Where can one go to talk about vaginas openly and hear the word spoken a tremendous amount of times in a mere two hours? At the Vagina Monologues.
The Off-Broadway production, which was held last Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Eastern Michigan University’s Student Center Auditorium, was made up of EMU students who strongly believed in the V-word and making people comfortable – and sometimes uncomfortable – with it.
Each skit varied both in length and emotional intent, with some making the audience cry and others making them laugh out loud.
The show began with a video of interviews of men on EMU’s campus. They were asked a simple question: “What do you think of vaginas?” Some men laughed and made funny retorts while others were visibly uncomfortable with the question.
A woman came on stage and talked about the start of Vagina Monologues. All types of women were interviewed and those interviews became the inspiration for the skits. Some women were shy, but once they opened up, they babbled on about their vaginas.
One skit was dedicated to rape during wars and troubling times in countries. A woman came onstage and gave a compelling performance, complete with tears at the end. She said that her vagina used to be happy, but not since it was torn apart by soldiers, describing how even a part of her vagina lip landed on her arm at one point.
“I became a river of poison and pus,” said the actress. “A river village that was burned down.”
One skit revolved around female genital mutilation. They talked about how, mostly in Africa, many young woman have their clitorises shaved off partially or completely using glass shards, razors, etc.
Plus, they usually never use anesthetics to dull the pain. Many of these women end up having infections or dying.
“My vagina is angry,” another woman stated. Another cast member joined her and they went back and forth, listing all the things their vaginas go through. It ranged from people trying to tell them that it should smell like rose petals to horribly uncomfortable trips to the gynecologist.
“They try to shove things up us with their tampons and making it smell like shower clean or rose petals,” said the actress.
A notable skit was about pubic hair. A woman hated shaving her vagina and only did it to please her husband. She said sex was like rubbing a newly shaved beard. She stopped shaving. After some time, her husband had an affair. They got a therapist who asked the lady why she didn’t like to please her husband by shaving for him. She shaved that night, but she didn’t feel happy while getting intimate with her husband. The relationship ended after her husband kept sleeping around.
Another skit portrayed a vagina workshop where women were given mirrors and asked to look at their vagina and locate their clitoris. One character said her vagina was “unsettling to look at, so raw, so red, so fresh.” Another character came to the realization that although her vagina may look weird to her, it was still a vital part of her and who she was as a woman.
Old women were asked to describe and talk about their vaginas. Some had never even seen their vaginas. Other old women didn’t like to talk about the subject. A student posing as an old woman came out and scoffed out remarks about the questions being asked about her vagina.
Overall, the skits circled around the idea of women leading their own lives and not relying on men or anyone else. The show ended with a great response from the audience and great support from local women’s centers like SafeHouse and First Step who were there to lend a hand to anyone there and talk about their programs and what they do.
“It’s important to see the struggles of women who have been raped or gone through genital mutilation,” said junior Theresa Riles, a Vagina Monologue actress. “People need to know that women have a voice and this production is a way to hear it.”
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