The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
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‘Monologues’ bring laughter, tears to audience

Do you know how to spell vagina?

Do you know that every 21 hours there is a rape on a college campus in the United States?

The goal of the Women’s Interest Network’s performance of The Vagina Monologues Thursday night was to answer all those questions and more.

Cast at Thanksgiving, a group of 10 young women actors was selected out of the many who auditioned.

“We wanted a variety of women,” said Jerrika Hinton, director of the monologues. “We didn’t want just one major, just one type of woman. The show’s all about women coming together to celebrate . . . this awe of womanhood.”

The Vagina Monologues is a series of stories, based on over 200 interviews, in which women talk about the most secret part of their bodies.

In her original press release, Eve Ensler, author of the monologues, said:

“I was worried about vaginas. I was worried about what we thought about vaginas, and even more worried that we don’t think about them . . . So I decided to talk to women about their vaginas, to do vagina interviews, which became vagina monologues. I talked with hundreds of women. I talked to old women, young women, married women, single women, lesbians, college professors, actors, corporate professionals, sex workers, African American women, Hispanic women, Asian American women, Native American women, Caucasian women, Jewish women. At first, women were reluctant to talk. They were a little shy. But once they got going, you couldn’t stop them.”

Talking unabashedly about everything from female menstruation to thong underwear, Ensler’s play discusses anything remotely related to a woman’s vagina.

“Our first couple rehearsals were get-to-know-you rehearsals,” Hinton said. “We told our own vagina stories, talked about what our vaginas smell like and what they would wear.”

Ensler writes some of the monologues to be humorous.

In “My Angry Vagina,” a woman rants about tampons and thongs, eventually concluding someone should design “regular, cotton underwear…with a French tickler” so women can have random orgasms throughout the day.

Ensler asked women in her interviews, “If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear?”

Women answered, saying pearls, a tutu, sweat pants, bikini, ermine, pink fluffy boas, an electric shock device to keep unwanted people and things from entering, silk and see-through black lace panties.

Ensler also provides several vagina facts between monologues. The audience hooted with laughter to learn a woman has over 8,000 nerves “down there,” twice as many as a man’s “down there.”

Other portions are disturbing, such as Bosnian refugee’s story recounting the horrors of rape in war.

“Not since the soldiers put a long thick rifle inside me … So cold, the steel rod canceling my heart. Don’t know whether they’re going to fire it or shove it through my spinning brain.”

This year’s performance ended with a monologue written by an SMU student.. The Women’s Interest Network selected Shirpa K. Gandhi as the finalist in SMU’s version of a competition run by the V-Day organization.

“It seemed to fit so well,” said Courtney Aberle, coordinator for Women’s Programs. “It’s probably my favorite monologue since it’s so hopeful and positive. It’s just fantastic.”

The Women’s Interest Network first performed the monologues this year on Valentine’s Day as part of the national V-Day movement.

After their first performance, Aberle was overwhelmed by how well her group of students had done.

“They’re an amazing group of women,” she said.

SMU is one of 647 schools in V-Day’s College Campaign. The main goal of the college campaign is to empower college students to help make a difference in the fight against violence.

V-Day is a global movement to stop violence against women and girls. On or around Valentine’s Day, V-Day coordinates annual theatrical and artistic events with several different campaigns to raise money, increase awareness of existing anti-violence organizations.

The V-Day Worldwide Campaign seeks to bring the work of V-Day to the broadest possible audience. It produces provocative cultural and media events, calling on celebrities, activists and communities to support a shift in the way people try to protect women against violence.

To date, V-Day has been the catalyst for one global movement and has given the issue of violence against women high visibility and media attention at “a crucial time.” The organization wants to motivate entire communities to participate in the struggle to prevent cruelty against women.

V-Day invites colleges and universities around the world to mount benefit productions of The Vagina Monologues on their campuses on or around Valentine’s Day to raise money and awareness to stop brutality against women. The proceeds from these events are donated to local women’s organizations in a school’s community.

SMU’s production of The Vagina Monologues will benefit the Family Place, a Dallas-based, nonprofit organization that provides assistance to victims of family violence.

Women cried, laughed, nervously looked away, chanted along with the actors, and thunderously applauded at the end as the actors took their bows. This show is much more than the sum of its private parts. It grows into an uplifting reminder that the best place to start any exploration of humanity is with the way people really are.

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