Why We Need The Vagina Monologues

Over the course of this year, our fem-identifying campus community has endured a lot of very difficult circumstances. From the burnings of t-shirts to the controversy surrounding our Title Nine Policies, many of us have been left feeling uneasy and unsafe about being here on our campus. None of this, I imagine, is new to anyone reading this. Our entire site has been flooded with powerful articles about what we have experienced thus far, and where our concerns lie. However, as important as it is to focus and discuss these issues, I also think that it’s important to highlight the amazing things our fem-identifying community has accomplished. And I felt the most pride this week, performing alongside my fellow Vagina Warriors in Eve Ensler’s "The Vagina Monologues."

For those of you who are unaware, The Vagina Monologues is a play written by Eve Ensler that is internationally performed every February to raise awareness on violence against women. Ever since its premier in 1996, The Vagina Monologues has been performed at Augustana as a charity event to raise money for our local women’s charities. While the cast has usually been comprised of members from our performing arts community, this year’s cast was made up of women from all across campus. It was one of the largest casts ever, with over fifty participants and at least one performer from six of our seven sororities. And, perhaps most importantly, it was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had here at Augustana.

The Vagina Monologues was composed of a cast of women who chose to take time out of their busy schedules to gather as a unified body and perform. Many of the participants were already performers, and many were not. We came from different Greek groups, majors, sports, and clubs. There were straight women, gay women, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals. There were women of color, women from across the country, women from small rural towns and big cities. We were different, but we made up one powerful body. Together we felt uplifted, positive, even powerful. We were proud of ourselves.

I so often think that women have a tendency to feel isolated. Although we don’t often talk about it, we live in a world where women demean other women. Most of us have experienced it personally to a certain degree, whether through childhood bullies or negative relationships with co-workers. Sometimes it can feel as though we are fighting against the world alone. Being a part of The Vagina Monologues, however, showed me that women aren’t alone. At the end of the day, most of us want to love and help one another. We care for other women and want each other to succeed despite the hardships we may face. The Vagina Monologues isn’t just about raising awareness of women’s issues; it’s about women coming together to support each other. And that, I think, is the most powerful message of all.