‘Monologues’ Focus On Issues Of Sexual Health
Published: Sunday, February 12, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
This weekend marked the ninth performance of the controversial Vagina Monologues on Boston College's campus. The show, written in 1996 by Eve Ensler after she interviewed 200 women of all ages and countries, explores topics such as sexual awakening, profanity, rape, and self-image. Each year, a spotlight monologue is added to highlight a current issue. This year's spotlight discussed the dangers Haitian women still face as a result of last year's earthquake.
Vagina Monologues is also a fundraiser and celebration of V-Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of the sexual injustices women face every day. For several years most of the proceeds from BC's event have gone to My Life, My Choice, a local organization that gives at-risk girls the resources they need to stay out of prostitution or reclaim their lives if they have already been subjected to the trade. This year's performances are expected to have raised over $7,000 in three sold-out performances from Feb. 9 to Feb. 11 in McGuinn 121.
Margaux Labaudiniere, A&S '12, and Allison Russell, CSOM '12, directed for the second year in a row.
The monologues range from laugh-out-loud hilarious to dramatic and sobering, but each one serves to further the ongoing discussion of women's rights and sexuality.
"At BC we are pretty sheltered, and a lot of times we forget or don't know what is going on in other parts of the world," Labaudiniere said in an e-mail. "The show really sheds light on current women's issues and brings awareness to human rights violations across the globe. Rape and sexual assault are not comfortable issues to discuss, but they are a part of women's and men's realities."
Despite this noble goal, The Vagina Monologues have been a source of controversy both on BC's campus and in other places across the world. Many critics see parts of the show as tasteless and gratuitous, but Russell stressed that the show strives for quite the opposite.
"We do the show to bring a sexual freedom to women, not for promiscuity as some may assume, but rather for a feeling of being comfortable with and, more importantly, proud of our bodies," she said in an e-mail. "To speak for women who do not feel they have this freedom of expression is both an honor and a privilege."
Labaudiniere added that the show is just as important for men as it is for women. "The show may focus on women's issues and empowerment, but the stories in the production talk about central human issues," she said. "Men and women work, love, and live together. Men who courageously attend the show appreciate the monologues and message as much as the women."
Despite its controversial nature, Russell and Labaudiniere say that they have never had an issue getting BC's support in staging it. This year the Monologues were sponsored by the Women's and Gender Studies Department, along with 14 other academic departments and programs.
"The fact that we are a Jesuit institution performing what they consider to be a controversial piece makes our job a bit more difficult, but it is totally worth it," Russell said. In order to preserve the educational nature of the piece, the University generally requires that it be performed in a lecture hall rather than Robsham Theater.
The Monologues are especially relevant to BC students this year because of the recent outcry against the Barstool blog and the fact that its BC Blackout party is scheduled for the same night as Take Back the Night, an annual event at BC that is designed to show support for women who have been the victims of sexual assault.
"We definitely considered making a reference to Barstool, but time escaped us and we were unable to craft a mention in time," Russell said. "Joking about rape is anything but funny, and it is truly a shame that some men think they have a right to put us ‘in our place.'"