Contrary to popular belief, The Vagina Monologues, a play by Eve Ensler, does not require one to be a female in order to take away some semblance of meaning from each individual monologue. Yes, a common theme in the piece is the empowerment of females in regards to their genitalia, but Katie Abbott (coordinator of the Women’s Center) is hoping to break the stigmata that this is the only theme covered in the play. “[It’s about] empowerment of everyone, equality, and the strive to make a difference, to make the world a better place.”
Across the nation, universities perform the piece as a part of the V-Day movement campaign, including Parkside. “We’re trying to make this a yearly tradition,” said Abbott. When it was performed last year, there was a spotlight on women in the Congo. Spotlights act as a way to shine light on situations concerning problems involving women in a certain country. “Every year it’s a different spotlight against what’s happening in the world concerning women.” This year, the spotlight is on women in Haiti, with a monologue dedicated to a woman who worked in Haiti and how she helped; the spotlight serves as a way to shed light on conditions women are facing in Haiti. This concept of making women’s voices heard all around the world is one of the main goals of the V-Day movement, which was started by Ensler, also. “There is a problem; [people don’t know] there’s femicide or that people are using rape as a tactic for war,” stated Abbott. “We need to learn more about other cultures and our own culture.”
According to their website, “V-Day is a global activist movement to stop violence against women and girls. V-Day is a catalyst that promotes creative events to increase awareness, raise money and revitalize the spirit of existing anti-violence organizations. V-Day generates broader attention for the fight to stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM) and sex slavery.” To date, more than 75 million dollars has been raised by the V-Day movement; 300 million people have been helped with that money.
A variety of students are involved with the play; there are even some male volunteers helping out the cause. A total of 25-30 people are involved, some of them volunteers in the Women’s Center. Tickets are $5 a person and the proceeds from the performances will go to the V-Day movement and a local women’s charity. The performances are running from March 4-6, the show times being 7:30 pm on the 4th and 5th and at 2:00 pm on the 6th. The show will be held in the Den, as it was last year.
So, yes, the show is entertaining and sometimes a bit silly, but at the heart of the play is the important message that we have to keep on helping and spreading knowledge about problems concerning females throughout the world. Everyone can enjoy the play and take away a theme relative to their lives, no vagina required. To find out more about the V-Day movement, check out their website at http://www.vday.org. Or, if interested in volunteering at the Women’s Center or you have any questions, you can email Katie Abbott at firstname.lastname@example.org.