The Vagina Monologues are an Obie award-winning production created by playwright and activist Eve Ensler, based on real interviews with real women about their vaginas, sexuality, sexual experiences and body image–among other topics. Women of all different ages, races and backgrounds were interviewed – including a six-year-old girl, a dominatrix and an elderly woman – and the results are riveting.
Every year during the month of February, activists in colleges and other groups around the world are invited to participate in “V-Season” with the purpose of raising awareness about gender-based violence against women and girls. The student-led performances of the Vagina Monologues are meant to support the global movement to end gender-based violence everywhere. Since 1998, approximately $100 million has been raised by V-Day activists for anti-violence organizations, rape-crisis centers, domestic violence shelters and more. V-day activists have also launched an organization called City of Joy, a center for gender violence survivors in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This year, along with the monologues written by Eve Ensler, the actors also performed two Salem spotlight pieces. One, called “Active Vaginas” was written for the production by Dr. Ana León-Távora. The other, entitled “The Resistance,” was written by the cast and compiled by Salem students, Destiny Yates and Bailey Zenker. Co-directors Karina Gonzalez and Dulce Ma. Rivas Rangel wanted to stress the importance of the issues being addressed, especially in today’s world. Gender-based violence is all too common, and the Vagina Monologues are a small step in the fight to address the problem.
Dr. Ana León-Távora, chair of Salem’s Department of Modern Languages and Assistant Professor of Spanish focused on the common language used in reports about gender-violence in her piece. She hopes to help people recognize the passive voice that is regularly used, and stresses that vaginas are not passive and not a permission or invitation for violence and oppression.
From a hilarious rant about angry vaginas, to a powerful and tear-jerking performance about a rape survivor, to a compilation of different names for vaginas, (at Salem College, we call it “The Pit”) the Vagina monologues are a wild ride, but completely worth holding on until the end.
This year, all of the proceeds from Salem’s production of the play go to support the V-day Campaign and the Latin American Coalition, an organization that supports individuals enrolled in the DACA program and gives legal support to women under the Violence Against Women Act. The Latin American Coalition promotes the participation of all people in all aspects of life in North Carolina and aims to achieve their goals through education and advocacy from a community of Latin Americans, immigrants and their allies.