Volume 74, Number 25 | Octuber 20 - 26 , 2004

Mother/daughter team up with a book to embolden women

By Wickham Boyle

First there was the real thing. Then there was Vagina Monologues and now, thank heavens there is “Vaginas: An Owners Manuel.” This new book published last week by Avalon and written in a clear, concise and funny fashion by Dr. Carol Livoti and her writer-daughter Elizabeth Topp is a great companion to anyone who either possesses the real thing or has an interest in it.

The book’s launch was feted at an opening night party at the Social Club on East 27th Street fittingly right across form the Museum of Sex. The launch party was also a benefit for Eve Ensler’s excellent non-profit organization V-Day. V-Day’s mission is to be a global movement to support an end to violence against women. Since its inception in 1997, V-Day has used the media and brainpower of Eve Ensler and Vagina Monologues to raise awareness and funds to support crisis centers and help lines for women worldwide. They have raised over seven million dollars in seven years to support these projects.

So when women and men were pouring into the Social Club and plunking down donations, they were coming to celebrate a new book written in a style that emboldens women and supports their desire to have full knowledge and as much control over their lives as is possible. Authors Liz Topp, Carol Livoti and Eve Ensler spoke about the importance of supporting women’s rights, and desires. Ensler said, “ In our world today we are living with the flip of the paradigm from what we see here tonight. We are now in such a climate of distorted masculinity. We all know here that when women are truly safe life will be free, because women are the primary source of life.”

A cheer went up from around the bar and rang form the balcony. The red leather banquettes shook as the entire room cheered and then made a beeline for the books whose bright yellow covers lined the room. Dr. Livoti and her daughter began signing copies and the champagne was flowing. Ensler made one more announcement reminding guests that a special hook up had been established downstairs so that patrons could stay and watch the debate and still party.

The book itself was a huge hit as women and men bought copies and were leafing through them before they made it back to their seats. According to Liz Topp, a Harvard grad, who used to work for Al Franken. “This book is important because it is meant to be entertaining and also up to date and informative. It is meant for the Sex in the City crowd and for all women who just want to know more. Working with my mother it confirmed what I knew, that she has a knack for explaining medicine to patients. That is a gift.”

Even Ensler confirmed Dr. Livoti’s gift when she praised her as the only gynecologist she had been to who really was gentle and wise to her as a patient. We all, women and men need to be more informed about our bodies our lives and our choices. This book puts us on that path.

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