The Vagina Monologues delves into female sexuality and struggles

Virgina-Julian.jpg

Ten Baruch College students commanded the stage in the Multipurpose Room and challenged many attitudes by exploring female sexuality and empowering the female identity on Feb. 22. The students performed the episodic play, The Vagina Monologues, made famous by playwright Eve Ensler in 1996: a play that is much more than a collection of anecdotes from different female speakers.

The free event drew a full crowd of Baruch students and some faculty.

The 10 performers embodied Ensler’s original intention of “entering into a forbidden conversation” by charging each performance with emotion and authority.

One of the most notable performances featured student Risa Colander who presented, “The Vagina Workshop.”

Impassioned and sporting an English accent, Colander told the story of a woman lacking an understanding of her own sexuality. The woman attends a workshop and is instructed to physically explore herself. Upon doing so, she reflects on her own sexuality and the connection between her genitals and her mind. The story closes with the woman finally taking control of her own body, realizing the importance of self-love and the beauty of her own body.

Colander described preparing for the performance as empowering: “In the beginning, many of us were switching roles and getting comfortable with our characters. Personal connection definitely drew most of us to the roles that we finally stuck with.”

Another one of the many powerful performances featured almost all the performers in a group spoken word piece. “They Beat the Girl out of My Boy” was an audience favorite, resulting in a booming round of applause.

The story begins with the perspective of a young boy who longs to be female and grows up facing the consequences of his choices to not fit into a category of gender. “I was assigned a sex at random … It has nothing to do with who you are,” read the performers.

The audience was captivated while the speakers detailed the struggles of a person to simply feel at home with one’s body and with one’s sexuality, drawing attention and causing the audience to be conscious of gender under a new perspective.

Teamare Gaston, the mastermind behind the event, made sure to encourage those struggling with gender identity or simply seeking guidance to visit the Health and Wellness Center for support. Gaston is a representative of Peers Advocates for Wellness Services, which is a part of T.E.A.M. Baruch.

The evening featured more sensitive content as well. Some performances detailed accounts of rape and genital mutilation.

“A lot of explicit material was discussed tonight, but I think that awareness of being able to contribute to aiding these issues is necessary. Exposure cures ignorance and can save lives,” said Alyssa Tantillo, a student who attended the show.

The Vagina Monologues in past years maintained themes of love and tolerance, but this year’s focus was even more practical. Gaston cited empathy and action as this year’s theme. “Ideally, we wanted to get a certain message across. These are not simply monologues, they’re experiences. These are the experiences of women every day all around the world.”

The Vagina Monologues is much more than a performance to raise awareness. V-Day, the nonprofit organization that releases the royalty-free rights to the play every February, takes part in many global activist movements for women’s rights.

The Vagina Monologues and performances thereof contribute to these activist movements for women’s rights.

Funds collected from the suggested donation boxes are directly donated to V-Day-sponsored charities, including rape crisis centers and shelters for women who were victims of domestic violence. Each year, tens of thousands of dollars are collected and help touch the lives of women facing adversity across the globe.

The Health and Wellness Center, in collaboration with all club sponsorships for the event, urge those who enjoyed the show and empathized with the issues discussed to donate to V-Day’s nonprofit organization.

NewsLiam GiordanoComment