While most know “The Vagina Monologues” as an annual play, it has a much deeper purpose.
The Women and Gender Studies Program advertises V-Day as “a global movement to stop violence against women and girls” and “a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations.”
“The Vagina Monologues” is produced annually as VSU’s V-Day event.
Self-proclaimed “Vagina Warriors” fight to raise awareness of female sexuality as well as domestic violence against women through the performance of “The Vagina Monologues,” Eve Ensler’s Obie Award-winning play.
The play celebrates female sexuality and gives women a voice that society does not often allow to be heard.
“‘The Vagina Monologues,’ to me, is empowerment for women’s sexuality, raising awareness for violence against women, and a lot of fun and moans,” says Alvinette Patterson, who co-directs the play and has been involved with the production for the past four years.
Co-director Samantha Bryant, also in her fourth year with the production, says, “‘The Vagina Monologues’ wasn’t just a chance for me to become involved in a community and really fun activist work, it was also a chance for me to get to know myself a lot better and to come into myself as a person and as a woman.”
It’s not just the women who enjoy working with “The Vagina Monologues,” however.
Stage manager J.D. Bruner describes it as “a chance to partake in a community of women to raise money and awareness for violence against women in our community and globally.”
“I enjoy seeing women being transformed through “The Vagina Monologues” and becoming liberated themselves,” he says.
The cast of this year’s production consists of 16 women, most with strong feelings about their involvement in the production.
“It’s an honor,” Hughia Farmer, sophomore chemistry and pre-pharmacy major, says. “The cause it supports is near and dear to my heart. I’ve had family that has had experience with domestic violence and family that has stayed in the safe haven, so it means a lot to me to have a chance to be involved with something like this.”
Wendy Watson, marriage and family therapy graduate student, says, “[‘The Vagina Monologues’ is] a wonderful experience for all women. It’s a chance for us to come together and share our stories. There’s going to be something that touches your heart for everyone.”
Many of the performers say that participating in “The Vagina Monologues” has changed them for the better.
“I’ve done some acting in high school, but this is different because it’s stuff you don’t normally think about, or want to think about,” Gloriana Rivera, junior communication disorders major, says. “It forces you to consider situations you’ve never been in.”
Jordan Ford, freshman pre-med and psychology major, says, “Things that would have made me uncomfortable don’t really faze me now because of the language and the subject matter in the play. [And] we’ve had group discussions about everything. I’m more informed on something I didn’t know was an issue.”
Nakia Wilson, freshman public relations major, has similar beliefs.
“It’s really broadened my vision on what’s going on in the world and women’s feelings on theirs vaginas,” she says. “‘The Vagina Monologues’ is real. Listening to all the monologues puts an impression on your vagina and how it might feel.”
Everyone can learn from “The Vagina Monologues,” Nikki Mashburn, senior philosophy and religious studies major, explains.
“When I first saw it, I thought there was a group of people who came to perform the show,” Mashburn says. “But once I found out that it was students that were in the show, I wanted to be a part of it just to help spread awareness and knowledge about what happens to women. The show is really good because it has funny parts that you can just walk away from, but it [also] has a lot of knowledge in it.”
While the play centers on female empowerment, the show is for everyone regardless of gender.
“One of the things I was nervous about was being in a play and asking people to come see it,” Danita Campbell, sophomore foreign language education major, says. “It was easier to ask the women, but my male family and friends were more receptive.”
Campbell attributes the difference between men and women’s reactions to “The Vagina Monologues” to society’s norms.
“For men it’s okay to be sexual,” she says. “Women have to be ‘ladies’ and keep everything private. It’s not okay to talk about your vagina.”
That is exactly what you will hear during “The Vagina Monologues,” starting tonight.
The show will run each night until Saturday at 7 in the Student Union theater. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for the general public.
Tickets may be purchased at the door or through the Women and Gender Studies Program in Carswell Hall.
For more information, contact the Women and Gender Studies Program at 229-249-4842.