On this day when many of us find ourselves worrying about getting restaurant reservations and that “just right” gift (or worrying about not needing reservations and a gift…), playwright and activist Eve Ensler is asking us all to take a moment to stand up and advocate for an end to violence against women.
Ensler started V-Day in 1998 after audience members approached her after every performance of her 1994 play The Vagina Monologues to tell her about their own experiences of surviving violence. Inspired by this outpouring of stories, Ensler began to encourage groups around the world to stage performances of the Vagina Monologues once a year, allowing the groups to keep their proceeds to further the cause of preventing violence against girls and women. Thus V-Day was born, and it has since raised $90 million to fund violence prevention programs worldwide.
This year marks V-Day’s 15th anniversary, and the V-Day organizers are looking to make a big statement by staging the One Billion Rising initiative, a global action in which organizers hope that one billion people across the world will get up and dance to show support for women and girls everywhere.
The One Billion Rising and V-Day websites have plenty of information about how you can be involved, whether by joining in a local event, staging your own event, and by spreading the word via social networks.
To commemorate V-Day in the best Eleventh Stack fashion, I offer this short list of great recent titles for all ages that have significant feminist content, courtesy of the Amelia Bloomer Project*:
King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the Inspiring Story of How She Changed an African Village, Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman(Doubleday 2012). The charming real-life fairy tale of an American secretary who discovers she has been chosen king of an impoverished fishing village on the west coast of Africa.
In the Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps It Up, Monica Kulling (Tundra, 2011). Recounts the life of Margaret Knight, eventual holder of twenty patents, who fought discrimination and proved that she was just as intelligent an inventor as a man.
Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond, Lily Ledbetter and Lanier Scott Isom (Crown Archetype, 2012). The inspiring story of the woman at the center of the historic discrimination case that inspired the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act–her fight for equal rights in the workplace, and how her determination became a victory for the nation.
Heart on Fire: Susan B Anthony Votes for President, Ann Malaspina (Albert Whitman and Co., 2012). Recounts the suffragist Susan B. Anthony’s first trip to the ballot box on November 5, 1872, her subsequent arrest, and trial.
Summer of the Mariposas, Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Tu Books, 2012). In an adventure reminiscent of Homer’s Odyssey, fifteen-year-old Odilia and her four younger sisters embark on a journey to return a dead man to his family in Mexico, aided by La Llorona, but impeded by a witch, a warlock, chupacabras, and more.
There are plenty more where those came from; to see the full list, check in with the Amelia Bloomer Project website.
What’s that, you say you’ve already read all of those? Then you’re ready for the Association of College and Research Libraries’ Women’s and Gender Studies excellent Core Books list on Librarything.
Happy V Day!
*The Amelia Bloomer Project creates an annual booklist of feminist books for young readers, age birth to 18. They are part of the American Library Association‘s Social Responsibilities Roundtable, Feminist Task Force.