Eve Ensler believes that the United States is in crisis. The Vagina Monologues author spoke about the political moment our nation has found itself in ― as well as her time in Bosnia, reproductive rights and why the patriarchy hurts boys ― with actress and outspoken feminist Emma Watson for Elle UK.
“I think we’re in a profound emergency in America,” Ensler told Watson. “I think we had to hit rock bottom, so that we could address all the things that haven’t ever been dealt with.”
Ensler also said that the United States is a country rooted in misogyny, a country that does not “respect, honor cherish and pay working people, (especially women) what they deserve.”
“I think what is sad is that the men in power still don’t understand that the liberation of women is their liberation as well, because they’re still hungering for domination,” Ensler told Watson, whose feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf, read The Vagina Monologues earlier this year. “I think that desire for domination, that predatory mind-set, is destroying our world in every respect.”
Ensler emphasized the silver lining of such a reckoning: the opportunity for resistance and change.
“This moment is a huge opportunity to deal with our history and to say, ‘We are going to reckon with our past, make restitutions, be guided and transformed by our mistakes, reset our course,’” she said. “It’s going to require protest, protection, planning and prophecy. Smack in the middle of the word emergency is the word emerge.”
The pairing of Ensler with Watson is a perfect one. Watson is a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. As a part of HeForShe, Watson has worked on programs to further gender equality and end campus sexual assault.
Earlier this month, she responded perfectly to faux “controversy” over a Vanity Fair cover photo in which part of her breasts were visible.
“Feminism is about giving women choice,” Watson told Reuters in response to the situation. “Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with. It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality. I really don’t know what my tits have to do with it. It’s very confusing.”
To read the full interview between Watson and Ensler, head over to Elle UK.