If a vagina voices its opinion in the middle of Cole Memorial Chapel, does it make a sound? According to the reception of the Vagina Monologues on February 28 to March 1 at 7 p.m., it surely does, and a loud one at that. The Vagina Monologues is a play that was written by Eve Ensler that highlights and illustrates the diversity and importance of the voice and sexuality of women, including topics such as masturbation, sex, birth, rape, and the general female body. The invisibility, meekness, and silence of the vagina and all of her lady-identifying counterparts is no more.
This had been my first time watching the Vagina Monologues, and it had lived up to my extremely high expectations. Not only had I heard fantastic comments about the play itself, but I knew nearly half of the women performing, all incredibly strong feminists and individuals passionate about the voices of vaginas everywhere. Plus, I was both well-aware and completely oblivious to the amount of time, effort, sweat, blood, and tears that went into the production of the show for the previous months leading up to the show. To perform with direct passion, discipline, originality, and accurate representation in the right places at the right times was something that had taken these fine ladies months to accomplish. And their hard work definitely paid off.
The play provided me with a deep, gracious sigh of relief by its defining characteristics of fearless bluntness and raw, testimonial honesty. I felt pangs in described experiences that I had both never been affected by personally, and had experienced on a daily basis. The diversity of the women who had shared their experience trumped stereotypes that even I had not consciously thought about. Women’s sexuality is not a constant pang of youthful, lustrous, heterosexual couples that had peaked in their exploration of their sexuality in middle school sex ed class. The spectrum, impact, diversity, and potency of women’s sexuality is as diverse and potent as women are, and I believe that the Wheaton women’s performance and rendition of the Vagina Monologues represented that perfectly.
Why is women’s sexuality so important, you might ask? I believe that the more that we understand the pleasures and needs of women in sexual (and general) circumstances, the more that we will understand the man’s. Not to say that men’s sexuality is codependent on women’s sexuality, and vis versa, given the diversity of sexual orientation among all individuals. Ultimately, the more people that are accepted by society in their sexual desires and openness, the more consensual, accepting, and pleasurable sex will be for all.
However, The Vagina Monologues is not to be confused with a general celebration of women, as it is, more than anything, the celebration of the vagina. To be a woman is not about having a vagina, but to identify as one, as is relevant in the lives of transgender women. Nonetheless, The Vagina Monologues is getting us engaged in the issue of women’s sexuality, and invites dialogue that has been shamed and silenced for centuries. Although being transgender is not a statement on one’s sexuality, it is difficult to state that the play celebrates the whole of women’s sexuality, when some do not have vaginas in the first place.
Ultimately, Wheaton’s women and their celebration of womanhood and vaginas was enthralling and empowering. Pussies unite!