My Vagina and Me
There aren’t many better ways to celebrate International Women’s Day than The Vagina Monologues, so, feeling festive, I found myself at Café Cleopatra Saturday night to witness Concordia’s sixth annual production of the play.
Put on in association with the Concordia Student Union’s “Gender Month” and Volunteers In Action, all revenue from the production was donated to The Centre for Gender Advocacy—amounting to over $2,000 by the beginning of the show.
The first monologues were written in 1996, and since times have changed, the performers were not about to pretend that the vagina conversation hasn’t changed at all since then. Since feminism is always changing, we in the audience were asked to take a moment to dream about where it could and should go in the future.
I was excited to see the performer’s interpretation of where feminism is now, and after a witty and engaging introduction the show began with the message “We’re worried about our vaginas.”
It seems that there’s a lot to be worried about. The monologues covered an extremely diverse range of topics and questions and many in fact were hilarious.
In “The Woman Who Liked To Make Vaginas Happy,” Donnub Jafarzadeh gave us an impossibly accurate presentation of types of moaning, from doggy style moans to clitoris orgasm moans, embracing a woman’s right to express passion and enjoyment without holding back.
If Jafarzadeh can reproduce the moans on stage while acting out their physical counterparts, there’s no reason we should we feel shy about screaming out in private.
It was important to remember, however, that the audience’s completely appropriate eruptions of laughter didn’t mean that the topics covered shouldn’t be taken seriously.
Comedy, like so much art, has the ability to get people to acknowledge the issues at hand without getting uncomfortable. For example, in a non-humor context it might be a little difficult to get an entire audience to scream out “cunt!” proudly in unison. If you’re laughing it means you’ve been listening, and that’s the whole point.
Some of the monologues, however, did not resort to humour to get their points across.
The story told by Madeline Smart in “My Vagina Was My Village” hit me hard, just as it should have. It addressed the terrors of the use of rape as a weapon of war in Bosnia in the early ‘90s, and painted a picture of the collective suffering that was as devastating as it was beautiful. But rape has been used as a weapon in far more places than Bosnia, and I appreciated that the performers acknowledged the missing and murdered Indigenous women right here in Canada.
One of the most impressive things about the production was its diversity. The topics were definitely varied, and so were the characters. The audience was given perspectives ranging from a six year old to a 70-year-old, reminding us of the generational differences in a woman’s relationship with her vagina.
Most importantly to me, though, was diversity of gender. Not everyone who has a vagina is a woman, and although this point was not addressed originally in 1996, this year’s team made a point of adding it in.
A monologue was put together with a trans collaborator, resulting in the representation of a vagina-woman relationship that cannot be ignored
The ideas brought up during the performance were expressed so artfully that I often forgot the performers on stage were actors.
Although a simple production, it was technically flawless and the talent blew me away—though I was not as impressed by the interpretive dance as I was by the acting.
This was my very first Vagina Monologues and what I loved most was how it left me. My boyfriend and I spent the rest of the night talking about what we had seen and how we felt about it.
It opened up the conversation about sex, allowing us to express our insecurities and wants without feeling uncomfortable about our vulnerability; such openness can only change a sexual relationship for the better.
But in the end my vagina is not about him, it’s about me, and after a night of monologues I can proudly say that she is beautiful.
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