“Vagina Monologues” Tell the Stories of Many Women

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(Photo by Chris Ayers)

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(Photo by Chris Ayers)
(Photo by Chris Ayers)

Nearly 20 years ago, Eve Ensler interviewed over 200 women about their views on sex, violence and relationships. Ensler compiled it all into “The Vagina Monologues,” and they have been performed ever since.

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The U continued this tradition with its own performance last weekend at UMFA. Eighteen U students and actors from the local community performed or narrated at least one piece that ranged from the comical “My Angry Vagina,” discussing the discomfort of tampons and OBGYN visits, to the serious “My Vagina Was My Village,” a story based on the testimonies of women in Bosnian rape camps. The show mostly followed Ensler’s script; however, statistics on sexual violence and murders of transgender women were updated and made specific to Utah.

Napsugar Hegedus, a director in the production and junior in the theatre program, saw her first “Vagina Monologues” when she was 11 years old and has since been interested.

“I wasn’t just asking my friends to do this, we really reached out to the community,” Hegedus said.

Hegedus said she got in touch with the transgender community but was unable to find an actor for “They Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy … Or So They Tried,” a collection of stories of transgender women. She said they decided to keep the piece in because they did not want to exclude the narrative.

“I thought it was important to share this story,” Hegedus said. “As actors, we are vessels for the story. This isn’t us having an opinion on the story; it is simply us telling the story as it was written.”

The performance was part of the One Billion Rising campaign, a 2012 offshoot of the V-Day Movement, founded by Ensler as a global effort to end rape and sexual violence against women. The one billion refers to a U.N. statistic that one in three women will be raped within their lifetime.

Hegedus said “The Vagina Monologues” is important because it opens discussion on topics of female sexuality and sexual violence.

“We shouldn’t be censoring ourselves to what makes us feel comfortable,” Hegedus said.“I hope [the show is] not something [men] shy away from just because it’s not about their body parts. They are involved with the story.”

Laura Witkop, one of the actors and a junior in the actor training program, said she hopes their performance makes people more aware of their power as a community.

“I think people walk away from this show and feel empowered, and hopefully it inspires,” Witkop said.

“The Vagina Monologues” has been controversial among conservatives and feminists since its conception. Some criticisms of the show are that it’s Western-centric, gives a restrictive view of sexuality and has a lesbian bias.

Cecelia Otto, a freshman in the theatre program, said “I just thought it was super empowering.”

The production received campus support, Hedegus said. ASUU provided $500 to rent the auditorium, and additional funds came from a Kickstarter campaign. All proceeds from the event went to the U’s Women’s Resource Center.

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