Vaginas are beautiful. Our self-hatred is only the internalized repression and hatred of the patriarchal culture. It isn’t real. Pussies unite.”
And that they did Saturday, March 1, at UW drama department’s performance of The Vagina Monologues, held in Hagey Hall.
The monologues, written by women victimized by self-hate, violence, and rape called into the spotlight what it means to respect one’s womanhood, and more accurately, to respect that which makes us women: the vagina.
The show discussed some touchy subjects — literally. Everything from a young girl’s first time touching herself to another woman’s wonderful experience with a man who loved all things vagina — the sight, smell, taste, and feel of them — were covered throughout the night.
Women shared stories of how they came to love their vaginas and themselves, rather than being embarrassed and humiliated by them. The evening took a more sombre turn, however, when topics of violence were brought to the stage in the form of testimonies written by rape and abuse victims.
“There are stories from all over the world, but we also focus in on KW stats. It’s raising awareness that there are things happening on the other side of the world, but there’s also things happening here,” said Kelly Conlan, director of this year’s Vagina Monologues at UW.
“These issues are really prevalent in our community as well,” added stage manager Brianne Haydon.
Throughout the entire performance, the vagina was depicted as “a tool of female empowerment, and the ultimate embodiment of individuality” as stated on The Vagina Monologues official Facebook page.
The annual benefit performance of Eve Ensler’s novel is just one of the several campaigns under the global feminist movement known as VDay. VDay stages both local and large-scale events to raise awareness for violence against women. The anti-violence initiative also collects money for both local and international benefactors dedicated to the protection of women and girls.
This year’s showing of The Vagina Monologues raised funds for local women’s shelter programs run by the Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region.
The compilation of monologues was brought to an end with an invitation to all those in the audience to join the one billion rising to end violence against women and girls.
“I think the final spotlight monologue was a really good reflection of International Women’s Week … [it] represented certain issues of violence and the femicide that happens,” said Haydon.
“We will not stop until the violence stops” were the last words spoken in unison by all those involved in the night’s production as they stood hand in hand in solidarity for women’s rights around the world.