The rest of her

Feb 15, 2006 at 12:00 am

Everyone knows her as the Vagina Monologues lady. She's Eve Ensler, and all it took was a one-woman show about the female nether regions to set the theater world on its head. Since the play debuted in 1996, countless independent and community theater productions have made the once-controversial production a household name: It's official, the vagina is a beautiful thing. But what about the rest of a woman's body?

Ensler's latest offering, The Good Body, is yet another attempt to shatter misconceptions while addressing the very real problems women face. In the same laugh-to-keep-from-cryin' approach, The Good Body addresses everything from the pain of Botox injections to life beneath the shroud of a burqa. No topic is too sacred: The Good Body takes on society, religion, socioeconomics, self-loathing and the post-40 physique.

Through a series of vignettes, Ensler adopts such roles as a teenager at fat camp, a bride transformed by her plastic-surgeon husband, and Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown.

In the preface to The Good Body, Ensler explains the impetus behind it:

The Good Body began with me and my particular obsession with my "imperfect" stomach. I have charted this self-hatred, recorded it, tried to follow it back to its source. Here, unlike the women in The Vagina Monologues, I am my own victim, my own perpetrator. Of course, the tools of my self-victimization have been made readily available. The pattern of the perfect body has been programmed into me since birth. But whatever the cultural influences and pressures, my preoccupation with my flab, my constant dieting, exercising, worrying, is self-imposed. I pick up the magazines. I buy into the ideal. I believe that blond, flat girls have the secret. What is far more frightening than narcissism is the zeal for self-mutilation that is spreading, infecting the world.


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Eve Doster is the lisings editor for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected]