For Valentine’s Day, Brian, my darling hubby, took me to a benefit production of The Vagina Monologues. The event was absolutely amazing. I was allowed to write a response for an assignment for my Literature by Women class. I am posting it here as a bonus entry. If you have never been to a production of The Vagina Monologues, I would suggest attending. Granted, some people may not appreciate the openness or language; it is a terrific experience.
The production was to benefit Wings of Hope: Stillwater Domestic Violence Services and was a part of V-Day.V-Day is a global movement to end violence toward women. For more information check out Wings of Hope or VDay.org
My Response to The Vagina Monologues
(keep in mind I could not possibly have written my complete emotional response to this wonderful performance)
The experience of attending The Vagina Monologues was a satisfying experience in such a complete way. I was able to attend a dramatic performance that included comedy, dealt with tragic situations, supported a great cause, and educated me. My husband and I went to the Sunday afternoon performance, and his willingness to not only go with me but actually take me as a date reminded me of how lucky I am to have him. His reaction, however, was one of the many ways the event was so wholly satisfying. He was quite moved by the monologues about women being abused. We discovered that my husband is probably, in its truest form, a feminist; he essentially said if being a feminist means not wanting women and girls to be beat and raped, then yes, he is one. I asked him several times throughout the performance if he was okay, and he always seemed fine. I start out with talking about my husband because I feel so blessed to have a man in my life who is so supportive and loving. He is not weak or effeminate, like I think some men might tease; he is just especially respectful toward women, including me. There were several monologues that mentioned what I would consider failure of men. The monologue you read, “The Flood,” involved an rude and immature reaction that kept your character from experiencing sexual or emotional freedom. “The Little Coochi Snorcher That Could” included the father of the character’s best friend raping her as a child. In “Crooked Braid” the husband beats the character constantly. Even in “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy,” part of the reason she turned to women is because the men could not handle her moaning. This list of course does not include the facts about abuse and the final monologue. I say all of this because I am amazed at my having such a wonderful man in my life. It is partly because of my husband that I can feel so open as to attend such an empowering production and explore who I am. He supports and encourages me in everything I do. The Vagina Monologuse confronted me with a look at how great of a guy he is.
Enough about my husband, The Vagina Monologues are about women! I thoroughly enjoyed the production. I laughed so hard about “My Angry Vagina.” I could hardly believe the ability Eve Ensler has to capture the universal feelings about vaginas. I guess interviewing so many women helped, but what a terrific way to capture all the little annoying instances our poor vagina has to endure. That particular monologue captured the extremes of a woman. On one hand the character is angry and uses coarse language; she is loud and forceful and angry about her vagina. In her rant though, she describes just wanting to be wrapped in velvet and being able to put her feet in fur covered stirrups. My husband even commented on how a woman can “be tough enough to cut off your balls from eight to five, but that at the end of the day all she wants is a warm bath and some chocolate.” I thought his remark was a perfect description of how strong and courageous women can be while still having the capacity to love and be gentle.
The multiple facts and monologues about domestic and international abuse were so confrontational. I completely agreed with Elkie Burnside (I think) when she talked about how we minimize the abuse of women and children, but we gush over animal abuse. I am so glad The Vagina Monologues was a benefit production to raise awareness about domestic abuse. The monologues specifically dealing with abuse were heart-wrenching and necessary to deal with the reality of what women are experiencing. Women have come a long way in the rights they have, but there is so much more that must change. “A Teenage Girl’s Guide to Surviving Sex Slavery” was perfect. It told the horrific facts of what some women endure and then showed women’s amazing ability to endure and then thrive. I was in tears when one of her closing lines were about her breasts filling with milk, and she could love her baby. Just the idea of taking the baby, the product of such horrible abuse, and loving her shows intense strength and compassion. And to finish by talking about being able to feed her baby was incredibly emotional for me because I went through such a struggle to breastfeed my daughter, and I understood the relief of being able to do so. I can scarcely imagine the emotion in being able to do that in the character’s situation. That particular monologue, for me, highlighted the resilience of women.
Then the monologue “I Was There in the Room” was the embodiment of the whole production. Eve Ensler’s description of the vagina is to me the epitome of womanhood and femininity. The thing that made her description so powerful was the fact that only women have vaginas. Then she parallels the heart and the vagina. The combination of our vaginas having the same abilities of the heart and that only women have vaginas was the most empowering experience in the performance. Our vaginas can give and stretch, can take things in and release things into the world; our vaginas can sacrifice. I have never felt so special to be a woman.
The Vagina Monologues was such a wonderful experience. My family had a dreadful morning, and I remember thinking maybe we should just skip the performance and go home to rest. I am so glad I attended. I would not have traded my experience for the world’s best nap. I learned so much, realized how much I love my husband and grew as a woman.
Happy Valentine’s Day
-Sarah, One Curly Mama