The North Dakota State organization, Violence Prevention Educators (VPE), is hosting the national play, “The Vagina Monologues.” Written by Eve Ensler, “The Vagina Monolgues” help bring awareness to relationships, sex, rape and life with a vagina.
The play started in the early ’90s and as stories that Ensler and her friends had exchanged, which then led her to conduct interviews with other women. These women spoke of their experiences with their vaginas, so the play touches on related subjects, such as sex, love, rape, female genital mutilation and bodily functions a vagina produces.
This year for “The Vagina Monologues,” the money made gets donated to YWCA in Fargo, which is a women’s shelter that strives to empower women and eliminate racism through multiple programs. This is also the 20-year anniversary for Ensler’s V-Day campaign, which works to prevent violence against women, so they will be honoring that as well.
Madison Schill, senior at NDSU, has taken on leadership of VPE, and has therefore helped organize the event. Schill will also be performing. When talking to her, she spoke up about what the play experience is truly like and its importance in society today.
Within the play there are both serious and funny moments, which Schill describes as a nice mix and blending of content. There is a monologue from the point of view from a vagina, one about accepting your vagina, a transwoman sharing her experience and much more.
With the play, Schill described it as, “Coming to terms with the fact you have a vagina, and how to take care of it and things like that.”
This year all performers are NDSU students. However, Schill explained that, “It’s not their stories; it’s based on these interviews. The thing is, a lot of them speak to women’s experiences in general, so I think that’s a big draw for one, the activism portion towards female empowerment, and the other big draw would just be interest in performing.”
Since it was made in the early ’90s, there have been many revisions over the years to keep it relevant and interesting. This year the script is the same as last year’s, but Schill explained it is still as though it is a new play.
“What’s really interesting is that when you bring in a whole new set of cast members — so every year it feels like a new show because everyone has such a different take on it,” Schill said.
Now, why talk about something that people never talk about?
“One of the really big reasons it’s important is because we’re so afraid to talk about female bodies and female health in general,” Schill expressed.
While advertising the event, Schill has seen multiple people cringe away from the word vagina and make it seem as though it is a dirty word.
“We’re so afraid to say that word or to talk about periods in a public space when it’s something that so many people deal with that then leads to us not being able to talk about a lot of things,” Schill shared.
She thinks once people stop believing vagina to be a bad word it will open doors to talk about other topics, such as rape, being transgender, sex, etc. “They like to be shoved aside in a lot of different ways, and now that we’re hearing all of these sexual assault allegations, it’s more and more important to talk about it,” Schill said.
Many people are taught to shy away from talking about anything having to do with vaginas, especially periods.
“If you grow up and you’re talking about periods, and periods are so shameful and hid, and I think that all translates just to when we don’t talk about the bare minimum — just biology, we can’t talk about anything more serious than that,” Schill believes.
Schill describes the event as empowering, thought-provoking and emotional. “It’s kind of everything that comes along with having a vagina,” Schill said.
“The Vagina Monologues” will be performed 6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 16, in the Memorial Union Century Theater. Tickets are $5 for students and $7 for everyone else. All proceeds go to the YWCA in Fargo.