Back to campus after a three year hiatus was an amazing two-day performance of The Vagina Monologues. And it was spectacular!!! I wasn't officially in charge of publicity for the show - but I should have been. Coming in a close tie for #1 FAN with the families of the performers, I was thrilled and awed by the hard-work the cast of ladies put into this show. I was telling whoever would listen how amazing it was and now I’ll tell you!
Eve Ensler, the creator of the original The Vagina Monologues, had this to say on the subject, "Because no one's ever given them the opportunity to talk. Any time we open the door to a place where we have a lot of feelings or thoughts or stories, we react enthusiastically. The story of your vagina is the story of your life, and women want to talk about their lives."
My best friend and housemate, Arlen, was one of the stars of the show - performing a monologue about a lesbian prostitute. And, girl, did she do an amazing job! She was exciting and stunning and powerful and inspiring. She encapsulated her role and made the audience truly feel her character. Another awesome monologue was performed my new (wannabe) best friend, Becky. Her monologue was called “My Vagina’s Angry” and her performance was breathtaking and brave. She was hilarious and loud and vibrant. She had the best one-liners and left the audience empowered to celebrate female identities. Another one of my favorite monologues touched upon the deeply complex topic of transgender women. Emily would have made Eve Ensler proud as her monologue was personal, emotional, convincing, and raw. She inspired the audience with her words and moved the masses to tears. There were 15 other women who also performed amazing monologues ranging from difficult issues like rape and violence to more light-hearted vagina stories.
Overall the show was a smashing success! But this show did not exist in a vacuum. Over the course of the academic year, the two directors, Dani and Stella, worked tirelessly with the rest of The Vag Team to make sure gender issues were and continue to be spoken about on campus. They worked to make sure that students feel comfortable celebrating their bodies, their genders, and their identities as women (or men or transgender or queer individuals). The Vag Team hosted multiple events throughout the year that touched on deeply sensitive and complex issues of gender and identity. They brought to campus a platform for students to speak about being feminists, owning a certain set of genitalia, occupying assigned gender roles, and having specific sexual identities. They hosted an Open-Mic Night in the fall, a festival called Vulvapalooza in the winter, and even created a website for women to share their stories and experiences online at read-our-lips.com. The Vag Team brought us a safe space where women (and men) were comfortable sharing stories and discussing deeply sensitive issues.
Now, our campus feels energized, engaged, and powerful! We aren't afraid to talk about sensitive issues because we know we have the space to do so. Dani and Stella - I commend you for your amazing efforts to bring this movement back to campus. And to the ladies who performed all the monologues, thank you for your courage and your inspiration - you mean more to this campus than you can begin to know. And to the supporters, friends, families and rest of The Vag Team - you have empowered our campus and brought to Tufts a living and breathing movement. The work goes on, but I know with an enlightened crowd of fervent supporters - we can continue to build up this safe platform and engage even more students in the movement of true equality between the genders.