, Insecure at Last: Losing It in Our Security Obsessed World, Vagina Warriors, and In the Body of the World: A Memoir.