The Vagina Monologues, based off the 1996 Obie-award winning play written by Eve Ensler, will be filling Bailey Hall. The Vagina Monologues is an annual production sponsored by Cornell Women’s Resource Center, according to the event’s Facebook page.
The play is described as a “whirlwind tour of a forbidden zone,” according to its website.
The website said that V-Day – the global non-profit organization founded by Ensler – invites educational institutions like Cornell to perform “benefit events” such as The Vagina Monologues in order to raise money and awareness for charities dedicated to the prevention of violence towards women and girls.
90 percent of proceeds from The Vagina Monologues will go to the Tompkins County Advocacy Center and the remaining 10 percent will go to V-Day, according to Callie Aboaf ’21, a performer in the monologues. The Advocacy Center is a local resource that provides support, education and advocacy for those affected by domestic violence and sexual assault in Tompkins County.
This year’s themed “Spotlight” focus is on “Women in Prisons and Jails, Detention Centers and Formerly Incarcerated Women,” according to the V-Day’s Spotlight website.
Working in conjunction with activists and formerly incarcerated women, V-Day found a direct correlation between incarceration and “violence and abuse done to women and girls.” According to a 2017 study conducted by The Vera Institute of Justice, 86 percent of women were sexually or physically abused before incarceration.
Eli Serrano ’20, another performer, described the empowering effects of the show from the other side of the curtain.
“It is liberating putting myself in the position to openly talk about the the struggles and triumphs of being a woman and having a vagina,” Serrano said. “It was so inspiring to me last year and having the opportunity to be apart of this years production has been an empowering experience.”
The biggest message to take away from The Vagina Monologues, Aboaf said, is that women should “talk about vaginas and sex from the non-male perspective more” and that “women have diverse experiences that are all worth amplifying.”
According to the show’s web page, they raised $9,000 in a prior Cornell performance. Aboaf said their goal this year is to sell at least 1,000 tickets for the Bailey Hall performance, which, with a ticket price of $10, would result in another $9,000 for The Advocacy Center.
“lt makes me feel confident because I can talk about an important topic on stage, make people laugh and start awesome conversations,” Aboaf said. “Last year people were beyond supportive of my monologue, which is especially risqué, which I really appreciated. I’ve enjoyed meeting my fellow performers and having a space to talk about vaginas.”
The show is coming to Cornell on Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. in Bailey Hall; tickets are available online.