By Lauren Otheim
On Feb. 23, at 7 p.m., 32 women from Whitworth’s community will come together to talk about female sexuality on a public platform.
“The Vagina Monologues” have already become a well-known, annual event on campus with posters and t-shirts creating a buzz prior to the event.“I think an important thing that a lot of people don’t understand about ‘The Vagina Monologues’ is that it’s not anti-man at all,” said director and senior Stephanie Wiley.
One of the monologues is actually an interview with a woman who loves her vagina because of a man she dated. Wiley said men and women alike can learn a lot from “The Vagina Monologues”.
“[The interviews are] funny and sad and they open people’s eyes to global issues, such as how violence against women is used in warfare,” Wiley said.
Wiley has been apart of “The Vagina Monologues” ever since they were introduced to Whitworth three years ago. Last year’s WISE president and now graduate, Tracie Fowler, asked Wiley if she would be interested in directing. As a senior this will be Wiley’s second and last year directing, she intends to pass the position on to assistant director and junior Jessi Knuth.
“I think every woman can find something to connect to, multiple times throughout at least one of the monologues,” Wiley said.
Knuth said the intent of “The Vagina Monologues” is not to make people uncomfortable, but rather to bring a difficult topic into light.
“I think people think that women talking about sex and sexuality is scary,” Knuth said.
Prior to the creation of “The Vagina Monologues” the subject of female sexuality was taboo, Wiley said. The purpose is to empower women to talk about a subject affecting so much of their life.
The author, Eve Ensler, wrote the monologues as a compilation of interviews to be read by college students, not as a script. The women interviewed come from all walks of life and all have very different stories. Ensler based the concept for “The Vagina Monologues” off of the idea that every woman has a story worth telling. To Ensler, leaving a story out, for any reason, would be a form of censorship.
To perform “The Vagina Monologues” the director must follow all the rules laid out by Ensler. One of these rules says no monologue may be cut from the performance. As a result, some monologues use more graphic language and can make viewers uncomfortable.
“I think that sometimes being uncomfortable can be a good thing as it can make you think of something in a new way,” said senior and reader Sarah Ross said.
The monologues, in full, have a little something for everyone.
“I just think it’s a great cause,” Ross said. “The proceeds are going to Anna Ogden Hall.”
The cast of Whitworth’s “Vagina Monologues” voted on which charity should receive the income from the production. Anna Ogden Hall is a Women’s Recovery facility affiliated with the Union Gospel Mission (UGM). According to their web site the facility provides long-term care for women recovering from difficult situations with the intention of preparing the women for leadership within their communities
In the past only the organizers of “The Vagina Monologues” have chosen the charity. This year was the first time the Whitworth organization allowed the cast to vote, attaching a more personal feeling for the cast.
“A lot of Whitworth women had a heart there because it was more localized,” Knuth said.
To learn more about “The Vagina Monologues” and Eve Ensler’s V-Day movement go to www.vday.org or for more information about Anna Ogden Hall go to the UGM website at www.ugmspokane.org.