Vagina Monologues raise awareness

Story and Photo by Molly Lamoureux

vaginamono-w2000-h2000Woman, n, pl, women: “the art of being all things to everyone at all times and still wearing makeup.”

That’s what the definition should be for Eve Ensler, creator of the Vagina Monologues.

As a noted author, playwright and activist, Ensler has spent the majority of her adult life raising awareness of the violence and neglect that many women are victims of, simply because of their gender.

The Monologues debuted as an off-Broadway play in 1996, and have since become an international sensation making their way to France, Mexico, England and more.

Drake University has followed suit, like many other universities and communities in America, by hosting its own Vagina Monologues event on Feb. 27, 28 and March 1 at 7 p.m. in Sussman Theater located in Lower Olmsted.

The production gives the cast of 28 women (which varies from year to year) an opportunity to share funny and witty female insights, describe the trials and tribulations of womanhood and talk about the traumatic life-changing events of rape and abuse through various group and solo monologues.

Kailyn Miller, a first-year, looks forward to her Vagina Monologues debut with a group piece told from the point of view of a transgendered woman.

“It’s something that is considered taboo to talk about when it really shouldn’t be. We’re giving a voice to these women,” Miller said.

The entertainment doesn’t start there, though. On each of the performance nights, doors open at 6 p.m. with the Vagina Carnival.

The Carnival hosts a silent auction, sells awareness buttons, houses a makeshift thrift shop and surprises guests with festive activities like “decorate your own vagina.”

Tickets for the Monologues are sold at the door at $7 a person.

While students attend the event for free with their Drake I.D., donations are accepted and appreciated.

Kylie Rush, senior at Drake and co-director of the Monologues alongside Maria Hanson, explained the importance of donating to the event, “ … to raise money for our beneficiary, which happens to be the Iowa Coalition against Sexual Assault this year … We also invite pro-women organizations (to the Carnival)like Young Women’s Resource Center as well as Hollaback! … an online organization that promotes awareness of street harassment (of women).”

While the event is hosted on campus, the public’s attendance is encouraged.

“It’s important for everyone to know about sexual assault and gender violence. It’s not necessarily something we talk about a lot. It’s really important that we have a community where we can voice these kinds of things and take advantage of that opportunity,” Rush said.

Each night the Monologues are performed, the cast honors a “Vagina Warrior” of the Drake Community — someone who shows outstanding effort in the fight for gender equality and an end to gender violence.

Congratulate the winners along with the rest of the cast over a plate of vagina-shaped chocolates, which will be offered at the event.

Please note: the play will contain explicit language, descriptions of rape, sexual assault, domestic abuse and other forms of sexual violence.

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