MAASTRICHT. Vagina, vagina, vagina. It wasn’t too long ago that uttering this word in the public sphere could induce sharp rebuke or embarrassment. Eve Ensler’s play The Vagina Monologues, doesn’t just say the word - it’s entirely focused on it. The Universalis Society of Feminism (USF) is performing The Vagina Monologues this Friday the 26th of February at 20:00 in the UCM common room.
As an evolving amalgam of monologues that focus on different issues relating to vaginas and their keepers, the play changes from year to year in order to address different issues. It was first performed in 1996, Off Broadway. Since then, the show has continued to make waves as a controversial piece that is divisive for its portrayal of rape, sexual liberation, love, genital mutilation, orgasms and men.
But how are The Vagina Monologues still important today, twenty years after their first performance? Eva de Haan, a first year at UCM and board member of USF, notes that there are still forbidden or vilified associations with the female body. “I will be performing ‘reclaiming cunt’ a monologue on the word cunt. The word has a negative connotation now, but the monologue will try to change that and give the word a more positive meaning.” For De Haan this play is special because, “it is important to be intersectional and take experiences into account from women of all walks of life”.
Indeed, in the playwright Ensler has noted, “I never defined a woman as a person with a vagina.” This is with the intention of making the play inclusive of all people. For example, in 2004 Ensler introduced a monologue that focused on the challenges and discrimination that transgender women face. This year De Haan will be participating in that monologue. It’s called ‘They beat the girl out of my boy (or so they tried)’.
It is interesting to note that The Vagina Monologues is the linchpin for V-Day, a global initiative to raise funds to end violence against women. The V in V-day stands for valentine, victory and of-course, vagina. While traditionally held on February 14th (Valentine’s Day), the play can be performed any time during the month of February without having to pay any rights fees.
The tickets are €3 and can be bought in the UCM common room. All proceeds will go to Frauen Helfen Frauen in Aachen an organisation for counseling women in crisis. Anybody with or without a vagina is welcome.