Who knew a two hour play about women and their vaginas could be so hilarious and, at the same time, challenging? More than that, it was inspiring.
"...hilarious and challenging...inspiring!"
Jeff Larson, Thyme Magazine
"If your vagina could talk, and it could say two words, what would it say?" Slow down. The first two words that came to my head were,"Oh, no," and I don't know if that answers your question Or if that's what my vagina would say, like, "oh, no." Ice pack. Feed me. Eeh! Use me. "Eat me" comes to mind. Stop thinking so much and have a good time. Where's Tom? What do you want? Want some. Yes! Need some. More. Open for business. How you doing? Slow down.
And so goes one fast-paced monologue. This is a play enacted by women around the world each year in a remarkable attempt to create communities of women by talking publicly about this very private thing that all women have in common. The vagina plays a very central and very real role in this play, but its power comes from the depth of its metaphorical value. It is woman. If we are not supposed to talk about the vagina, it is part and parcel of a reluctance - or refusal - to talk about what is important to women. If we think of vaginas as dirty, smelly, bloody, vile - then we think the same about women.
The Vagina Monologues was staged on my campus by a student feminist group andhad all the trappings of amateur social activism: low budget sets, hand-made signs, information tables full of leaflets, banners, hordes of screaming young people. It is also a benefit, as it always is, to support organizations working to end violence against women, including domestic violence shelters and rape crisis helplines. Mind-blowing statistics and stories about widescale, systematic rapes abound. One monologue has the audience screaming with laughter, the next holding back tears.
I remember when I was, after I'd started my period, spending a summer trying to figure out how to put a tampon in. And I remember sort of squatting over a mirror, for days and days and days trying to find the way in. Stop shoving things up me! Stop shoving and stop cleaning it up. My vagina doesn't need to be cleaned up.
The play, delivered in monologues adapted from more than 200 real interviews with real women, jumps from experience to experience and woman to woman like Annie Sprinkle. There was the 72 year-old woman who had never seen her vagina or experienced an orgasm, who fantasized about Burt Reynolds. The Bosnian girl, veteran of a rape camp, who recounted with breathtaking detail a rape by six soldiers with bottles, sticks, and a broom. The hilariously bitter description of a gynocological visit that clearly resonated with every woman in the audience. The event was unifying. Inspring. Challening.
Go see it.