The Vagina Monologues: A Review

 

 

As a self-proclaimed, loud-and-proud feminist, I expected to love the Vagina Monologues. Instead, I had mixed feelings.

First of all, this must be said: I have a great amount of respect for every actor who participated. With such vulnerable, sometimes embarrassing, emotionally evocative content, it takes an immense amount courage to get up in front of hundreds of people and leave your heart on the stage.

That being said, I didn’t love every monologue in the series. I thought that if you are a woman or a person who has a vagina, you could understand most of it. If you were a feminist, you would likely agree with most of the messages shared. But if you were a person without a vagina or someone who doubts feminist ideology, this probably wouldn’t shake up your worldview.

Some monologues were so poetic, I thought it took away the meaning of what was being said. As a liberal feminist (with a vagina), some of the poetry and some of the silliness made it difficult for even me to understand the purpose of the show. I was expecting to hear real stories that highlighted the struggles that everyday women face: our struggles to feel sexually empowered, to feel confident, to accept ourselves, and to deal with traumas such as rape and discrimination. All of these topics were present, but they could be hard to find at times. Some monologues had me confused when they seemed goofy, weird, or even pointless to me.

 

But,

 

I think the point was not to shout, “Be a feminist! Feminism is awesome! Being a woman is hard!” at us, as I was expecting. The point of the Vagina Monologues was to make us think and to get us talking. 

The struggles of women are not all the same. No issue comes in black and white. But by sharing common experiences, poetic stories, and hilarious skits, we have to make the decision for ourselves about what we believe in regards to women's traumas, sexuality, and morality. We have to take the stories provided to us, interpret them, and make sense of them ourselves. 

It's easy to say “Rape is bad,” “Sex and body positivity is good,” and other cliches we’re often told. It’s harder to tell personal stories that are the “gray” between black and white: not being able to find the clitoris, thinking our vaginas are ugly, orgasming (or not), etc., are all female struggles. But they’re not necessarily what we think of as the “female struggles” that everyone will relate to or find particularly troublesome.

In my personal view, I think the point of the Vagina Monologues was not to convert people to feminism or convince men that women have it harder than they do. I think the point of the show was to unite women and people with vaginas through storytelling, poetry, and humor, and simply to get us to talk.

With this purpose, no one can relate to every monologue. You won’t find yourself agreeing with every opinion or being emotionally moved by every story. But you can relate, laugh, and hopefully learn about the lives of others by listening to monologues you may not agree with.

All in all, I have mixed feelings about the show. I didn’t love every part of it. But I left with a feeling of community, with knowing that I wasn’t alone in my own beliefs and past thoughts, and feeling more connected and safe with a band of sisters who just get it.

I applaud the actors and directors for their courage and vulnerability in their performances. I also thank them for making me laugh, tear up, and expand my mind to be more open than it was before.