8 Lessons From Eve Ensler in Her Exclusive ELLE Interview With Emma Watson

In a four-part interview for ELLE UKEmma Watson and MAKER Eve Ensler sat down to discuss the ongoing relevance of Ensler's feminist works.

As a Tony award-winning playwright, performer, and activist, Ensler created "The Vagina Monologues," which has since been published in 48 languages and performed in over 140 countries, highlighting feminism in a way women and girls can relate.

"The Vagina Monologues" continue to grace the stage in productions around the world, and because it has become one of the most relevant topics of discussion today, outspoken feminist activist and actress Watson joined ELLE to pick the playwright's brain.

Here are 8 lessons Ensler so eloquently bestowed upon us:

1. The patriarchy is a virus that needs to be cured
"We have definitely made strides forward, but it seems to me it's always one step forward two steps back, because patriarchy is the most persistent, stubborn virus. We are still searching for political and spiritual antibodies to fight this massive infection." (Part 1)

2. Liberating women liberates men
"What is sad is that the men in power still don't understand that the liberation of women is their liberation as well" (Part 2)

3. The cycle does not only affect women and girls
"Being raised a boy in a patriarchy is almost more torturous than being raised a girl, because at least we are allowed to keep our hearts. We are allowed to feel, to cry, and we are allowed to connect. With boys, from the time you open your eyes, you are taught not to cry, feel, show weakness and not to ever let anyone know you have doubts, and so your heart is cut off." (Part 2)

4. Art is cathartic and powerful
"We have to get ourselves out of this syndrome of trauma and being re-traumatised. Art releases this energy. It exposes us to wonder again, and magic again, and ambiguity – all the things we need to really keep going and fighting and resisting in these times." (Part 3)

5. Dance every day
"When you watch people dancing what you see is rage, joy, ecstasy, connection, being in your body, having your energy, connecting to your community, laughing and loving. It's everything. People need to dance." (Part 3)

6. Success does not equal happiness
"Success itself doesn't give you happiness. It's what you do with your success that gives you happiness." (Part 3)

7. Freeing women changes the world
"When women are free, when women of colour are free, that freedom will catalyse the energy capable of remaking the world." (Part 4)

8. Trust yourself and do not wait for permission
"No one's going to give you permission to oust them or resist them. AND No ones in charge but the people pretending to be. Listen to your body. Follow your instincts. Fight for our Mother Earth and each other. If you're privileged, share your platforms and serve those without privilege more deeply. Listen better. Dance. Rage. Have your anger. Laugh a lot. Have wild ecstatic sex. Spend more time imagining. Bow down to trees. And don't be embarrassed to love. Bigger." (Part 4)


@oursharedshelf's Jan & Feb book is #TheVaginaMonologues by Eve Ensler

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Watch MAKER Eve Ensler's exclusive MAKERS video in the player above.

NEXT: Get to Know MAKER Eve Ensler »

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