I had to learn how to say “vagina” and “penis” without giggling, but those weren’t the only things I learned performing in “The Vagina Monologues,” a play written by Eve Ensler.
At first I was completely under the misconception that this play revolved solely around female empowerment and, well, talking about vaginas.
Never have I been more wrong about anything that I have experienced.
“The Vagina Monologues” is so much more than women sharing stories about their vaginas. It is an activist piece adamant about removing the stigma of women discussing their sexuality and the social implications of rape and abuse.
The play was written in 1994, yet, rape, incest and genital mutilation are still global issues that harm women and girls around the world every day. The play itself is moving, but the purpose behind the play is the most moving aspect of the project: V-Day.
V-Day started as a result of the performances of “The Vagina Monologues.” It is described on vday.org as a “fierce, wild, unstoppable movement” to create a better world “where women live safely and freely,” increasing awareness towards the aforementioned issues that still threaten women around the world today.
The movement today is strong in 130 countries, and V-Day alone distributes funds to different organizations that “work to stop violence against women and girls.”
How did we do our part besides acting out the various performances? All proceeds from both nights of the performance went to the Rappahannock Council on Domestic Violence (RCDV) in Fredericksburg.
With that mission in mind, each student did their best to do their monologue justice. There were monologues that featured the common question which Ensler interviewed women with: “If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear?” to heart-wrenching monologues about genital mutilation in Bosnia and the Congo. Each performer put their heart into their performance.
My experience, personally, transcended actually “giving” a performance. It was about raising awareness and urging every one of my friends to attend the event and donate their money for the cause.
We go to a school where silence was considered as direct consent, and where the sexual misconduct policy just changed this past March to include affirmative consent. Women are, locally and internationally, still not in the safest position.
This should not be happening. “The Vagina Monologues” is a reminder why this should not be happening, and why we simply cannot have it happen to anyone before.
I, myself, I have embraced “The Vagina Monologues” wholeheartedly. According to Director Emily Butler, both performances raised exactly $1,437.70. That figure does not include EagleOne transactions.
That is over $1,000 dedicated to an organization that provides domestic violence assistance, has a 24-hour hotline to call when you need help, a temporary emergency shelter, and advocacy services. We, those involved with “The Vagina Monologues,” made that happen.
Would it be safe to say that instead of giggling, I immersed myself in an enriching experience to educate myself on the issues that harm women today? Definitely. Taking a stand is a start. Gaining knowledge and raising awareness is the next step. If it were not for “The Vagina Monologues,” I would not have been able to do either.