Every week, Features Editor Alyssa Gautieri hits the archives and finds old Signals that relate to current College topics and top stories.
It has become an annual tradition for students at the College to perform “The Vagina Monologues,” a show in which women discuss controversial topics such as rape, sexual slavery and violence against women. Although the performances don’t change much from year to year, each student-performer adds creativity and perspective to the show. This year, Women In Learning and Leadership hosted the annual show during the weekend of Friday, Feb. 17, in Mayo Concert Hall.
The numbers are impressive: 700 universities and colleges are involved in it; 37 women from the College performed in it this year; it has raised more than $30 million for women and girls worldwide; and it is empowered by one word. Vagina.
The monologues transform a taboo subject into a conversational one, retelling the stories of more than 200 women who spoke to Ensler about their vaginas.
“Women talking about vaginas makes them more confident,” Maya Eilam, senior English and women’s and gender studies major and a director, said.
Fellow director Honor Friberg, senior women’s and gender studies major, added, “It’s saying that the vagina is more than just an organ, it’s a concept.”
The monologues explore a range of emotions, from the comical responses to what does your vagina smell like and what would it wear, to the heart-wrenching story of a Bosnian woman’s rape.
The College has hosted “The Vagina Monologues” for five years, and while the script does not change much, it still attracts a full house annually. Jessica Deringer, junior psychology major, attributes this to the personality each actress brings to her monologue.
“Each person interprets it differently, so you fall in love with new monologues each year,” she said.
Among the standout performers this year were Leslie Stickler, junior psychology and women’s and gender studies major, who threw an on-stage tantrum for “My Angry Vagina.”
Eliana Reyes, sophomore communication studies major, had the audience and her fellow actresses on stage bursting out in laughter with her orgasmic moans in “The Woman Who Liked to Make Vaginas Happy.”
Marne Clune, senior business administration major, invited the audience to shout out “cunt” for her monologue that reclaimed the obscene word through its phonetic beauty.
The cast slowly gathered on stage as each woman delivered her monologue, and their unity ultimately extended to the audience. At the end of the show, Hopps asked every woman who has ever been or known a victim of violence to stand and break the silence. Then, she asked everyone committed to ending violence against women to stand – which brought the entire applauding audience to its feet.