V-Day play explores women’s issues

GW students performed the play “The Vagina Monologues,” as one of many universities participating in the worldwide V-Day College Initiative to end sexual violence against women.

Audience members packed into Western Presbyterian Church to see the play on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in conjunction with Valentine’s Day. Admission was free, with a voluntary contribution to the V-Day campaign to benefit local women’s support programs.

V-Day is a campaign to proclaim Valentine’s Day as a day to celebrate women and demand an end to abuse. The play was designed to embrace the campaign’s ideals by empowering women through humor, pain, wisdom, outrage, mystery and excitement hidden in vaginas, according to the play’s official Web site.

“I was worried about vaginas,” an actress said at the beginning of the performance. “I was worried about what we think about vaginas, and even more worried about what we don’t think about them.”

The play, which developed from a book by Eve Ensler and has been performed since 1996, is a series of monologues by a diverse group of women. The monologues were created from interviews with hundreds of women of various ages, ethnicites and sexual orientations.

“At first, women were reluctant to talk. They were a little shy. But once they got going, you couldn’t stop them,” the actress said.

Each monologue tells a unique story of subjects considered taboo, including pubic hair, pelvic exams and orgasms.

The women’s stories were interspersed with “vagina facts,” including the facts that genital mutilations are still a problem in many countries and affect about two million women, and that the female clitoris has twice as many nerve endings as the penis, which drew loud applause from the audience.

Each of the women on stage was asked as part of the performance, “If your vagina wore clothes, what would it wear?” Answers ranged from sexy lingerie to diamond earrings.

Actresses referred to the female genitalia by various euphemisms, engaging the audience to repeat them at one point.

One woman’s monologue told a story of rape by soldiers in Bosnia, comparing her vagina to her village to which she could never return.

An older woman said she never went “down there” after an embarrassing experience being sexually aroused.

An amusing monologue called “My angry vagina” detailed all the horrible things the female genitalia is subjected to including tampons, pelvic exams and thongs.

During one monologue, a “sex worker,” or prostitute, who said she liked to please women mimicked various types of moans on stage, such as “the machine gun moan” and “the dog bark moan.”

The event was sponsored by Western Presbyterian Church, the Women’s Studies department, the department of Theater and Dance and the Program Board.

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