The Vagina Monologues took the stage February 19-21. Image courtesy of V-Day.
With at least two sold-out shows, the Vagina Monologues encouraged people from every race and gender to unite for one cause: to help fight domestic violence—and have fun while doing it. Dressed in all red and black to represent the organization's colors, the actresses greeted guests at the door of Pauley Ballroom for what would be a spectacular night. Right outside the venue, vaginal art was displayed along with t-shirts reading “I <3 vaginas.” With a packed house, the show began with a musical performance with songs such as “You are Beautiful,” which exhibited the strength of every individual in the room and set the tone for the rest of the show.
The show itself consisted of twenty monologues in total, including three original pieces. By beginning with an introductory skit asking, “If your vagina could talk, what would it say?”, answers such as “Don’t give up now!” paved the way for a comedic evening. There were also more heated pieces about the irritations every woman experiences, including using tampons, going to the gynecologist, and wearing thong underwear despite its discomfort. Strong language helped the actors voice what the audience wished they could say, such as, “You say my vagina smells like roses? No, it smells like pussy and that’s how I like it!” Monologues from every age group added more perspectives in an amusing way—from a 72-year-old woman finding her clitoris to an eight-year-old girl claiming that her vagina smells like snowflakes. The jokes also tied into Berkeley and the students, with pieces describing the “main stacks moan” or referring to the vagina as “the bear’s lair.”
Although there were many humorous monologues that made the audience laugh, clap, and nod in agreement, there was also a shift to a more serious tone to bring awareness to the central cause of domestic violence. My personal favorite was Jeni Haines' monologue in the form of slam poetry, vividly expressing the anger in getting raped by a drunk guy at a party, which is a serious danger for college students. Her irate language towards a man, who proved his cowardice as he left smiling, urged everyone to break the silence and expose these men. The spotlight monologue that closed the show was the moment that touched everyone sitting in the packed house. It described how a thirteen-year-old young woman from the Democratic Republic of Congo survived as a sex slave for six months. Through this portal into her emotional turmoil, the audience was drawn into her story as she discussed how her friends were taken away by soldiers and she was left to be a sex slave for one of the men. Despite being raped three times a day, she managed to stand strong and escape by a stroke of luck and hope. The inspiring ending caused every individual in the audience to leave Pauley Ballroom feeling the need to make a change. Additionally, the performers stressed the fact that 500,000 women have been raped in the Congo in order to both humiliate the women in the region and take the country's resources for interstate regimes.
The Vagina Monologues made the crowd laugh, tear up, and want to take charge in fighting domestic violence. Every monologue was entertaining, poetic, and related to our own lives. On top of the $70 million they have already raised globally, V-Day will continue to raise money and awareness by putting on this annual show. Just as the organization says, “V-Day is a fierce, wild, unstoppable movement and community.” Besides, who wouldn’t love to listen to stories about vaginas?