Reign of the {()}

In the weeks leading up to February 11th, every available bulletin board on the Berkeley campus was flyered and tagged with what one can only say was a swarm of vaginas - all in the spirit of the Vagina Monologues.

Originally a series of interviews conducted with two hundred women regarding sex, femininity, relationships, and more seriously, violence against women, the Vagina Monologues is a college phenomenon that has spread like wildfire among active student groups and the general public itself. Known as “V-Day,” the three-day show exposés reiterations of the original monologues from 1996, as well as several new Berkeley editions. In between the mixture of comedic portrayals and boisterous statements, there lies a true message.

The cast and crew of UC Berkeley's 2012 production of The Vagina Monologues.

Through the enablement of female sexual prowess, the Vagina Monologues not only gives a new perspective of what it truly means to be a woman in a male dominated society, but also presents valuable information about the injustices toward women throughout the world including topics such as rape, incest, genital mutilation, and sexual abuse. This year’s theme of “access” particularly spoke of the extraordinary boundaries women come to pass in the transition into womanhood. Whether denied through social customs, excessive laws, or physical disabilities, the women portrayed within these years’ monologues question what it meant to call oneself a female and how biased gender normativity plays a role in the creation of that identity.

When asked what her favorite part of the show was, Natasha Huey, a 3rd year at Berkeley, said that she “really appreciated [the monologue’s] consideration for the spectrum of female sexuality. Though it by no means fully encapsulated that spectrum, they acknowledged the existence of a diverse array of experiences.” Ms. Huey also thinks that this year’s theme of “access” is a key component that is usually overlooked when analyzing identity and what that means within society today. “I hope the Vagina Monologues continues to explore issues of intersectionality and highlights the complexity of female sexuality.”

This sentiment, along with many others, seemed to resonate throughout the whole of the audience and in leaving the performance I was left speechless. The conviction with which these women spoke was awe-inspiring. It was a nice touch that they included a good mix of seriousness and comedic relief - going from the topic of hair and choices made in consideration of their male counterparts, to genital mutilation in the West African Congo jungles, to a sex worker's love of pleasure - and within each, a sentiment of independence and acceptance for the audience to contemplate.

If there was one thing to take away from that night, it was not to underestimate the power of the vagina. Unaffected by social stigmas, the Vagina Monologues takes the concept of feminism and female empowerment and expresses them with a voice loud enough to resonate through every audience member, down through their spines and into every fiber of their being. With a movement like this picking up so much momentum, one can only hope to see its message soar.

For more information about The Vagina Monologues and their mission statement visit their website at

And don’t forget to listen for dates for next year's performance!

Image courtesy of ({V DAY at UC Berkeley}).

Branden Barger, currently a reporter for BARE, is always searching for the artistic, striking contrasts within the provisional nature of life, especially within the fashion industry. Even if it means spending some cash where needed...

No comments:

Post a Comment