Coochie snorcher. Mushmellow. Fannyboo. Pooninana. No matter what you call it, the vagina means many things to different women. “The Vagina Monologues” shows this unapologetically from the moment of the introduction, which opens the audience up to the discussion of vaginas.
“Women secretly love to talk about their vaginas. They really do,” the girls said in the introduction. “Mainly because no one has ever asked them before.”
“The Vagina Monologues” was created in 1996 by playwright Eve Ensler, pulled from interviews with 200 women living in New York City. The interviews were transformed into “monologues,” each one focusing on an aspect of the feminine experience such as sex, relationships and gender violence. Different “spotlight monologues” are added each year to add something new to each production.
For over a decade, the production has been sponsored by V-Day at the University of Delaware, a global activist movement to stop violence against women and girls. Since “The Vagina Monologues” were created over 20 years ago, there has been controversy surrounding whether they still portray all aspects of women’s issues. Some universities have stopped performing them altogether.
V-Day president Jennifer Jung said in an interview for STN49 News that other colleges “do not have the campus climate or culture that we have at UD, where the play is more empowering for more students than alienating.” Their aim with the production, she said, is to transform the university into “a more diverse, trans-inclusive environment.”
Halley Pradell, another co-producer and co-director of the production, says that she has a love-hate relationship with “The Vagina Monologues.” “It is a very white-centric, American vision. That’s hard for me, but ‘The Vagina Monologues’ are also a really good access point for people to access feminism.”
“The Vagina Monologues” is currently the only performance-based event on campus that is promoting feminism awareness. V-Day at UD also sponsors an event called What’s Your Monologue, where any student can write their own monologue to then read in front of an audience. Pradell says that it is a way for the people who aren’t included in The Vagina Monologues to get a chance to share their story.
“I honestly hope that eventually our campus doesn’t need to continue doing the Vagina Monologues, because that would mean that we have gotten to a point where there’s enough exposure that you don’t need such an anonymous accessible point for feminism,” Pradell says.