‘Vagina Monologues’ seek justice


Photo by The Shield

Alex Levine, a six time V-Day veteran, demonstrates all the ways her character likes to pleasure women in the monologue “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy” last year.

In soft lighting that seemed to have a hint of pink in its glow, performers and the audience chanted in unison to reclaim the word ‘cunt.’

The university’s presentation of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ Feb. 23 and 24 drew a packed crowd filling up Forum 3 by the time the show began. Within each monologue, performers illustrated a female’s perception of her sexuality and ultimately, her vagina.

After rallying the crowd in chanting a widely derogatory word, sophomore Olivia Phelps excitedly said, “Yes!” as she and other females found justice in being able to say it themselves.

“I was shaking,” the criminal justice major said. “It was exciting that everybody actually responded.”

Phelps said being able to garner a reaction from the entire crowd to reclaim the word ‘cunt’ felt crucial.

“It’s really humbling,” she said. “It’s fun, but it’s awareness. It’s important.”

Mary Stoll, associate professor of philosophy and ‘The Vagina Monologues’ organizer, performed several monologues during the performance, her voice changing to fit narratives ranging from a six-year-old girl to a Bosnian victim of violence.

“It’s about seeking justice in the world,” Stoll said. “In a world where gender equality seems not to matter to those in charge, we need to see women treated with the respect they deserve.”

She has been involved in ‘The Vagina Monologues’ at the university for 11 years, and said in the past they’ve raised a couple thousand dollars each year.

“We don’t spend anything in production costs,” Stoll said. “Every bit of it goes to our fundraising.”

The proceeds from the event go to Willow Tree of Posey County, an organization that helps women who have experienced sexual assault and domestic violence, and the V-Day 2017 Spotlight Campaign, which works to end violence against women in the workplace.

“The whole point is to give voice to women whose voices are not often heard,” Stoll said. “They are not silenced. Through this, people get to hear their stories.”

‘The Vagina Monologues’ script is based upon author Eve Ensler’s interviews with 200 women on their views on sexuality and violence and is performed nationwide.

“There’s a sense of empowerment that comes from this,” Stoll said. “You don’t have to go global to fix some of these problems. You can participate in an event right here in Evansville.”

She said through both humor and incredibly serious stories, ‘The Vagina Monologues’ is ever-important.

“Life is like that. It can’t be all fun,” Stoll said. “We need to know people are suffering in order to fight. . . we use these stories to move forward.”