Stand up for the vagina

Kara Willingham

Women’s stories of strength, joy and pain were performed in front of a large crowd that welcomed the performance of Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” to Saddleback College’s McKinney Theatre on Jan. 31.

An at-first uncomfortable audience began to open up to the women onstage, who told the stories and secrets of women all over the world.

“I’ve done [the show] since 2000 and I think it’s a great way to educate people about violence against women while making them laugh,” said Margot Lovett, instructor of history and cast member. “It’s also a great way to raise money to support local organizations that are working to stop violence against women.”

Before the show, baked goods were sold, and afterwards audience members could purchase V-Day merchandise or participate in a silent auction.

The proceeds are being donated to Laura’s House, a women’s shelter for victims of domestic violence. The agency was approved by the state in Orange County. Proceeds will also go towards educating others on domestic violence.

“I was really moved last year when Eve Ensler came to speak,” said Negah Mouzoon, 19, anthropology and cast member, “and also at the ‘Take Back the Night’ rally and hearing women’s stories. Some of the women sharing their stories] lived in my community and were women who went to school to with me.

“Hearing their stories about sexual abuse, violence, and rape opened my eyes,” Mouzoon added. “They are not victims anymore; they are survivors. When I was asked to be involved this year, I could not say no. I wanted to do these women justice. All the proceeds are going to Laura’s house, anything to help out my fellow women.”

The serious subject matter in some of the monologues caught the audience and reeled them in to the pain and suffering of women as well as their discoveries and good memories of their bodies.

Although some monologues were serious, others were comical and eased up the tension audience members may have felt. Monologues asked such questions as “What would your vagina wear?”

Toward the end of the show, Lynzee Nolan took the stage to perform a monologue entitled “Reclaiming Cunt,” which ended with the entire audience chanting with Nolan the word “cunt.” This was not the only occasion where the audience got involved. They cheered, gasped, laughed and shed tears.

Lovett had the entire audience cracking up in response to her monologue “The woman who loved to make vaginas happy.”

“I was bothered by women in the audience that were saying “ew” or “gross,” said Erin Hayle, 21, California State Long Beach, womens studies. “I’m always shocked at the way women have negative connotations with vaginas. It never ceases to amaze me when other women put it down.”

Although some audience members found it difficult to become comfortable with the show’s subject matter, Hayle is pleased that Saddleback women are informing the public about the violence.

“The most important part was hearing about the survivors,” Hayle said. “If we are hearing one story, it represents thousands. Not every woman has it so good.”

Audience members were also inspired to help others and make a difference.

“I had no clue that those events took place,” said Crystal Perez, 21, undecided. “Being Mexican, I had no idea that women in [Mexico] were being mistreated and scrutinized. We are responsible to know what’s going on in the world and now I want to do something about it.”

Those who wish to get involved with V-Day may visit www.v-day.org to find local events and learn about the organization.

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