Throughout the month of February, college campuses and communities across the country will be putting on performances of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ as part of the V-Day movement.
Eve Ensler, who wrote ‘The Vagina Monologues,’ gave the rights to produce the monologues without a fee. The proceeds from all the productions of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ go to organizations that help stop violence against women.
On Feb. 6, many students and residents in the community attended UCI’s third annual performance of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ at the Bren Events Center.
Janelle Eagle, a fourth-year drama major and the publicity director of this year’s performance, started the V-Day movement at UCI three years ago because she liked the idea of using the arts to educate people.
‘Taking a show that’s educational and funny and, at the same time, raising money to stop violence is the overall goal of V-Day in general,’ Eagle said.
Furthermore, Eagle believes that anyone who watches the show will be able to identify and relate with the issues discussed.
‘Any woman or man sitting in the audience who listens to the monologues on stage can relate to them because they cover such a broad spectrum,’ Eagle said.
This year’s proceeds will be going to three beneficiaries. Some of it will go to UCI’s Campus Assault Resource Program, which was started after the closing of the Center for Women and Men. CARP will also be donating to ‘Women Helping Women,’ a local battered women’s shelter in Orange County and the International League of Women in Iraq.
According to Eagle, the day in which the most domestic violence occurs in the United States is Super Bowl Sunday, which is why the V-Day committee decided to have their performance on Feb. 6.
Abby Gunn, a third-year sociology major, has acted in ‘The Vagina Monologues’ since it started at UCI and decided to get involved because it interested her.
‘I really wasn’t prepared for how powerful an experience it is,’ Gunn said. ‘As a woman, we’re always told what we should be. We have to be thinner and prettier. But with this show, we’re celebrating who we are and what makes us essentially and biologically women.’
With a cast of 22 women and many more helping with the production, Alex Lee, a second-year drama major, was the executive producer of this year’s show and one of the few men involved in the production.
Lee had decided to get involved after his friend was found in a dumpster tortured and murdered last year.
‘I had this theory that if women were to grow the way they were meant to grow and violence against women and children stopped, that would be the catalyst for world peace and I’m a huge advocate for that,’ Lee said.
Lee decided to accept the role of executive producer because he thought he would be able to attract the attention of men to these issues.
‘While women can create change, if men won’t listen to women about these issues, then maybe they’ll listen to me,’ Lee said.
According to Eagle, over 400 undergraduate females are raped or sexually assaulted at UCI.
‘In Orange County, there’s a lot of denial that violence occurs and the closing of the Center for Women and Men proves to me that this show has to continue year after year,’ Eagle said.
UCI’s ‘The Vagina Monologues’ included a new monologue written by Eve Ensler entitled, ‘They Beat The Girl Out of My Boy,’ which deals with transgender issues. It also included a short segment written by UCI students about the Center for Women and Men.
‘People should come see the show if they are not aware,’ Gunn said. ‘You can’t address a problem if it isn’t in front of you.’
Not only do members of the V-Day movement hope that the show helped to educate the audience, but they acknowledge that being involved in the show has helped them as well.
‘It has helped me define myself as a woman, it has helped me understand relationships between partners, and it just teaches you so much,’ Eagle said.
Gunn believes her involvement with the show has helped her break down the limits that have been set by society for women.
‘I see myself as more of a whole,’ Gunn said. ‘I can’t differentiate my body from myself.’
Although Lee has always honored women, his appreciation and respect for them has increased and it has reaffirmed his masculinity.
‘I’ve always had a great respect for women, but I feel [like] more [of a] ‘man’ after working on this show because I’m helping women get further,’ Lee said. ‘The fact that I’m choosing to help fight for equality makes me feel more [like a] ‘man.”
Filed Under: Features