By Carina Sorrentino
This past week Women’s U put on their annual showing of The Vagina Monologues, preceded by their week-long fundraiser in Reamer.
The fundraiser as well as the performance is held with the hopes of breaking ground on Union’s campus to end violence and oppression towards women.
President of Women’s U Kyra DeTone ’16 stated, “Our club is meant to raise awareness about the issues of women on campus as well as in every day society. I think in recent years it has extended to issues surrounding gender as well.”
A week’s worth of fundraising in Reamer raised money, 90 percent of which will go towards the YWCA (Young Women Christian Association) of Schenectady, an organization dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women.
The YWCA in Schenectady acts as a safe haven for battered and victimized women in the community, an ideal cause for Women’s U to support.
The remaining 10 percent of their funds will go towards the V-Day activist movement, which began after Eve Ensler originally wrote The Vagina Monologues in 1994. The V-Day movement provides scripts and resources worldwide for universities to put on their own showings of the production.
Ensler’s play exploded as a symbol of female strength, addressing sexuality and social stigma in an artistic way that had never been done before.
DeTone stated, “She spoke out on these issues and basically said to society, ‘Hey, we are women, these problems effect us, and we are going to talk about it,’ and she did this in an extraordinary way.”
The play follows a series of interviews with women, each of whom tells a personal story about their sexuality and womanhood.
Some monologues are comical, while others are somber, each monologue is mean to be thought-provoking in some way. DeTone said, “Some are more personal accounts of sexual assault and violence, and when paired with the more funny stories, we have the ability to bring awareness to the campus in a fun and creative way. This gets the message across much more effectively than a simple discussion.”
Union has been presenting The Vagina Monologues for several years now. When it initially began, it was a faculty-only performance. Over the years, it has evolved into a student-run project, but DeTone said she is hoping to get faculty involved again next year. “When I first heard that, I found it so interesting, and now I would love to bring in faculty members because it only helps to widen our audience,” DeTone commented.
Over the weekend, three performances of The Vagina Monologues were performed and received much positive feedback. “It was a very good turnout and I was extremely pleased,” DeTone remarked. “You saw different faces every night. The audience responded well, and our actresses did a remarkable job. The amount of energy they each brought truly made each monologue unique.” As a play that demands little stage direction, each actress had to interpret her assigned monologue based on her personal style.
The main message of movements such as V-Day and Women’s U is to speak to the female populations, especially on college campuses and remind them that they have a voice. In an environment where sexual assault and harassment can occur, it is important to remind others that these topics cannot go overlooked.
“I think that many people think of random violence as the only kind of abuse, but that is simply not the case,” said DeTone. “Sexual harassment is predominant on campus and many see it as unimportant, but if those actions make a woman feel negatively and take away her power or confidence then it is not acceptable. No woman should ever have to feel that way.”
The Vagina Monologues speaks through the voices of singular women but unites them for a common cause of sharing an important sentiment, while bonding the actresses, the audience, and sending the right kind of message about the strength that each woman has.