Stand against Violence with The Vagina Monologues

February 04, 2011

Every spring, students and community members perform The Vagina Monologues as a part of V-Day’s international campaign to end violence against women and girls. In the past 11 years, productions like The Vagina Monologues and A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer: Writings to End Violence against Women and Girls have helped V-Day raise upwards of $80 million, and activist work on a local level through these productions has helped this money reach over 300 million people across the globe.

During my first year of college, I went to auditions for The Vagina Monologues not really knowing what to expect. Today, I am in the midst of producing my university’s 10th anniversary performance.

Anyone who has seen the show will tell you that it’s about so much more than listening to a group of college women read from scripts about the hardships of being female. The performance aspect of it is just a medium — it’s the message that really matters. As one of our cast members put it in rehearsal just last week, “The Vagina Monologues is so important because it gives voice to issues women are not supposed to talk about.”

To me, being a part of this performance or being an audience member is, above all else, about coming together and experiencing stories of women from all around the world: from Bosnia to Haiti to the United States. You may be surprised at just how much we have in common. No matter what issue the monologue is speaking to, there is an undeniable emotional connection and a new sense of understanding that arises from seeing a performance like this.

Of course, not all of the monologues are about violence. While the goal of the V-Day movement is to end all forms of violence against women and girls across the globe, the performance is also a celebration of women’s lives that features monologues about female empowerment, independence, positive views of women’s sexuality, birth, perseverance, and the power to speak up. Essentially, The Vagina Monologues is the media’s antithesis and serves as a refreshing, uplifting representation of women.

If you would like to attend a performance in your area, visit the V-Day website, and click on your state to find the location nearest you.

This post was written by National Student Advisory Council member Abby Lemay.

By:   |   February 04, 2011

2 Comments

  1. RL says:

    While I understand and appreciate what VM tries to do, I can’t help but point out some of the flaws of the performance.

    One monologue has a 16-year-old girl tell about how a 24-year-old woman sexually molested her. It is told in a positive manner, as if the 16-year-old had a positive sexual experience with the 24-year-old. I believe that’s actually called statutory rape. It’s not just creepy; it’s illegal.

    This is just one of several parts of VM that makes me uncomfortable with a program that says it is all about anti-violence and women.

  2. Abby says:

    The monologue you’re referring to is definitely one of the more controversial ones, and I understand your point. I think what Eve was trying to express in that piece is women’s agency over their own sexuality, even if they are deemed too young to do so by society’s standards. Of course, it can be interpreted any number of ways, and I don’t believe it is meant to condone or defend statutory rape.

    It’s true, The Vagina Monologues does have quite a few flaws and leaves out certain key issues that a feminist production really should address. As with any other medium, it’s impossible to cover it all, especially in such a short performance and is one of the major limitations of the production. The monologues are something I both love and am quite critical of…but after all, don’t we all have that kind of relationship with something popular culture and activism has produced?

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