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Friday, February 25, 2011

Yesterday, You Were a Child – Today, You Are a Woman

Eve Ensler wanted to bring a voice to women whose experiences have been silenced. Her interviews became “The Vagina Monologues.” The final selection presented tonight is from her perspective at one point in her life. Since then, she has acknowledged that there were some glaring absences and found ways to incorporate new monologues, occasionally, in order to be more inclusive of all women’s voices.

There is power in omission and power in inclusion. One silenced voice that is noticeably absent is the voice of the girl who experiences her first menarche. Another voice missing is that of the Native American woman trying to preserve her identity within a society that has historically allowed her ancestors to be raped, killed, and deculturalized. This destruction has created crises such as domestic violence and poverty in Native American communities and also stereotyped and miseducated the public about Native Nations. The impact of missing the experiences of the maiden who becomes a woman and the people who have lived on this land for over ten-thousand years gives pause to reflect, an opportunity to be inclusive, and, thanks to the Producer, a space to provide words to those silenced voices.

In many cultures, menarche is celebrated as an important rite of passage, as it is for Native Americans. The moon’s cycle is twenty-eight days, as is the average cycle for women. For many Native Americans, the Moon is our grandmother who gives life to the morning dew as a young woman can bring life to the Earth. The moment a girl becomes the “mother of Nations” is awe-inspiring. She is connected to the creator, all the generations of women who came before her, and the wisdom of the four directions.

For more information about the Indigenous People of the Americas and their effort to preserve the culture, spiritual, and traditional ways of Native Americans, see:

On the Road to Womanhood
~Ksenija Soster-Olmer (Originally from Slovenija)

Be free to be you
Be strong, yet gentle,
Be proud, yet loving.
May your body always be
A blessing to you,
A sacred grove of love and pleasure.
So care for your body
As you would for a beautiful garden.
Your womb can now bring forth new life
But remember yours is the power
To open or close the gates of life
In your garden.
Therefore yours is the responsibility
To be a conscious gardener.
Open to the embrace of love
When you find the one
Who is truly deserving