Tomorrow Eve Ensler will join women legislators in Michigan in a performance of her 1996 play “The Vagina Monologues.” This is in part response to Republican legislators who indefinitely banned two women legislators from speaking at the capitol after using the word “vagina” in debate over controversial anti-abortion measures.
According to its Facebook event page, “VAGINAS TAKE BACK THE CAPITAL,” the performance will feature “Vagina Monologues” author Eve Ensler and a host of Michigan lawmakers, including Sen. Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor), Sen. Gretchen Whitmer (D-East Lansing), Rep. Barb Byrum (D- Onondaga), Rep. Stacy Erwin Oakes (D-Saginaw), Rep. Dian Slavens (D- Canton Township), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D- Detroit), Rep. Lisa Brown (D-West Bloomfield), Rep. Vicki Barnett (D-Farmington Hills) and Rep. Joan Bauer (D-Lansing) “with more announced soon!”
It is unclear how long the women will be banned from speaking by Republican lawmakers, but it is clear that this is exactly the kind of pressure that needs to be maintained in the face of the rampant misogyny and gynophobia plaguing the Republican right.
Republicans have not yet responded to the announcement, nor are they likely until after the event.
While it may seem like simple political theater the message and the event is much more important. All across this country Republicans are conducting a unified campaign to dis-empower and silence women. These attacks are systemic and designed to strip women of the hard-won victories of the past 100 years. This is not just a reaction to abortion rights over the last forty-years, but a response to women’s incremental emancipation. Silencing women lawmakers is simply the most obvious and publicly flagrant response.
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