Creating a vagina-friendly world, where V-day symbolizes everything but victimization is robustly achieved through Eve Ensler’s award-winning production, “The Vagina Monologues,” put on last Saturday at Jack Morton Auditorium and sponsored by Health Outreach Peer Educators and the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance.
The play, which is based on a series of interviews, is performed through a compelling chain of soliloquies that vary from amicable and lighthearted to a cringe-worthy two-minute “cunt” chant (which, for the record, did not make me any fonder of the word). The show has been key in helping to raise awareness of violence against women, but also to foster appreciation of the sacredness of female genitalia through covering matters such as hair, smell, sex, orgasms, masturbation, looking at the vagina as well as “what your unique, beautiful vagina would wear.”
While Ensler claims that the survival of female sexuality is dependent on the embracement of this body part, critics have denounced the monologues as hatred of men and heterosexuality. The monologue, “The Little Coochi Snorcher That Could,” was shocking and has been widely condemned for endorsing underage drinking and statutory rape by a lesbian, something that seems contradictory to the essence of V-day itself.
Nevertheless, the play encompasses particularly powerful scenes that cover significant issues such as rape, transgender acceptance, women in war as well as the glory of birth. Director Emily Jakubowics felt it indispensable to bring issues about transgender people and the role of women in war to light by including the optional scenes, “They Beat the Girl Out of My Boy.Or So They Tried” and “Say It, for the Comfort Women.” Both the scenes conveyed messages that are essential to bringing about peace and to impeding rape and sexual abuse, especially against women during war-time. The scene about “comfort women” underlines the atrocities of “rape as a systematic tactic of war” and the fact that it is critical for this to be acknowledged and stopped. It brings to light political issues as well the role of female sexuality in history by telling the story of Japanese ‘comfort women’ during the Second World War.
Through highlighting the importance of undermining the violence that is projected towards transgender individuals, we are able to understand the magnitude of an issue that is seldom exposed. This issue is one that is central to the campus chapter of FMLA, making it all the more significant to our society. We are encouraged to accept and empower these victims of social ignorance by feeling their pain and suffering. Most invigorating of all however, was, “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy,” a hilarious rendition inclusive of at least 10 types of moans and groans, finally climaxing with a melodramatic demonstration of a triple orgasm.
While some may feel that shouting out loud about vaginas is really not going to spotlight the role of women in society. it most certainly raises awareness of the struggles that women face while simultaneously commemorating their sexuality. It forces us to explore what concerns us about the vagina and to question why we are afraid to talk about what’s going on down there. The piece was scandalously powerful.