V for vagina: Monologues give back to area

Bobby Shipman

Post-Valentine’s Day dazes have USI students daydreaming about roses, candy and steamy nights, but for the past month, a handful of Eagles have been viewing sexuality through a more anatomical lens: the vagina.

Eve Ensler’s award-winning play “The Vagina Monologues” takes the stage at USI for the eighth annual year at 7 p.m. March 4 and 5 in Forum III.

The play is a compilation of monologues discussing the daily struggles women face.

Assistant Professor of Philosophy Mary Stoll directs the program.

“It (is) really funny. People think it’s all really sad and about gang rape, and I mean that’s in there, that’s part of the story of vaginas, but there’s so much funny stuff,” Stoll said. “There are really hilarious monologues about aging and about dating, and discovering new things about yourself. We have had people literally falling down in the aisle laughing.”

Stoll said the production will take a different turn this year.

“We have two spotlight monologues this year, which will be monologues that no one has ever heard before,” Stoll said. “One is called ‘And Then We Were Jumping,’ which deals with some of Eve Ensler’s kind of personal issues with her father, but also putting that in a broader political context of gender politics.”

The other spotlight monologue “One Billion Rising” is about encouragement all over the world to rise up against gender violence, she said.

“The Vagina Monologues” features students, alumna and faculty alike.

“Some of them are really passionate about thwarting sexes,” Stoll said. “So we’ve got some people that really care about gender inequalities.”

Stoll said the main purpose of the monologues is to give women a voice over oppression.

“It’s not that there aren’t that many of us (women), but the way that oppression works is we’re not allowed to talk about it right?” she said. “If we don’t talk about sex and we don’t talk about our genitalia, we can’t talk about it when we are violated. So the silence is how you keep a non-minority oppressed. It is just by not giving them the social spaces in which to talk about it.”

Senior psychology and philosophy double-major Alexandra Levine plans on having women’s empowerment workshops or becoming a rape rehabilitation major after graduation, so it is no wonder she was attracted to the play in her freshman year at USI.

“I fell in love with it, and every (year) since 2010, I have been volunteering to do it. So this is my fourth year,” Levine said.

Due to seniority, Levine said she was unable to do her favorite monologue “My Angry Vagina” until now.

“It is kind of an overview of the frustrations that a lot of women have about what it’s like to be a woman in society,” she said. “What it’s like to go to a gynecologist, the frustrations of things like tampons and thongs, and the way that people treat their vaginas.”

Levine said she loves the crowd’s reactions each year.

“It’s always priceless. Sometimes they’re shocked and you can see people’s mouths drop and they’re like, ‘what did she just say?’” she said.

She plans on participating in the monologues regardless of where her future takes her, she said.

Tickets cost $7 and 90 percent of the proceeds go to the “Willow Tree” of Posey County which works on providing assistance to women and girls dealing with domestic assault and violence. The other 10 percent goes to the “Global V-day Campaign.”

“They can’t keep their electricity on right now. So even if people hate (the show) just come and make a donation,” Levine said. “Because that’s why we are all volunteering to do it. We are all just trying to help those women that are in the shelter system.”