I walked into the crowded Strong Auditorium last Friday and somehow managed to snag a seat in the fourth row. It was five minutes before the show, the room was packed with both sexes and there was a definite buzz in the air. All of a sudden, without warning, the house lights shut off and I was left in the darkness for a split second. Then the spotlight popped on to illuminate two women wearing red who began the introduction for the “Vagina Monologues.”

The “Vagina Monologues” consisted of 18 acts and was hosted by Women’s Caucus to celebrate V-Day, which is a global movement to end the violence against women and girls by raising funds and awareness through benefit productions of playwright Eve Ensler’s award-winning play, the “Vagina Monologues.” In 2007, more than 3,000 V-Day events took place in the United States and around the world. To date, they have raised over $45 million and educated millions on the issue of violence against women.

The show consisted of actresses coming on stage and each performing a monologue for the audience. Topics included serious and shameful atrocities such as genital mutilation of young girls as well as insights of a woman’s right not to shave her vagina and an outrageously funny outlook on orgasms. A new dimension was explored in the very first act, entitled “Hair,” which featured Residential Life Area Coordinator Jocelyn Shope portraying a woman who hated shaving her vagina but did it to please her husband and possibly stop his adultery by pleasing him sexually. At times, the audience grew quiet at the sobering statistics being presented about rape, genital mutilation and sexual slavery. However, more often than not laughter of amusement, truth and hope filled the air, climaxing as senior Shannon McCarter, in the “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy,” masterfully demonstrated the different ranges of female orgasms.

It is sad that women are being portrayed as sex objects and glorified in a world where being beautiful is the only thing that matters. Each time I turn on the TV, I see beautiful women whoring themselves out on reality shows like “Rock of Love” and “Flavor of Love” to ugly and insensitive celebrities out looking to find true love.

In the genocide in Sudan, rape and mutilation of the sexual organs is a common technique used as a method of warfare. In the Middle East, the oppression of women extends to every facet of their lives from dress, occupation, marriage, religion and daily interactions. Even here in the U.S., one out of six women will become a victim of sexual assault at one point in their lives. Our society’s current view on women has evolved into a shallow and disgusting attitude where the female is an empty vessel valued only for her body and sexuality.

Some may criticize the “Vagina Monologues” as being too negative in its portrayal of the male-female sexual relationship. Some will go as far as to say that the “Vagina Monologues” are a form of accusation against all men. However, as a guy, I didn’t feel at all intimidated or attacked by the feminist tone put forth in the Vagina Monologue as popular stereotypical belief would have us believe. In fact, having grown up with my best friends consisting of mainly females, I felt glad and proud that the “Vagina Monologues” have been educating women to respect their sexuality and educating men to respect women. The “Vagina Monologues” and V-Day are not complacent request to stop violence against woman but are fierce and wild demand for women to be treated equally.

Some came for laughs, some came to speculate, some came because the fliers had the word “vagina” on them and some came to support their friends, but everyone left the show with a sense of renewed application for woman and their sexuality. I have always been appreciative of women but, because of the show, I now appreciate women and their vaginas even more.

Chen is a member of the class of 2011.

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