"The Vagina Monologues" are back

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Graphic reading VDAY 2019

As we get further into February, we approach the time of year where I experience people’s shock when I say the words "vagina monologues" in everyday conversation. I’m not surprised those around me are taken back. The word vagina throws people off in any context, and I usually don’t bring it up in lunches or at work. However, "The Vagina Monologues" is worth any sort of initial sort of awkwardness as this play is one of the most important pieces of political theatre of the modern era.

"The Vagina Monologues" is a series of monologues in the voices of women from different backgrounds. Written by playwright and activist Eve Ensler in 1994, the play explores different experiences of having a vagina, from the humorous to the traumatic to the pleasurable. It’s received its fair share of praise as well as criticism. The play has spread across the world and built up into a movement now known as V-Day.

Graphic reading 1 Billion Rising

V-Day is a global movement that uses creative events taking place in February to build awareness and bring energy to those working against gender-based violence. Performances and the monologues are the most well known, but V-Day encompasses gatherings, community meetings, documentaries and more. In 2012, V-Day launched 1 Billion Rising as a mass action to end violence against women. It's considered a “call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime.” Each year has a different theme, be it revolution or justice.

This year, the V-Day spotlight is on incarcerated women. According to the Vera Institute of Justice, 86 percent of women in prison in 2017 were sexually and/or physically abused before being incarcerated. Without support, the lasting trauma can lead to substance abuse and a more dangerous lifestyle that lands women behind bars repeatedly. There is a direct link between violence against women and girls and the likelihood they will be impacted by incarceration.

The U.S. has a huge number of people in prison, and the fastest-growing group is women. The country holds more than

A poster announcing The Vagina Monologues at UNH on Feb. 16

30 percent of the world’s imprisoned women. Women of color are much more likely to be jailed. Women also are often responsible for their families. In state prisons, more than 60 percent of women have an underage child. Women bear the emotional, financial and psychological burden of their community, which can severely damage their mental health in a prison where they do not have the resources to recover.

Breaking the silence around violence, vaginas and women is important. Being able to do so in theatre is fantastic. Get your tickets here.