UMKC’s Women’s Center celebrated 10 years of vaginas with the 10th annual performance of The Vagina Monologues at the Student Union Theatre on Tuesday, Feb. 10.
The Women’s Center puts on the play each year as a part of V-Day. The “V” in V-Day stands for many things, including Valentine, Vagina, and Violence. The purpose of the play and other V-Day events is to raise awareness of and fight against violence against women. The money raised during V-Day will benefit V-Day’s One Million Will Rise For Justice and the UMKC Violence Prevention and Response Project.
The Vagina Monologues, written by Eve Ensler, has been going strong for seventeen years. The title is self-explanatory: The play is a series of vagina-themed monologues performed by different women, each monologue based on interviews Ensler conducted.
For Tuesday’s performance, all of the women participating donned black and red.
The monologues range from humorous to heartbreaking. Some are stories of self-discovery – a woman finding her clitoris for the first time or learning not to be ashamed of her vagina, for example. Others were stories of, as one monologue put it, “politically incorrect salvations”, or self-acceptance through unconventional means, such as a young girl being seduced by an older woman. Still others drew attention to more serious matters, such as the horrific use of rape as a weapon of war, female genital mutilation and violence against trans women.
Freshman English student Kara Lewis, who played a six year old girl in her monologue, was thrilled to be on stage.
“I did theatre all through high school, and I thought, ‘this is a good chance for me to do theatre,” said Lewis. “I didn’t know what part I was going to get, or what parts there even were, because I had never really seen the show. I’m glad I got to talk about feminism starting from an early age.”
“I wish I had been that girl when I six,” Lewis said, speaking of her character: a quirky child with a wild imagination who knows exactly what her vagina would say and wear.
The showstopper of the night was the monologue entitled “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy,” performed by Kalaa Wilkerson. The monologue requires the performer to make different moans based on women’s sexuality, race and religion. Naturally, it led to a lot of big laughs.
“I loved that one,” Lewis said, speaking of Wilkerson’s monologue. “I feel like using humor in that one makes it easier to talk about sex workers in a non-discriminatory or shameful way, because it’s funny to the audience and engages them. It also addresses sexual relationships between women in a positive way.”
The performance ended with “My Revolution,” a powerful rallying cry for women around the world to start their own revolutions.