?oeIf Your Vagina Could Talk, What Would It Say?ƒ??

By Rose Patterson

While womenƒ?TMs sexuality is rarely discussed in popular discourse, one play attempts to bring the subjective of sexuality and womenƒ?TMs bodies to the forefront of a global anti-violence movement. The nine cast members who performed ƒ?oeThe Vagina Monologuesƒ?? on Macalesterƒ?TMs campus last weekend hoped to approach the subject in a way many women around the world have: by addressing themes of knowledge, acceptance, liberation, joy, sorrow and anger. The anatomical bundle of nerves many women are sadly unfamiliar with proves to be a surprisingly powerful medium for conveying the breadth and depth of womenƒ?TMs experiences. ƒ?oeThe Vagina Monologuesƒ?? was first conceived by playwright, performer and activist Eve Ensler in 1996. It has slowly morphed from being a short piece performed at small New York cafAcs into an internationally-recognized success. Today, the play has been translated into over 35 languages and is performed in theatres around the world. Based on Enslerƒ?TMs interviews with more than 200 women, ƒ?oeThe Vagina Monologuesƒ?? celebrates female sexuality and raises awareness about everyday issues affecting women worldwide.

One monologue celebrates a transformative realization that the vagina could be ƒ?oea pearl, a tulip, a destiny…ƒ?? In locating its locus, one woman overcame a lifelong fear that she was born without the ability to experience sexual pleasure. Her doubt is larger then herself, her discovery a source of empowerment for all women.

The show specifically addresses misogyny, from the millions of women who are abused every year in the U.S. to the victims of systematic violence of warfare epitomized by the Japanese Government’s ƒ?oeComfort Women.ƒ?? Some 50,000 to 200,000 women were taken against their will to offer their sexual services to soldiers during the Asia/Pacific Wars between 1932 and 1945. The monologue entitled “My Vagina Was My Village,” tells the story of one such woman, portraying a joyful, innocent youth traumatized by soldiers who ravaged her body and villageƒ?”in essence, the abodes of her soul. ƒ?oeI donƒ?TMt touch anymore. Donƒ?TMt visit there. I live someplace else now. I donƒ?TMt know where that is,ƒ?? she ends sadly.

The play is performed annually in honor of V-Day, a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. This grassroots cause was started by Ensler in 1997. When Ensler took ƒ?oeThe Vagina Monologuesƒ?? on the road, she was surprised by the overwhelming feedback from her female viewers. In a testimonial for Random House, Ensler reveals, ƒ?oeThe play had somehow freed up their memories, pain, and desire. Night after night I heard the same stories…. Slowly it dawned on me that nothing was more important than stopping violence toward women.”

To keep the play relevant to contemporary audiences, new stories are introduced as others are circulated through. In just seven years, it has raised over $30 million and was named one of Worth magazine’s “100 Best Charities.” When this mission is accomplished, V-Day will be known as ƒ?oeVictory Over Violence Day.ƒ??