Monologue on Violence & Sexual Assault

I attended the [Blank] Monologues, Washington University in St. Louis’s adaptation of The Vagina Monologues on Friday, February 15th. The performance was directed by students Sabrina Odigie and Genevieve Leech. The cast was all female Washington University students and was put on to support the Metro Trans Umbrella group. This organization strives to unite transgender support, advocacy, educational, and ally groups in the St. Louis metro area in order to mend resource gaps and provide access to support and information.

[Blank] Monologues consisted of twenty monologues written partaily by Washington University students and partially from the original Vagina Monologues. I had little idea what to expect before attending the performance, but I thoroughly enjoyed attending.

The Vagina Monologues, first performed in 1996, began as a one-woman show by Eve Ensler comprised of a women of all ages, races, and sexual orientations describing their sexual experience and journeys of womanhood. [Blank] Monologues and other collegiate adaptations of The Vagina Monologues are typically performed to celebrate V-day, “global activist movement to end violence against women and girls” (“About V-day”).

Liberal arts colleges, such as WashU, use their adaptations to promote feminism and and remove the taboos of publicly talking about a woman’s sexual activities. Particularly at Washington University, it isn’t uncommon to hear about a fraternity bragging about women he has hooked up with. If a women here spoke in that manner she would likely be slut-shamed. [Blank Monologues] had specific, empowering pieces directed towards empowering WashU women to be proud of their sexaulity.

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It would would be incredibly difficult to summarize all twenty pieces because each was so unique.

I will discuss several I found particularly powerful. The Flood, performed by Gabrielle Nagel, was based upon a conversation with an elderly woman. The monologues combines fantasies of Burt Reynolds with the the hardened wisdom of a woman who has become ashamed of experienicing sexuall pleasure. I found this piece particularly interesting because I had imagined the performances to be centered around young, vibrant women. The humor made it easily relatable to understand the shame women can sometimes feel about their sexuality. The most haunting piece of the monologues was My Vagina Was My Village, performed by Selina Wu. This piece is honor of Bosnian women who were raped during war in Yugoslavia (Ensler 25). The monologue compared peaceful like in a small Bosnian village to a dark mental and physical prison of sexual abuse forced upon the speaker by soldiers invading her once tranquil village.

The venue was completely silent with horror throughout the entire monologue as we felt the sufferings of the character. Further, Not-So-Happy Fact written by the director Leech, stated that Missouri is the nineteenth highest state in sex trafficking. As a born and raised Missourian, I was horrified to realize just how common sex trafficking was in my home state. [Blank] Monologues are a modern day adaptation of the consciousness raising groups popular in second-wave feminism. The platform of addressing a woman’s sexaulity in a public setting using humor encourages understanding and reflection from audience members. Women being allowed to speak about their vaginas has the “appeal of transgressing norms that have previously silenced them while offering a seeming transparency,” (Cooper). I found myself laughing at the humorous portions of the monologues. If I had attending a normal lecture on embracing my sexuality, I would have likely found myself uncomfortable and looking for an exit. Instead, the monologues allowed me to reflect on my own experiences without shame or apprehension. [Blank] Monologues also intermixed the lighter pieces with raw, vulnerable stories about violence against women and sexual assault.

The performance touched on the idea that women have a history of being exploited and abused. A large portion of feminist empowerment stems from a centuries-old history of being discriminated against, objectified, raped, and other horrors all for simply being born with a vagina. Using the definition of feminist to mean anything that supports and advocates for women’s rights, I believe [Blank] Monologues was overall a feminist event. The performance could have focused slightly more on women without vaginas, such as transgender women. However, the monologues were still very powerful. From touching on lighter issues like learning to love your vagina to the more serious topics of sexual assault, the monologues centered on women not being afraid to use their voices. The monologues specifically touched on intersectionality theory in the opening monologue My Feminism; Monica Unzueta wrote and performed this original piece. She set the precedent for the all of the skits to come by saying “my feminist is pro-inclusion, anti-racist, pro-trans, and so much more…”. The monologue performers were a very diverse cast which allowed an accurate portrayal between the intersection of sexism and racism. However, My Feminism mentioned that having a vagina is not the definition of being female but then proceeded to center the performance on women with vaginas.

The reduction of defining a women by having vagina was troubling to me. The vagina should not be the uniting factor of all empowered women. Women should be defined by their personalities, accomplishments, and intelligence (Caselo). Being able to call yourself a woman should not be reliant on having a vagina. A small but significant portion of people who identify as a women do not have vaginas, but that should not stop them from being able to define their gender as a woman. For example. the monologues made it difficult for transgender women to relate to feminist empowerment and liberation without a vagina.. Overall [Blank] Monologues was extremely powerful and enlightening for cis-women with vaginas, but further work to include the trans population would make the monologues a truly inclusive feminist production. Works Cited: “About V-Day.” About V-Day | V-Day: A Global Movement to End Violence Against Women and Girls Worldwide., Canelo, Kayla S. “Vagina Monologues, The.” Encyclopedia of Women in Today’s World, 20 Feb. 2011, doi:10.4135/9781412995962.n873. Cooper, Christine M. “Worrying about Vaginas: Feminism and Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, vol. 32, no. 3, 2007, doi:10.1086/499084 Ensler, Eve, et al. The Vagina Monologues.

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Monologue on Violence & Sexual Assault. (2022, Jul 16). Retrieved from

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