The cast, crew member and director of “The Vagina Monologues.” Top row, from left to right: Everett Evans (crew member and VP of GESA), Mackenzie Barry, Ashley Davis, Samantha Mullenax and Ashley Wade. Bottom row, from left to right: Grace Klinger, Faith Harrison, Kristin Schroll (director and president of GESA), Emma Caylor and Madison Proctor.[/caption]
The Gender Equality Student Alliance at Hiram College hosted a performance of “The Vagina Monologues” on Feb. 26 and 27 at the College’s Showboat Theater in the Frohring Performing Arts Building to raise awareness of violence against women and to raise money for Townhall II, an advocacy and counseling center located in Kent, Ohio.
“The Vagina Monologues” is a play by Eve Ensler based on personal interviews that she conducted with women in 1994. V-Day is the nonprofit activist organization associated with the play and according to its website, these interviews transitioned into a play that addresses women’s sexuality and the social stigma surrounding rape and abuse “to create a new conversation about and with women.”
Kristin Schroll ‘16, president of the Gender Equality Student Alliance (GESA) at Hiram College, said the play touches on the different experiences of womanhood from the point of view of diverse women.
“It might be about women’s bodies, or about sexuality, all different kinds of things,” Schroll said, who also served as the play’s director. “It’s really rooted in what it means to be a woman.”
The play has several monologues that address different parts of the female experience, including personal sexuality and childbirth. The play also addresses rape from the point of view of a woman in a refugee camp, child sexual abuse and homelessness, female genital mutilation and transgender issues.
“It’s explicitly stated in the roles that they have to be done by women, so it’s a moment of solidarity for women to come together and talk about what it means to be women and talk about different experiences that women have,” Schroll said. “It gives a voice to those experiences.”
Samantha Mullenax ‘17 has performed in “The Vagina Monologues” for as long as she has been a Hiram student.
“I love that every year the monologues become more inclusive, adding monologues to help fully encompass all women,” she said. “V-Day, the organization behind the play, is also amazing. They have always been huge advocates for women, especially women facing violence.”
After “The Vagina Monologues” had an off-Broadway run and a national tour around the United States, Ensler established V-Day, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending violence against women and girls around the world. According to the V-Day website, the “V” in V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina.
“The Vagina Monologues” is one of the many creative events that V-Day puts on to raise awareness of and funds for local anti-violence groups. Since its establishment in 1998, V-Day has backed over 5,800 events annually. Internationally, V-Day has opened shelters in Egypt and Iraq, set up a “Confronting Violence” conference in South Asia and donated satellite phones to Afghan women. V-Day also assisted with the founding of Karama, an advocacy organization that works directly with Middle Eastern communities to promote women’s welfare.