I really really really love vaginas.
And I’m absolutely, 100% (okay, I don’t think anyone’s 100% anything, but just for the case of my point…) straight. (Except for Emma Stone. If Emma Stone was like, “Hey, you wanna make out/date/get married/elope, I’d say yes in a heartbeat. She’s amazing.)
The reason I love vaginas? Well, firstly, I’m the proud owner of one. Secondly?
The Vagina Monologues!
Let me hit you with some background (yay context!): Eve Ensler wrote and performed the Vagina Monologues in 1996 at the Off Broadway Westside Theatre in New York City. Soon, women across the globe were identifying with her play, a series of monologues describing everything from a first menstrual period to Bosnian rape camps, female genital mutilation, orgasms, birth, domestic violence, rape and victim-blaming, and everything else that has to do with vaginas.
The monologues were written after interviews with women of all kinds of backgrounds and subcultures, from sex workers to businesswomen, from Native American women to Asian American women to African American women. Women of different religions and walks of life.
If you are a woman, something in this play is for you. You’ll hear it and go, “Oh geeze, I get that.” Or maybe a little bit more.
The monologues aim to make taboos the center of conversation. We are not here to coddle you or jump around the topic; as we read the monologues, essentially the same from year to year, to represent the original women by which they’re inspired, we are telling someone’s story. Stories are not always pretty and do not always have happy endings. But they are real, and they are powerful.
To be honest, I had never met anyone who identified as a lesbian before the Vagina Monologues. I had never met anyone who had gone through sexual assault, abuse, or rape (though looking back, I probably did, since survivors are many). The Monologues opened up my eyes to the problems lurking in our everyday society. They’re part of the reason that I identify as a feminist today.
I am a feminist because I believe in the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. Where I don’t have to worry about being shamed for any kind of unwanted sexual advances I may have to endure in my lifetime. Instead of teaching my future daughters about how careful they must be, I can teach them to live fearlessly.
You can still live fearlessly today; sometimes, though, it comes as a price.
The University of Missouri Vagina Monologues serves multiple purposes: not only are we created conversation around cultural and societal taboos and raising awareness, we are also trying to raise money for organizations that support survivors of violence and sexual assault or rape. One of these is True North Shelter, for women and children affected by domestic or sexual violence or abuse. The VagMons money raised makes up majority of their yearly budget and they rely heavily on our fundraising to help survivors escape troubling situations.
(Yes, I am now blatantly asking for donations.)
If you feel like it, you can donate money by emailing me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can work out how the money will get to the right people here at MU. If you donate to the University of Missouri (since the show has expenses like renting the stage for the night, paying the tech crew, etc), your donation will be tax-deductable. If you choose to donate directly to STARS, the organization that delivers the money to True North, The L.E.A.D Institute, and other beneficiaries, your donation is not tax-deductable. But it’s going to a good cause!!
If you’re in Columbia, MO on Feb. 15th at 7PM, come to MU VagMons at Jesse Auditorium!
We are in this world to change this world. That’s why I do VagMons, and why I love vaginas. What are you here to change?