Sexuality and health shared with student body
THE SANTA CLARA
April 30, 2015
“Does the female form make you uncomfortable?” asked Maude Lebowski’s character to “the Dude.”
The answer from the women in “The Vagina Monologues,” was a resounding “no” when the annual female-focused theatrical piece took place at Locatelli Activity Center this weekend.
“Talking about vaginas is a taboo topic, while talking about male genitalia is considered comedic and normal,” said performer Rachel Livengood. “These are real stories, and women experience these things all the time. They happen every single day.”
The show uses humor, emotionally-charged storytelling and plenty of candid discussion to make an impact on audience members, opening conversations otherwise considered risqué.
“(There is) freedom to do and say all the things we’re not supposed to do,” said performer Piper Thompson. “We can talk about our sexuality, be sexual, be sensitive, be loving — all the things society dictates we should do privately, we did with each other and in front of a crowd of people, and that was an incredibly liberating feeling.”
The monologues cover topics ranging from sexuality and menstruation to sexual assault and more. There was even a monologue about transgender women that was not featured in previous years.
The performance raised funds for Homesafe, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting survivors of domestic abuse.
The intent is not simply to create a racy and thought-provoking show, but to empower all audience members as they think about women’s issues and engage with them on a daily basis.
“Even for women who are unashamed to talk about their vaginas, it’s hard to find spaces where you can do that, especially on a Jesuit campus,” said performer Genre McAtee.
Regardless, there was a representative from Campus Ministry at each performance to support and enjoy the show.
Despite previous difficulty with university standards, “The Vagina Monologues” has managed to continue their tradition of portraying feminist social justice messages through an entertaining piece for the Santa Clara student body to enjoy.
Not every audience member, however, takes away a feeling of empowerment and resonance. While the show has always been popular on campus, it has been cancelled in the past due to its perceived stance against Jesuit principles surrounding sexual freedom.
“(What) is difficult about being a participant in the show is understanding that not everyone will agree or understand where the show is coming from,” said Livengood.
For many audience members, this show is the first time they have heard this type of frank dialogue surrounding female sexuality.
The monologues allow women to share their experiences and find solidarity with one another in a safe environment. As a result, many monologues dwell on the topic of women’s bodies that may be hidden due to shame. But most times this timidness is unwarranted.
“You’re not alone, you’re not weird and you’re not wrong. You are beautiful,” said McAtee, echoing the theme of the show. “I hope the men who came to see the show (walked) away with a different perspective on the female experience.”
McAtee was glad she and her fellow performers felt empowered and opened a discussion for the rest of the student body.
“(The show tries to) give both men and women a space to think and talk about issues surrounding health, sexual pleasure, abuse, biology and confidence,” said McAtee.
Contact Summer Meza at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.