These are some of the things vaginas would say if they could talk. On March 12, the Laney College Media Club presented a special performance of “The Vagina Monologues” to raise money to prevent violence against women.
|By Reginald James|
Compelling narratives give the audience insight as to some of the deepest experiences of sexual expression, repression and oppression many women deal with. Yet, these feelings are often kept beneath the surface.
“Women secretly love to talk about their vaginas,” one woman explains in the opening monologue, “mostly because nobody ever talks about them at all.”
The word “vagina” itself is also explored. “It sounds like an infection at best, maybe a medical instrument. ‘Hurry, nurse, bring me the vagina!”
Women also give their love zones aliases, sharing colloquial favorites like “punany,” “coochie,” “twat” and “nappy dugout.” All names are recalled with humorous delight. To put an Oaktown twist, vaginas are even called the “Golden Gate” and the “Taco Truck.”
One woman reclaims the word “Cunt!” by leading the crowd to chant the word repeatedly.
One 72-year-old woman stopped looking “down there” after an embarrassing squirting accident. During her first kiss that ended with her ejaculating inside her date’s vehicle, she was driven home because her “sour milk was staining his car seat.” The experience sealed her lips for nearly half a century.
She wasn’t the only woman made to feel ashamed of her womanhood. Some were told their vaginas were “ugly.”
Another imagined something else her down there until she completely forgot she had a vagina. That is, until she met Bob, the “Vagina Connoisseur”, depicted by Media Communications professor Marla Leech. Bob was so mesmerized by her feminine flower bud that he instilled in her an appreciation for her pleasurable center.
Traci Baxter, theater arts major, described the liberating experience that came from a group “Vagina workshop” she attended with other women. The workshop forced her to look her mysterious “Black Hole” with a hand mirror.
“It had never existed before,” Baxter said. “I had depended on someone else to find it. “
At times the play is hilarious. At others, it’s troubling. This contrasting sense of pleasure and pain makes “The Vagina Monologues” intimate, personal and impactful.
Monologues takes aim at feminine products stealing vaginas’ natural scented thunder in the name of cleanliness. Having a “dry wad of cotton” shoved up a woman’s and scented productions with scents of flowers, berries and rain was unnecessary for one woman.
“Why the fuck would I want my pussy to smell like rain?” one young woman sarcastically asked. Moments later, she describes the invasive process of vaginal examination; cold stirrups, flashlights and blue latex gloves. “Why not red gloves?”
Humor was often quickly followed by painful stories the sexual exploitation of women.
A Bosnian woman’s story of being raped as a tactic of war sent chills through the audience. The monologue, “The Vagina was My Village,” tells one woman’s perception of her vagina after being tortured for a week. She said her “live, wet, water village” was “invaded, butchered…and burned” as she describes being gang-raped with a rifle, sticks and bottles, and left with their sperm inside her.
One lawyer–turned–sex worker finds her calling as a domineering call girl. Portrayed by SF Appeal’s Christine Borden, she finds pleasure in making other women moan. The crowd laughs as she demonstrates various moans, such as the clit moan, vaginal moan, the machine-gun moan, the diva moan and even the college “I should be studying” moan. Her moans arouse excitement as she expresses her sensuality without inhibitions.
The play ends with a survivor of rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo sharing eight rules that helped her survive her rape.
The play tells women to find self-validation by loving the essence of self, while forcing men to acknowledge their responsibility in the fight against the sexual and emotional abuse of women.
Vaginas talk. Are you listening?