The Collegian
Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The Vagina Monologues empower and educate women

A mixture of humor and serious conversation was the theme of The Vagina Monologues, a performance in Tyler Haynes Commons last weekend that celebrated women’s sexuality and turned a typically taboo body part into a work of art.

The show used humor and lyricism to tell stories of women engaging in proactive journeys to understand and appreciate their sexuality, Mariah Genis, who produced the show, said. Audience members seemed thoroughly entertained by the performance, which provoked both laughter and serious thought.

“It was great to see so many people performing and showing their support for this,” Shayna Sweezy, a sophomore who attended the performance, said. “It was definitely an entertaining way to get informed on something people don’t usually talk about.”

The performance began with the simple statement: “Girls love to talk about their vaginas.” The audience laughed, and the next 90 minutes were spent assuring women that despite what society deems, this love is nothing to be ashamed of.

With monologue titles ranging from “They Beat the Girl out of My Boy…or So They Tried” to “The Little Coochi Snorcher that could,” cast members told the true stories of women meant to engage and disarm the audience.

“Vaginas are not something that most people learn about or freely discuss,” Genis said. “This show is beneficial because it helps the viewer understand the experiences of women and the complexity of sexuality.”

One monologue titled “My Short Skirt” encouraged women to wear what they want without the fear of being labeled or belittled. Another was dedicated to the real answers that women had to the question, “What would your vagina wear if it wore clothes?” “Nothing but Harry Winston diamonds” and “Keds and a baseball hat” were among the answers.

The Vagina Monologues at Richmond was part of an international movement run by V-Day, an organization dedicated to ending violence against women. From the Off Broadway Westside Theater in New York City to college campuses such as Harvard and Yale, V-Day encourages any interested group to put on this show.

All proceeds of the show went to Safe Harbor Shelter in Richmond, an organization that supports those who have experienced domestic or sexual violence and empowers survivors to transform their lives.

One monologue titled “My Vagina Was My Village” told the story of a young girl whom soldiers raped repeatedly when her village was invaded. The story brought to light the serious reality of sexual assault while emphasizing the girl’s emotions, which, Sweezy said, was thought provoking and memorable.

The show, which featured a series of monologues written by Eve Ensler, introduced a cast of unique and diverse female voices telling personal stories meant to empower, educate and entertain women. According to Ensler’s website, her work aims to break taboos and tell women that their sexuality is not something to be ashamed of.

“The Vagina Monologues introduces an important topic on campus,” Genus said. “It gives the student body an opportunity to talk about women’s issues that are typically taboo.”

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