Since its creation in 1996, The Vagina Monologues has been performed in more than 130 countries and over 50 languages. It is regarded as a controversial and inappropriate series of honest, hilarious and serious monologues, and was taken under the wing of The Dead Pinocchio Theatre last Valentine’s Day weekend. Starring women empowered by the words of Eve Ensler’s, written 17 years prior, each told stories depicting separate experiences with masturbation, sex, rape, abuse and child birth. All of the donations collected Saturday and Sunday went to SAFE place, a shelter for domestic abuse victims in Battle Creek, Mich.
Each story recited gave me a look into the storyteller’s eyes, feeling what they feel and knowing what they know. Whether it was the elderly, Brooklyn-born woman who had only seldom talked about her “down there” or the sexually abused woman who was forced to shave because of her husband’s strange infatuation, each story was empowering. Each tale was charming and charismatic, and I give credit to The Dead Pinocchio Theatre.
My favorite story was entitled “My Angry Vagina.” The monologue goes on about its frustration with tampons, gynecologist and lack of sexual pleasure. The delivery of this monologue was nothing but hilarious and painfully truthful. It almost had me in tears as the reader screamed “But no more tortures — dry wad of f**cking cotton, cold duck lips and thong underwear. That’s the worst. Thong underwear. Who thought that up? Moves around all the time; gets stuck in the back of your vagina, real crusty butt.” Glorious.
In recent years, this work has not only gathered criticism due to its lack of representation for women of color and trans women, but some critics also argue whether or not a play like this is still relevant in the age of “feminist shows” like Lena Dunham’s Girls. It is a show that explores areas that Vagina Monologues tends to over look. Since The Vagina Monologues was written nearly 17 years ago, it can be politically incorrect. Because of this, those who watch it start to question whether it still has the same effect on our modern society. However, the monologues still include the perspective of a trans woman, titled “They Beat the Girl Out of my Boy…Or So They Tried” and personally, I believe it is still relevant to today’s society.
The overall reaction from crowd was positive, laughing and nodding as each story was told. Even the elderly couple in front were laughing as one of the speakers asked the audience to “reclaim the word ‘cunt’.” With that being said and this being my first time seeing the play, I walked away feeling that even though I didn’t contribute to the play theatrically, I was a part of something bigger. It felt like a secret society of people who had gotten to experience this wonderful performance.
Photo by Alex Carey
-A previous version of this article included saying “certain sexual orientations, such as transgenders,” and has been corrected. As defined by the Human Rights Campaign, sexual orientation refers to “an inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual attraction to other people,” and is different from gender identity and expression. The Pleiad regrets the error.
-The previous version also did not include the hyperlinks or the mention of the monologue, “They Beat the Girl Out of my Boy…Or So They Tried.” This was added to clarify the author’s opinion of the relevancy of The Vagina Monologues.