V-Day: Valentine, victory, vagina

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By Hanna Squire

On Feb. 2, 3 and 4, Union College Women’s Union presented its annual production of the Vagina Monologues in Old Chapel.

The play, which was written by Eve Ensler, is based on her interviews with more than 200 women and is performed worldwide in February as part of Ensler’s V-Day organization. The organization is dedicated to increasing awareness about violence against women and girls, which includes rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation and sex slavery.

All of the proceeds from ticket sales went to charities that help women who are victims of violence and are in need of international awareness. This year, 90% of the proceeds went towards the Northeastern New York YWCA Women’s Domestic Center and 10% of the proceeds went towards organizations in Haiti that support women and girls as a part of Ensler’s spotlight campaign.

The Spotlight Campaign charity changes each year and is chosen by Ensler in order to raise awareness and funds about an international issue that is best addressed via media coverage. Additionally, throughout last week Women’s Union sold vagina-shaped lollipops and T-shirts to raise more proceeds for the two organizations.

Contributors to the play included Delta Delta Delta, Sigma Delta Tau, Gamma Phi Beta, Alpha Delta Lambda, Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad/Lambda Pi Chi Sorority, Inc. and Sigma Phi.

The show was directed by Jaclyn Toop ‘12 and produced by Women’s Union members Rachel Feingold ‘12 and Helena Jasmine Sowah ‘13.

Each year, the student participants wear a different costume; this year they wore black outfits and red feather boas. Each performer performed a monologue that represented a real woman’s story and how she answered two questions: what would your vagina wear and what would it say?

[pullquote]We are giving voices to women who did not have voices before.

Aria Walfrand, Class of 2011[/pullquote]

The topics of the monologues ranged from humorous to horrific in order to address issues of violence against and hope for women everywhere. Intermixed within the monologues were statistics regarding international violence against women, such as the 130 million women who have been victims of genital mutilation.

“We are giving voices to women who did not have voices before,” said Aria Walfrand ’11, who performed the monologue “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy.”

Topics covered included sexual health and awareness, birth, female bravery and redefining the c-word in a positive way.

The final performance of the night was the 2011 Haiti Spotlight Monologue, which addressed the 2010 earthquake aftermath. This monologue described the many people who lost their lives as well as those survivors, specifically women, who are now homeless, vulnerable and exposed.

“I think it’s important that a production of The Vagina Monologues is performed each year at Union and it makes me proud to be a part of a college that stands for this important message,” said Walfrand.

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