The audience in Strong Auditorium this past Friday had one thing on their minds: Vagina.
This mindset didn’t exist because this group of 100 or so college kids had the same one track mind, however. It was due to the performance of the “Vagina Monologues,” an event which was sponsored by the UR Women’s Caucus as a part of their V-Day campaign.
The “Monologues” are performed annually and raise awareness of issues of femininity, women’s sexuality and violence against women. Women’s Caucus describes the day as “a global movement to stop violence against women and girls?raising money and consciousness” through presentations of the “Vagina Monologues.”
The “V” in V-Day stands for both Valentine, and, to no surprise, vagina.
For those who haven’t seen the show, the “Vagina Monologues” is exactly what it sounds like: a bunch of women talking about their vaginas. The show is based on a set of interviews where women were asked questions about their vaginas and their sexuality.
UR’s presentation was directed by junior Sharon Barney and sophomore Julianne Nigro. Proceeds from the show were donated to the Sojourner House and Alternatives for Battered Women-both organizations provide shelter for women with unstable domestic situations and lifestyles.
Nothing is off-limits or too risqu to touch in the Monologues – from in-depth descriptions of “down there,” to gynecologist visits and periods, to lesbian sex, to moaning and orgasms.
For women, some of the monologues sounded all too familiar, reminiscent of the talks that girls have at sleepovers when they’re 13 (or much older, based on some of the racier material from the show).
For men, watching the Monologues is like sneaking in on one of these sleepovers. It’s entertaining, they might feel a little out of place, and they definitely learn more than they ever thought there was to know about women.
“I’m learning so much!” said one male audience member, who chose to remain anonymous.
The monologue that attracted the most attention was entitled “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy,” performed by senior Lucia Spinelli. Based on an interview with a woman who, as the title describes, really enjoyed pleasing women in bed, the retelling consisted of defining and demonstrating all the different kinds of moans women can have during sex.
Going through roughly 10 different types of moans, Spinelli did justice to the woman who inspired the monologue. Needless to say, the audience was riveted.
In addition to providing excellent entertainment, the monologues also shed light on a number of heartbreaking injustices some women must face. The performance used testimonials to raise awareness of rape, battery, sexual slavery and exploitation.
In one monologue, performed by sophomore Elaina Stover, the interviewee recounted a horrific story of being gang raped for days on end. Even in this recollection, no details were spared. The audience was stonily silent as the account described the physical and emotional scars left on the victim.
Hearing such gut-wrenching monologues mixed in with lighter, funnier stories shocked many audience members. But no one argued that these stories did not deserve to be heard just as much.
Despite the complaint that the “Vagina Monologues” might go too far at times in one way or another, the variety of the show gives the audience a full range of perspectives on women’s sexuality. One theme that runs consistently throughout the show, however, is that women love to talk about their vaginas.
The show isn’t just a juicy article giving sex tips you’d find in Cosmopolitan, and it isn’t a full-on tirade about rape and abuse that makes women feel helpless and men feel guilty.
Much like a woman, the “Vagina Monologues” is a mix between the beautiful and the terrible, the fun and the heartbreaking, and you never know what to expect next. It is what it is, take it or leave it.
Ryan is a member of the class of 2009.