Monologues showcase female perspective
A diverse crowd of about 300 people, mostly from the University community, lined the pews of Voorhees Chapel on Douglass campus Friday and Saturday to show their support for one thing: the vagina.
An all-female cast acted out this year's Vagina Monologues as part of the V-Day College Campaign, in which the main goal was to help end violence against women. Proceeds from the show - derived from donations, T-Shirt sales and vagina-shaped chocolates - went to the New Orleans Relief Fund, local charity and women's shelter Women Aware, and Amnesty International's Stop Violence Against Women Campaign.
Over the two-day period, more than $2,000 was raised for the charities.
The play featured 12 monologues, ranging in topic from female self-discovery and sexual assault to the plight of transgender individuals. All of the monologues were told from the point-of-view of women interviewed by Eve Ensler more than 10 years ago.
School of Arts and Sciences senior Juliana Pace, who produced and directed the performance, said she wanted men to feel comfortable attending the play.
"It is a feminist event, but one of V-Day's objectives is to get men involved as much as possible," she said. "I looked at the audience, and every year there are more and more men."
One of the men in the audience, Rutgers College sophomore Daniel Greene, said he decided to see the play in an attempt to step outside of his comfort zone.
"So far, I found it not awkward at all: very enjoyable and interesting," he said. "Maybe women are glad to see a guy here, and maybe coming here and seeing this will influence my actions in the future."
Douglass College junior Michelle Oo said she saw the play her first year at the University, and it helped bolster inter-gender equality.
"I think the girls are doing very well," Oo said. "This helps men understand a little more and be more respectful toward women."
The crowd roared with laughter as actress Margaret Krebs, a Douglass College senior, came in through the back of the audience yelling, "My vagina is angry."
Her character complained about many of the inconveniences a vagina causes, such as dry cotton tampons, rain-smelling douches and the cold metal speculums used by gynecologists.
Actress Francesca Maresca, a senior health education specialist at Hurtado Health Center on the College Avenue campus, played a woman who was being cheated on by her husband because she would not shave her vagina. She was told by her therapist to please her husband sexually because marriage is a compromise, so she was forced by her husband to shave.
"It's the leaf around the flower, the lawn around the house," Maresca said to the audience's applause. "You have to love hair in order to love the vagina. You can't pick the parts you want. And besides, my husband never stopped screwing around."
Actress Samantha Shanni, a Douglass College junior, said the play was intended to encourage dialogue between the sexes rather than just showcase diatribes against males. She said both men and women needed to address the issues affecting females.
"[The campaign] comes from the perspective of empowerment and understanding women's minority status in this country and to try and change it," Shanni said.