A year ago this week, I was focused on V-Day, but in a very different way from the Hallmark hearts and flowers kind. I embraced my sisterhood and went on stage in The Vagina Monologues, which is traditionally performed at Valentine’s Day as a fundraiser for women’s shelters and rape crisis offices.
For those of you who don’t know the play, Eve Ensler wrote the collection of monologues by women about various aspects of the female experience, some positive, like self-acceptance, some negative like rape and the destruction of self-esteem. She wanted to celebrate the vagina, a part of the body normally not to be discussed. But as the monologues reveal, often the taboo of discussing the vagina led to the suppression of its violation by men and other aspects of society.
We did the play with a group of women outside of the normal community theatre clique, some who had experienced the traumas and joys delineated in the Monologues, and some who hadn’t, married, divorced, single, college-age, menopausal, one girl even pregnant. I was honored to essentially “play” Eve, as I was the hostess who introduced each piece, and then culminated the show with I Was There in the Room, a piece Eve wrote after observing the birth of her granddaughter, something I had experienced as well.
Some of it was hilarious, like My Angry Vagina, where a young woman complains about the indignities of feminine hygiene and gynecologists. Other pieces are heart-breaking, like My Vagina was my Village, about a Bosnian woman. As many as 70,000 women were raped in that area of Europe during the 1993 war, and our minds cry out against the outrage. But as Eve says, “In (the U.S.), in one year, over 700,000 women are raped. And theoretically, we’re not at war.”
So the campaign to support women is not over. If you get a chance to see this show, GO. (Yes. Men too. It’ll be good for you.) You will laugh, you will cry, and you will contemplate the question, “If your vagina could talk, what would it say?”
I hope it would say only good things. Happy V-Day.