The Vagina Monologues at Keene State

Student-run production focuses on struggles of womanhood

Keene State College recently presented a student-run production that focused on the struggles of being a woman.

Students and the public were invited to watch the performance of “The Vagina Monologues” on Feb. 12.

The Vagina Monologues was written by Eve Ensler and first performed at the Off Broadway Westside Theatre in 1996.

Each of the monologues deals with an aspect of the feminine experience.

Jake Coughlin / Administrative Executive Editor

Jake Coughlin / Administrative Executive Editor

Some of the matters touched on included sex, love, rape, menstruation, orgasm and masturbation.

Ensler interviewed hundreds of women of all different ages, races and backgrounds about their vaginas..

She then put together monologues from some of her most memorable interviews regarding the stigmas women face.

In the original piece, Ensler performed every monologue herself, but KSC wanted to include multiple people in its production.

Students and the public were invited to audition.

Director of the show and KSC junior Sophia Olsen said the purpose behind the show was “to highlight sexism issues of the female body being taboo, especially the vagina.”

“I’m so tired of the stigma behind women’s bodies,” Olsen said.

She said she likes the fact that the Vagina Monologues doesn’t just cover the topic of vaginas, but also “the sexism behind clothing choices.”

Olsen referenced one of the monologues that showed the stigma women receive for their choice of clothing.

“It’s really important to have something like that in a production like this,” she said, “Vagina Monologues calls out that patriarchal sexism… that patriarchal idea that women are to be seen and not heard.”

Olsen said she believes women are not allowed to really “express themselves in a deep way.” She continued, “I’m really against that. I think women should be able to express themselves and should be able to love their bodies, including the vagina.”

The production also focused on the struggles that transgender women face, as well as monologues regarding hair on the body, clothing choice, sexual abuse, masturbation and others.

One monologue concentrated on how women are sometimes judged for having hair on their bodies.

Another focused on how women should not be afraid to know their bodies and what they like.The performers added humor to the production by enacting the stereotypical types of moans during sex.

First-year student Maggie St. Louis said the women had been preparing for the production for two weeks.

She said she believes it is crucial for people to be aware of the stigmas women face.

“I think today we’re fortunate because we live in such an open society where we accept a lot of things, but I still feel like there’s that issue so people really need to be aware,” she said.

First-year student Kaitlyn Jones said she was intrigued by the production because the topic “is such a taboo.”

She said, “I feel like during high school we were all kind of sheltered. Now that we’re out in the open it’s a good time to start learning these types of things.”

Student performer Ashley Gage said she wanted to get involved in the production because “it’s such a controversial topic” and “it brings awareness to what actually happens to women.”

Jones referred to orientation and recalled hearing about how many women are sexually abused during college.

“We have more freedom and with that brings more responsibility,” she said, “Regardless male or female, [students] aren’t used to the freedom.”

Gage said she thinks sexual abuse is something that happens a lot and that “no one really talks about.”

She said, “The fact that we’re allowed to do this production and people are allowed to talk about it, it’s amazing.”

The event costed three dollars for students and five dollars for the public.

All proceeds were donated to MCVP: Crisis and Prevention Center.

“It’s a very relaxed environment,” Gage said, “This production is a great way to talk about these stigmas without being too confrontational.

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