Women legislators in Michigan will be joined by author Eve Ensler in a performance of Ensler’s 1996 play, “The Vagina Monologues,” on Monday, June 18, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The event is intended as a public response to Republican legislators, who, on Wednesday, indefinitely banned two Democratic women legislators from speaking in the Capitol. Their offense? Using the word “vagina.”
State Rep. Lisa Brown (D-West Bloomfield) took to the house floor to protest Michigan’s new, draconian anti-abortion law. “I have not asked you to adopt and adhere to my religious beliefs,” she said. “Why are you asking me to adopt yours? And finally, Mr. Speaker, I’m flattered that you’re all so interested in my vagina, but no means no.”
The uproar was immediate. The mostly male Republican caucus banned Brown and another Democratic legislator, Rep. Barb Byrum (D-Onondaga) from speaking on the house floor.
“What she said was offensive,” said state Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, “It was so offensive, I don’t even want to say it in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.”
The duration of the ban is unclear. When asked, Brown told the Detroit Free Press, “I have no idea. I have never even heard officially why I can’t speak.”
Now Michigan’s Democratic lawmakers are hitting back. At least nine female legislators, “Vagina Monologues” author Eve Ensler and actresses from across the state will be assembling to perform Ensler’s play on Monday, June 18, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on the steps of the state capitol in Lansing.
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!”
The play in considered a feminist manifesto and supporters hope that it will help to raise awareness of conservative encroachments on the rights of women.
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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