Putting Women Back on Top?: (Re)constituting Power and Audience in The Vagina Monologues

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2011-04-29
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Virginia Tech
Abstract

Eve Ensler's goal in writing The Vagina Monologues was to generate a dialogue regarding women's sexuality to counter the silence that pervades the patriarchal culture that they inhabit. To achieve this goal, Ensler constructs two ideologies—one grounded in patriarchy and another supposedly grounded in female agency and dialogue—to reveal the problems within the current ideology in hopes that her audience will adopt her new ideology and resolve the detrimental silence women endure. To evaluate its success, this study utilizes an eclectic approach—comprised of constitutive rhetoric, second persona, third persona, and bell hooks' rhetorical options—to determine if the play's content encourages the dialogue Ensler desires.

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Keywords
The Vagina Monologues, bell hooks, third persona, second persona, constitutive rhetoric
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