Getting To Know Your Vagina

Winter is the season to celebrate the return of the ‘Vagina Monologues.’ Every year, around the month of February, V-DAY UCI, a collaborative group of male and female students, put together their own rendition of Eve Ensler’s ‘Vagina Monologues.’ Written in 1996, this play follows multiple stories told by different women about their experiences of self-discovery. Each monologue is unique, and when combined, they deal with issues such as sex, orgasms, birth and having fun being a woman. Filled with humor and spunk, this play has been reproduced by different campuses world-wide to raise awareness about violence against women.
Walking into the audition room last Wednesday night felt like going back in time. As a veteran Vagina Monologist from 2006, I remembered the knotted feeling in my stomach mixed with the nervous curiosity of not knowing what kinds of tasks lay ahead of me. The mere fact that this play is called the ‘Vagina Monologues’ created an ambivalent sensation of excitement and discomfort. I was never properly brought up to embrace my vagina, but who would miss out on the opportunity to yell ‘pussy’ on stage?
The atmosphere was cheerful but anxious as groups of nervous-looking girls waited to be called inside. All candidates were asked to fill out an application form that asked questions like, ‘What is the funniest thing about your vagina’ or ‘What are some of the names that you call your vagina or others have called your vagina?’ I called mine ‘Cate’ after the actress Cate Blanchett because I felt like my vagina was classy, smart, beautiful and adaptable for any role given to her. Candidates were split into groups of five and once each set was called in, everyone was given an index card with a story written by another girl. We were then asked to perform these stories through our own interpretation as well as prepare our own expansion for the acronym ‘C.U.N.T.’
Though most of the audition process was the same as when I auditioned in 2006, there were slight changes. One such change was when we were asked to come together and make a vagina using our bodies. Rather than being asked to show a vagina having sex like last year, this time we were asked to make a vagina giving birth. In the beginning it felt awkward to work with four strangers that I had met just an hour ago.
We forget the vagina, all of us. We forget how miraculous and beautiful it can be during the first time a girl discovers that she is a woman, during the intimate moments of love-making and, especially, when watching yourself or another vagina produce life. In today’s society the vagina has become a mythical creature, a monster underneath your bed. The vagina is skinny, smutty, ostentatious and hyper-glamorized. What we remember often corresponds with ignorance that leads to fear of what is unidentified. Whether you are a woman or a man, young or old, it’s important to remember the vagina in order to remember where we came from.