Monologues to encourage female empowerment

Shannon Hall

Alexandra Levine will present the monologue about reclaiming the word “cunt” for this year’s “Vagina Monologues.”
“At one point, the word ‘bitch’ was offensive, and now it can be used on TV,” the senior psychology and philosophy major said.

The monologue tries to redefine the word “cunt” so that it may no longer be used as a derogatory insult, she said.

“The use of the word comes from ignorance,” Levine said. “It’s important to consider getting comfortable with it, and empowering women to not be afraid of the word.”

Levine said “The Vagina Monologues” aren’t just for women.

“My boyfriend, step-dad and brother are coming,” she said.

She said more than half of the tickets are sold to men, which Levine said means a lot more men are getting involved and becoming aware.

“Men are a majority, and this is a way for heterosexual men to truly understand and appreciate their partners,” she said.

This year is the 15th anniversary of Eve Ensler’s work of the “Vagina Monologues,” which is a global event. USI’s “Vagina Monologues” will be at 7 p.m. today and Friday in Forum 3. Tickets cost $7.

“Eve Ensler did a series of interviews with women of a vast, diverse array of experiences, talking (about) their experiences as women,” said MaryLyn Stoll, associate professor of philosophy. “Some of the monologues are really heart-wrenching. The one that I do, for instance, is about a woman who was gang raped in war and actually had her vagina mutilated. The attack on her village was also a personal attack on her body and her self.”

Although many of the monologues are about serious topics, some can be humorous.

“It’s not just the sad stories. (There are) also really empowering stories, really funny stories – all the things that people don’t talk about because-” Stoll stopped and continued in a whisper, “you’re not supposed to talk about vaginas.”

With it being the 15th year, “The Vagina Monologues” just launched its global campaign, “One Billion Rising.”

Three women – two USI students and a USI alumna – will present personal monologues about why they are rising.

“One billion now and in the future will experience domestic violence,” Stoll said.

All the proceeds go to help issues of sexual assault and domestic violence. Ten percent of USI’s “Vagina Monologues” proceeds will go to “One Billion Rising” and the other 90 percent will go to Posey County’s Willow Tree, which provides domestic violence and sexual assault advocacies.

“They are a small organization, so they can really use all the help they can get,” Stoll said.

Stoll co-produced USI’s “Vagina Monologues.”

“I love that you get a bunch of women together, and it’s about empowerment,” she said. “It’s about not being silenced. We’ve literally had people fall-down laughing in the audience. Seeing people cracking up that hard – it’s kind of great. Knowing that you created this moment in Evansville – of all places – is where people are seriously having an awesome time and learning.”

The Thursday night performance tends to sell out, Stoll said. To buy advanced tickets, email her at [email protected].

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.