Where there is aggression, there is resistance.
And from our current politicians, there’s plenty of the former: a propensity to villainize women and their bodies.
So, leave it to UR College Feminists to show us what resistance looks like with this year’s showing of “The Vagina Monologues,”which played on Friday night.
For those unfamiliar with the show, “The Vagina Monologues” is an episodic play written by Eve Ensler in 1996.
Broaching a range of topics—masturbation, genital mutilation, unbridled self-love—“Monologues” leaves no path untouched in the presentation of the core of a woman, as raw and as real as she is.
Allocation of Friday night’s profits coincided with this value, with 90 percent benefiting Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York, and the remainder going to V-Day, an organization to end violence against women.
The intimacy of the event was palpable, seen in the faces and tears of the diverse audience members.
Before all that emotional intensity, though, was the show’s opener, which started with a very basic, very surface-level concept: the word “vagina” itself.
“In Rochester, they love vaginas,” laughed the introduction group, comprised of sophomore Aliye Gallagher, and seniors Kim Rouse and Sophie Zhang. “They call it The Pit, the Common Market, and the Dirty Genesee.”
Although we could laugh at the absurdity of these euphemisms, they brought up an undeniable point that some people even fear the word “vagina,” let alone talking about it, seeing it, and finding a connection with it.
The rest of the show, in many ways, was for these people.
As “The Vagina Monologues” have been revised throughout the years to discuss whatever the most current brand of misogyny is, Friday’s performance was an eclectic display of the modern woman, including immigrants, transwomen, and more. Although monologues ranged in female perspective, what remained consistent was the unfiltered, and at times, graphic, dialogue they opened on womanhood. This realness was not lost on freshman Ali Thome, who serves the Vagina Monologues Publicity and Fundraising committees.
“This show, to me, is all about people with vaginas reclaiming that word and concept,” Thome said. “It’s so empowering and a means of approaching a topic that’s really very taboo. Nobody talks about vaginas, and that’s a damn shame.”
Taboo was perhaps most salaciously approached in the night’s performance of fan-favorite “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy.”
About a female sex worker specializing in women, this monologue ended with two minutes of the actress, in this case, Biomedical Engineering major and senior Marina May, demonstrating various types of moans she elicits from her clients.
The audience howled at what might have been one of the biggest political middle-fingers of the night, the demonstration of the “Trump Moan,” which, as I’m sure we could all guess, involves having “the best moans.”
As well as successfully carrying out the original monologues, the Rochester production excelled at making the otherwise foreign topic of discussing vaginas an issue that felt immediate. Whether through references to the campus, the current political climate, or by supplying a novel testimony on often-invalidated asexuality, College Feminists’ show conveyed the most important facet of feminism: unity.
Despite systemic violence against women, Friday proved that when we are there to cheer each other on, there is light and an unadulterated pride in womanhood.
There is no doubt that regardless of the socio-political climate, when women are united, they will not be silenced. We are here, we are powerful, and we will grab back.