If your vagina could talk, what would it say?
In Cushing Hall this past weekend, an extremely talented group of ladies represented a diverse group of female voices on one topic: the vagina. I’ll say that one more time. Vagina. Are you comfortable with it yet? That’s exactly what Eve Ensler was aiming for in the writing of her play which first premiered in 1996. She wanted to be able to talk about something so fundamentally female, yet so taboo. She interviewed women from around the world, ranging from little girls to old women, from a participant in a vagina workshop to a Bosnian rape survivor, from a feminist who was just glad to have met a guy who “liked to look at it” to a transgender girl who was discovering what it means to let her girl out. This play is proof that the female body can be talked about in a way that isn’t sexual or shameful or even labeled, but rather just acknowledged.
The play began with a performance by Marwa Eltahir, A&S ’17, Kelly Hoffman, A&S ’15, and Ella Jenak A&S ‘17, in which they listed all of the different names that women from across the globe call their vaginas. These were mostly hilarious, sometimes treading the line of too descriptive, and a great way for the audience to get comfortable with the word “vagina.” The ladies even took it a step further and thought up a list of names for Eagles to consider, like “Lower Live” or Hillslide among various other hilarious combinations. The performances that followed kept the bar high.
Although the whole cast deserves acknowledgement for how evocative their performances were, two ladies really brought the house down. In her monologue “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy,” Maddie Schmitz, A&S ’15, fearlessly left it all on the stage as she demonstrated all of the moans, I mean all of them, characteristic of the female orgasm. She lied on her back and threw herself on the floor, as the audience laughed and cheered, delivering a truly hilarious performance. The second spotlight would have to be put on Rowan Charleron, A&S ’16 for her monologue “My Angry Vagina,” in which she talked about how angry her vagina is that all of these people without vaginas are making products for it. “You need to work with my vagina!” she yelled, describing tampons as “pieces of dry f—ing cotton.” She took the audience on a visit to the gynecologist with “would it be so hard to warm up the duck lips?!” The acting by these two women immersed the whole audience in the experience, whether they could relate or not.
Eve Ensler focused some of her other monologues on questions like “If your vagina could talk, what would it say?” and “If your vagina could dress itself, what would it wear?” so that the women being interviewed were forced to think of their vaginas as something very much a part of themselves. Something that shared their identity, not just something that was there that you mostly tried to forget about. In each of the monologues, the women came to the realization that their vaginas meant something and damn well deserved to be appreciated. Eve Ensler put it all out there, she didn’t shy away from topics like moaning, odor, or the female orgasm, and the performers didn’t exactly shy away either.
The Vagina Monologues was presented as part of the V-Day initiative at Boston College, a global movement to stop violence against women and young girls by raising money and supporting anti-violence organizations. One such organization is the Justice Resource Institute, which is a preventative initiative that helps adolescent girls in the Boston area identified as being at risk for sexual exploitation. 90 percent of this year’s proceeds will be going to this organization, and the other 10 percent will be directed towards the global V-Day campaign, as well as local grassroots efforts to end gender-based violence. In short, this year’s Vagina Monologues was a huge hit with three sold-out shows and if you missed out, come back next year.
Featured Image Amelie Trieu / Heights Staff