Annual ‘Vagina Monologues’ production spotlights women’s health

Photo courtesy of Sarah Kirkpatrick

Photo courtesy of Sarah Kirkpatrick

By Sarah Kirkpatrick, Staff Writer

Roughly half of humankind consists of women, but talking about female anatomy and sexuality remains taboo in everyday conversation. This year’s annual performance of The Vagina Monologues, held in the CUB Ballroom on February 23rd and 24th, sought to change this culture by giving a voice to the experiences of women on campus and throughout the world.

Based on the award-winning play by activist Eve Ensler, The Vagina Monologues incorporated over 200 interviews with women of different ages, races, and sexual orientations about their experiences with sexuality and thoughts on what being a woman means to them into one empowering product. With its massive success, the show inspired “V-Day”, an international movement to end violence against women.

After Dean Julie Ramsey brought the production to Gettysburg College 16 years ago, the event has become a tradition on campus. Gettysburg College’s version, hosted by the Women’s Center and directed by Caroline Lewis and Naima Scott, also featured original student monologues sharing similar themes, including one written from the perspective of a queer woman.

Dressed in black and red, the student actresses transported audiences through a whirlwind of emotions as they recited each piece, which ranged from comedic looks at topics like masturbation to horrific depictions of sexual abuse and genital mutilation. Highlights included a story about 72-year-old woman who had never seen her vagina and a monologue about the challenges of growing up as a transgender woman.

“All of those monologues whether funny, sad, or happy were real and impacted me like someone who went through them,” explained first year performer Quyn Israel, who recited a monologue about female genital mutilation, “I just want the audience to take away the sense of realness in everything we spoke about that night.”

The show donated all of its proceeds to Survivors, Inc., a nonprofit that assists victims of domestic abuse or sexual assault in Adams County. Tickets cost 10 dollars and students could also purchase Nike-inspired “Just Do It– with consent” shirts or chocolate vagina-shaped lollipops to contribute more to the cause.

The show and its empowering message deeply impacted Gettysburg students, a reality that became obvious as both male and female audience members laughed, cried, and applauded throughout the performance.

“I hope that people learned to laugh at how ridiculous the expectations for vaginas are,” said senior and first-time Vagina Monologues performer Lexi Casella. “I hope that people learned to respect how much vaginas do, from pushing babies out to going through menstrual cycles every four weeks. I hope that people learned the vaginas feel pain just like the rest of the body does, and that they will think twice before abusing it,” she said.

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