Last Summer I heard my friend, Benita, was organizing a presentation of “The Vagina Monologues,” by Eve Ensler. It has been produced south of us in Humboldt County, but I never could afford the tickets or take the time to go see it. So I jumped at the chance to help organize a presentation here in Del Norte County.
Eve Ensler is a playwright based in New York City. In the mid-1990s she began interviewing women about their vaginas. From those over 200 interviews, she created the monologues. Some of them come from one woman’s interview, some are a mixture of interviews with many women, but the material comes directly from those interviews. You couldn’t make this stuff up. I’ve looked, and can’t find a direct answer to why she began doing the interviews. The most direct answer probably comes from the Monologues itself, where women say these lines:
We were worried what we think about vaginas, and even more worried that we don’t think about them. We were worried about our own vaginas. They needed a context of other vaginas — a community, a culture of vaginas. There’s so much darkness and secrecy surrounding them — like the Bermuda triangle. Nobody ever reports back from there.
It probably isn’t an event you want to take children to, unless you are prepared to answer LOTs of questions about sex. You can’t talk about vaginas without talking about sex. But sex is not really what it is about. It is about women who have been objectified, and hurt, and made to feel like something dirty and second-class simply because they are women. It is about recognizing that women are wonderful, and powerful — but not in the way men and much of the world view power. It is power with, not power over. One of the monologues that always makes me cry is, “I was there in the room,” about a woman watching her daughter-in-law give birth. Such hope and strength!
Each time “The Vagina Monologues” is performed (by local people reading the stories), it benefits local social services organizations that help women who have experienced violence because they are women. Here in Del Norte County, the beneficiaries are the North Coast Rape Crisis Team, Six Rivers Planned Parenthood, Inter Tribal Council of California DV/Sexual Assault Program, and the Smith River Rancheria Community and Family Services DV/Sexual Assault Program. The money stays in the community. The people who benefit from this money are women, men, and children, all colors, all orientations. As we work together to help each other, we make our communities stronger.
Eve Ensler first performed “The Vagina Monologues” in 1996. It went from a small cafe venue, to being performed on Broadway. The Monologues have been performed around the world, and have raised over $4 million dollars to help people who have been harmed by sexualized violence. There is even an organization founded on what it began: VDay. One of their slogans is, Until the Violence Stops!
I will probably write more about my experiences with “The Vagina Monologues,” but I wanted to give you some context for what I am writing about. Also, if you happen to be in Del Norte or Southern Curry Counties, to invite you to attend one of our three presentations!
- March 31st (Saturday), 7-9 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm) at College of the Redwoods, Crescent City CA. (Limited seating for this one.)
- April 7th (Saturday), 7-9 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm) at the Tolowa Event Center, Lucky 7 Casino, Smith River CA. This is our largest venue (400 seats), and will also include a Silent Auction. Tickets on sale at Del Norte Office Supply (Crescent City), Main Street Fashion/Skate (Brookings), and at the door.
- April 14th (Saturday), 7-9 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm) at the Elk Valley Community Center (Crescent City). Tickets on sale at Del Norte Office Supply and at the door.
You can also purchase tickets from many of the cast members (if you know them). 🙂