Taboo takeover through theater

No more fear of tabooed words or jokes about body parts. Ladies, it’s time to learn how to love the vagina.

“The Vagina Monologues” is a theater production put on by the V-Day organization, with its script made up of 200 interviews done by creator Eve Ensler. These interviews were with women of all ages, races, sexual orientations, religions, etc., requiring only for the women to tell their stories and talk about their bodies.

The WSU “The Vagina Monologues” production will be held at 7:30 p.m. this Thursday, Friday and Saturday in Jones Theatre at Daggy Hall.

Co-director and actor for the show Janille Lowe, a junior studying criminology and psychology, described “The Vagina Monologues” as a way to enlighten people and showcase empowerment about women and their experiences, both negative and positive, through theater.

“It’s a wonderful slap in the face to every misconception and perceived notion,” she said.

The stories in this year’s production range from victims of war crimes through rape, to women giving birth. Brittany Griffin, residential education director for Stephenson South, said the broad range of shows will take the audience members on a roller coaster of emotions.

An actor in the show, Griffin said she and the other actors don’t have character names but adapt themselves to the characters of each story, taking on the mentalities of the women who originally experienced the story. Griffin’s monologue is titled “My Short Skirt,” telling about how women should wear what they wish.

“When I perform this piece, I think about the women or individuals who have been harassed or harmed … and get blamed for it because of what they were wearing,” Griffin said.

Another story tells of a woman from Bosnia who was a victim of rape war crimes, told by junior apparel design and merchandising major Dominique Norman.

This story used the word vagina in a literal and figurative sense, using it as an analogy for the woman’s home village that was mutilated by the soldiers.

Comedic monologues will also be featured, such as the one told by freshman Kayla Straight. Her monologue tells about a woman who grew up hating everything about her womanhood until she meets a stranger/savior who teaches her to love herself through a politically-incorrect way.

“It was weird because I had to find a mindset for this character,” Straight said. “Figure out how to go about expressing that sort of disdain for my vagina when I don’t feel that sort of disdain.”

With a title like “Vagina Monologues,” there are some who may interpret it as the equivalent of a Saturday Night Live skit full of sexual jokes. To include the word vagina and use the term so casually adds a shock factor since it has that profane connotation, Norman said.

“We act like talking about sex and being sexual and the anatomy is a bad thing,” Norman said. “When we treat it as a bad thing that’s what it turns into.”

Throughout the show, one of the most common themes covered is empowering women and giving them the strength to love their vagina. This doesn’t just apply to being proud of their anatomy but also being proud to be a woman.

In the U.S., there is an evident problem with the high number of sexual assault victims. For many, it can be hard to get the conversation going because the victim may feel ashamed, Straight said. Nonetheless, these are topics that should be talked about no matter how awkward it may get.

Griffin said she’s able to embrace the uncomfortableness and move past the awkward conversations when they happen constantly. If these topics aren’t talked about, the conversations will continue to be uncomfortable or awkward.

“What’s life without a little awkwardness?” Griffin said.

Although some of the facts in the monologues are outdated, the topic of violence is not, Lowe said. It will always be relevant until it stops. It may feel awkward due to girls and women forced to feel ashamed of their body when it’s natural to have certain body parts.

For women not familiar with the topic, Norman said she feels the show will open people up to this world of self-exploration and self-acceptance. These aspects of the show drove Norman to join in the production.

“I’m looking forward to seeing my dad and see him squirm,” Straight said. “I think that’d be great (to) see my parents and their reactions.”

“The Vagina Monologues” will show at Daggy Hall in Jones Theatre on Feb. 19, 20, and 21. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in presale and $12 at the door. They can be bought ahead of time at Washington G-40 (ground floor of Health and Wellness Center) from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and in the CUB Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.