V. A. G. I. N. A.
You felt weird reading that and I felt weird writing it. I’m actually avoiding all eye contact after even typing that word.
The vagina has always been an enigma shrouded in mystery since the beginning of time. What does it do? Why does it look like that? Does yours do that? Should it smell like that? Why. Is. It. So. Far. Back?
So many questions. So little answers.
Welcoming the audience into Buckman Theater, Women in Support of Humanity (WISH) put on its annual performance of “The Vagina Monologues” in collaboration with the V-Day campaign.
“We do it every year,” Mikaela Rooney, president of WISH said. “It’s a tradition to hold it the week before Valentine’s Day to raise awareness about violence against women, domestic violence and all that sort of stuff. So there’s a campaign started ‘V-Day’ and any money that we raise, we donate to a V-Day approved campaign.”
The Vagina Monologues is a piece written by Eve Ensler and threads together the stories of numerous women and their encounters with their body parts. The monologues included tales told by a vagina workshop attendee, a mother who watched her daughter give birth and it even featured the voice of a six-year-old girl.
Hearing the stories unites the population of girls and women alike as we all struggle to truly understand the intricacies of the vagina. While the script is filled with witty lines and outrageous claims, such as the speech about reclaiming an otherwise demeaning term for vagina, it is clouded with the unfortunate reality that many women don’t know much about their vaginas.
Shaylah Zorn, a senior psychology major, attended the event after hearing about it from a friend.
“I wanted to come because I think we don’t talk enough about women and their vaginas,” Zorn said. “There’s no conversation for a vagina.I feel like it’s necessary to share these types of stories because it’s eye-opening; things you might not experience yourself. I just think it’s important for women to be able to talk to other women about something they all have.”
Hearing the stories of these anonymous women left an uncomfortable ambiance in the theater as we all shared awkward glances with parents and stifled giggles to other girls. That embarrassing tension was quickly followed by the question of “why?” Why is it still taboo to talk about vaginas? Especially when drawing a penis is still considered pure comedy gold. Try drawing a vulva on a car windshield and see how many people think you’re funny.
“Women don’t talk about their bodies a lot,” Hannah Ellis, a senior political science major, said. “Especially with each other and certainly not in public settings.”
As the performance started, the four girls reading the monologues that night stood up and began citing all of the separate words for vagina. “Pussycat.” “Pookie.” “Twat.” “Coochie.” “Powderbox.” The list goes on.
The word elicits an uncomfortable feeling in most people, myself included. We call it by a different name and whisper when we talk about it. Sometimes, it’s just easier to not talk about it at all and to direct any questions over to Google.
“The Vagina Monologues” opens a dialogue that encourages body positivity in girls and women. With stories like “Because He Liked To Look At It” and “The Vagina Workshop,” it promotes self discovery in a culture that shames girls for being too sexual and even too confident.
Ensler herself said, “One of the most radical things women can do is to love their body.”