The Velvet Underground

“The Vagina Monologues,” which is traditionally hosted by the Feminist Majority on Valentine’s Day (a romantic gathering if there ever was one), is a series of monologues dedicated to the “itsy-bitsy,” to the “down there,” to the “vulva,” to the “pussy cat” and to the many other euphemisms that refer to a woman’s vagina. The event was reasonably well-attended: the public was made up mostly of women, though a reasonable number of men were also present and ready to “reclaim the word ‘cunt.’”

The monologues ranged from the hilarious, to the touching, to the downright miserable–miserable, unfortunately, because they are based on facts. The one on genital mutilation, for one, was met with silence, instead of the traditional applause. And this is very indicative of what “The Vagina Monologues” are about. While most are humorous and clever, with the intent to embrace women and their sexuality–old women admitting to having never fully accepted sexual arousal, to young women confessing that it was only when they met lackluster Bob, who just happened to be a “connoisseur,” that they were finally able to appreciate their vaginas–the idea is to educate women through honest rhetoric. It is a way for issues such as sexual abuse, periods, homosexuality, orgasms, and many others which are considered too sensitive and taboo, to be addressed out in the open. “The Vagina Monologues” is a forum of sorts, a venue where women can speak and admit to things that affect them on a very personal level. Students were even encouraged to write a “vagina monologue” of their own, though no one did.

This year, only women read all the monologues, and many of the same group read more than one text. Perhaps next year it would be more interesting if there were more diversity in the speakers. After all, while the whole affair does seem to be exceedingly feminine, body and sexual images affect everyone, not only women. That said, there seemed to be no real complaints from the audience, who was entertained throughout the monologues, with much laughter and some nodding taking place whenever something particularly convincing and familiar was described, along with the occasional murmur of disbelief.

Ultimately, “The Vagina Monologues,” if anything else, is a good cause: the public is encouraged to donate money, and all of it goes to a woman’s charity. Three of the lucky donors, chosen at random, won a vibrator, one of the more intimate ways of embracing one’s vagina.