By Mia Ingui
“That’s it. I can’t take this. My vagina is angry!”
A student rose from the crowd in Mayo Concert Hall, taking the audience by surprise. Molly Knapp, a sophomore women’s, gender and sexuality studies major, walked onto the stage, still visibly upset, saying, “My vagina is not going away. It’s pissed off, and it’s right here,” beginning her monologue, “Angry Vagina.”
“If my vagina could talk, it would talk about itself,” Knapp said. “And other vaginas. Do vagina impressions. It would wear Harry Winston diamonds. No clothes, just drenched in diamonds. My vagina, it wants everything.”
Women In Learning and Leadership presented the “Vagina Monologues” during the weekend of Friday, Feb. 17, to tell stories of self-hatred, self-denial and self-love.
“We forget the vagina. The heart is capable of sacrifice, but so is the vagina. It can ache for us, stretch for us, die for us and bleed us into this wonderful existence,” said Katie Mclaughlin, a senior history and secondary education dual major, in one monologue.
In an ode to empowered minds and bodies and an informative session on the vagina, students took the stage of Mayo Concert Hall while the audience stood up out of their seats, pledged to do their part to end violence against women and proudly shouted “cunt.”
Written by the Tony Award-winning playwright and activist Eve Ensler, the monologues have been performed by the powerful voices of women in more than 140 countries in 48 different languages.
Mary Lynn W. Hopps, director of WILL and a women’s, gender and sexuality studies professor, welcomed the audience to the monologues.
She believes the show was originally created because “something dramatic needed to be done about the violence against women.”
She discussed the history of the monologues and shared a collection of stories about women who, through their struggles, touched millions.
The show officially began with an introduction from three students.
“Women secretly love to talk about their vagina. Mostly because no one’s ever asked them about it before,” said Jaclyn Corbo, a freshman pre-law major.
A monologue performed by senior English and secondary education dual major Jenna Burke entitled “Hair” told a story about loving the natural female body.
“My husband made me shave my vagina,” Burke said. “It made me look like a little girl, which made him excited. I refused to shave it again. Then, my husband had an affair. But hair is there for a reason. It’s the leaf around the flower, the lawn around the house.”
Freshman political science major Claudia Arias performed “The Flood,” a story of a 72-year-old woman who’s never looked at her own vagina.
“I haven’t been down there since 1953,” Arias said. “We didn’t do this kind of thing when I was a girl. I can’t do this, talk about down there.”
Arias encouraged the crowd to embrace their bodies in ways they were afraid to before.
Similarly, the next story entitled “The Vagina Workshop” encouraged women to explore and understand their bodies.
“My vagina is a shell. A flower. I learned this in the vagina workshop,” said Sam Franz, a sophomore communication studies and English double major. “I did not see my vagina as something attached to me. It seemed so reductive looking at it. But then, my vagina amazed me. My vagina is a tulip, a shell, a destiny. My vagina: me.”
Emily Mullin, a senior art and early childhood education double major, followed with the brief “Vagina Happy Fact” monologue.
“The clitoris is the only organ in the body created for pleasure, with twice as many nerves as the penis,” she said.
“They Beat the Girl out of my Boy… or so They Tried” told the story of an individual that did not identify with the sex they were born into and explored their struggle to live as their true identity.
Briana Dioses, a senior early childhood urban education and women’s, gender and sexuality studies double major followed with the “Not-so-Happy Fact:” female genital mutilation has been inflicted on approximately 125 million young women, according to a 2013 Unicef study.
Gigi Garrity, a sophomore psychology major, followed with “My Short Skirt.”
“My short skirt, believe it or not, has nothing to do with you,” she said. “My short skirt, and everything underneath, it is mine, mine, mine.”
Haley Witko, a senior interactive multimedia major, presented the monologue “Reclaiming Cunt.” The audience was invited to chant “cunt” until it’s negative meaning was refined.
“The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy,” performed by Bridget Appleby, a senior psychology major, was a shameless ode to unleashing and demanding pleasure in one’s sex life.
“I Was There in the Room,” by Katie Mclaughlin, a senior history and secondary education dual major, then discussed one of the most important tasks of the vagina: childbirth.
Closing the show was Olivia Laura, a senior psychology and women’s, gender and sexuality studies double major, with “My Revolution Lives in This Body.”
“My revolution does not require approval or permission,” Laura said. “It happens because it has to happen. It may be happening already. My revolution is swelling from the insatiable drumming between my legs.”
Although the monologues are performed annually at the College, each student brought a different perspective to the production.
According to alumna Kayla Termyna (’16), former vice executive chair of WILL, she “couldn’t be happier” with how the show went.
“We all worked so hard, and it’s such a special time every year,” she said. “Especially, this year when a lot has happened, I think that we all need to be inspired and push forward to continue to go out and defend other women.”