Empowering Anteater Vaginas
While genitalia are often a topic of conversation among college students these days, they are rarely discussed in the context of female sexual pleasure or violence. In one of UC Irvine’s annual traditions, however, typical topics were overshadowed in the performance of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ from Thursday, Feb. 22 to Saturday, Feb. 24.
Written by Eve Ensler and based on her numerous interviews with women from around the world, these monologues touch on issues ranging from rape to sexual pleasures to lesbian sexual encounters. Originally performed by Ensler herself, colleges and theaters across the nation have made it a point to stage ‘The Vagina Monologues’ on an annual basis in hopes of stopping violence against women.
The production, put on by V-Day UCI, highlighted the talents of many UCI amateur actresses in roles, including Jenny Inman’s performance of ‘Because He Liked to Look at It,’ a woman’s account of how she came to love her vagina.
Other monologues, such as ‘My Vagina Was My Village’ and ‘The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could,’ discuss more serious issues of rape. The first, performed by Innman and Tanu Srivastava, was a monologue compiled from the testimonies of Bosnian women who were raped. The latter (performed by Christina Young), by far the most controversial of the monologues, is an account of a woman who was raped as a child and, at the age of 16, had a consensual sexual encounter with a 24-year-old woman. Although the girl’s age was actually 13 at the time of the affair, the production changed the girl’s age to 16 after an ensuing controversy.
Other pieces are much more light-hearted, such as ‘My Angry Vagina,’ performed by Kelly Bright Leidenthal, in which a women rants about the discomfort of tampons, douches, thongs and the unnecessarily cold instruments used during vaginal examinations.
By far the funniest piece was ‘The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy,’ performed by Noelle Blanco. This monologue is from the point of view of a sex worker who came to pleasure women. Blanco acted out a variety of ‘moans,’ including the ‘diva moan,’ the ‘machine-gun moan’ and the ‘triple orgasm.’
Other monologues included ‘I Was 12, My Mother Slapped Me,’ performed by the ensemble, which describes many women’s experiences getting their periods. ‘I Was There in the Room’ is a piece written by Ensler describing the birth of her granddaughter.
V-Day is a ‘global movement to stop violence against women and girls,’ according to the V-Day Web site. Performances of the piece are organized to raise money and local awareness.
Proceeds from the show are donated to different organizations each year. This year, the production team chose UCI’s Campus Assault Resource and Education program, which helps victims of sexual assault and rape, as well as its One in Four program, which holds workshops educating the community on various issues associated with sexual violence.
Executive producer and stage manager Jacob Knobel, the only male member of the production team, explained that since men were an important part of the issues introduced by ‘The Vagina Monologues,’ he hoped to encourage more men to see the show.
‘[We had] our first guys’ night