February 29, 2012

Sex Talk For a Good Cause

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If your vagina could talk, what would it say? “It depends on who it’s talking to.” “When it’s talking to me it says I love you.” “Handle with care.” “Use the force.” “When it’s talking to my boyfriend it says you’re fun.” What do you call it? “Vajayjay” “hoo-ha,” “down there.” These are all answers from the fun loving cast of The Vagina Monologues in a couple of videos produced with the help of Slope Media Group. Each year The Vagina Monologues is performed here at Cornell and around the country to support the fight against violence towards women and girls. The play, as you can probably infer, is all about women and their relationships with their vaginas.  Eve Ensler wrote the first version of the monologues in 1996 after interviewing 200 women about their experiences and views on sex, violence and relationships. The monologues continue to evolve and change with time and each year a new monologue is added to highlight modern issues that women are facing. The show covers everything from sex to rape, from masturbation to menstruation. Women and critics have celebrated the progressive play since its opening. In 1997, Ensler was presented with an Obie Award for Best New Play.Co-director Katie McCulloh reveals some details about this year’s production. “This year our spotlight monologue addresses the issues of women in Port Au Prince, Bukavu and New Orleans. We also have a monologue which speaks to the experiences of women in Eastern Congo where a regional war has been raging for 14 years.”This year’s performance of The Vagina Monologues will kick off International Women’s Week here at Cornell and raise funds for V-Day and the Ithaca Advocacy Center. Each year global performances of The Vagina Monologues are the anchor of what is called the V-Day movement. V-Day is a global activist movement committed to educating people about violence against women and working with civil society and advocacy groups to prevent violence in the future. V-Day, as we all know, is February 14th, but according to this group the “V” stands also stands for victory, and of course, vagina.   As most progressive art does, the play has also attracted a large amount of criticism. The monologue, “The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could,” has been the strongest magnet.  The monologue features a woman remembering a sexual encounter, and calls into question what is considered rape.  The play has now been performed in over 140 countries and has been translated into 48 languages.  The money raised has helped to create safe houses in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Kenya and Iraq that provide sanctuary for women against honor killing and female genital mutilation.  In 2004 Ensler along with Jane Fonda and Deep Stealth Production Company cast a transgender performance of the Monologues for the first time. The performers were all transgender females, and that year’s monologue depicted the struggles faced by transgender people.  Cornell’s auditions in December were open to anyone who identified as a woman. The Vagina Monologues deals with some pretty heavy issues, but it is about so more than strife.  The Vagina Monologues is about the power of the vagina, sexual freedom and the abuses that vaginas have dealt with, not just from forceful men, but also from tampons, douches and prodding OB/GYNs.  This performance promises some lighthearted and funny monologues from a cast of confident Cornellian women. “The performance itself represents a diversity of voices and we hope there will be a piece of something for everyone“ McCulloh adds. “While the play is performed exclusively by women, we believe that the stories portrayed in this play can resonate with anyone; they are powerful narratives about sex, masturbation, sexuality, war, violence, abuse and love” says co-director Rhea Fernandes, who, along with McCulloh, shares directing duties with Dominique Thomas.  Last year the spotlight campaign raised $211,894 and this year they are hoping to make that number even higher.  The Vagina Monologues will take place this Saturday March 3rd at Bailey Hall.  The show begins at 8pm. The show will feature Hearsay A Capella. Tickets can be purchased online at www.baileytickets.com or in-person from a cast member. Tickets are $9 in advance and $10 at the door.

Original Author: Arielle Cruz