Vagina: a pertinent, but stigmatized word that is echoed all over the world.
Put on by Center for Gender Equity at Pacific University on Feb. 12, 13 and 14, the Vagina Monologues have been performed every other year at Pacific for 10 years.
This year was the first year of collaboration between the Center for Gender Equity and the new applied theater program, a winter class students were able to take in order to be a part of the performance.
“It’s a wonderful partnership because we share the mission and vision,” Director of the Center for Gender Equity Martha Rampton said.
The Vagina Monologues, a scripted play written by Eve Ensler, depicts women empowerment surrounding the word and meaning of the vagina. This play has been performed at more than 500 colleges in more than 20 countries.
The performance deals with different challenges women face regarding their vaginas.
Both comical and poignant, the actors in the play portray empowered women in hopes to spread awareness about violence against women and our societal views on the vagina.
Sophomore Tyler Wiprud took the winter class because he needed theater credits and developed a liking to the performance aspect.
Although he was not able to have his own monologue because of his gender, he was able to do introductions for the monologues and partake in a man’s role during one of the performances.
“There’s a taboo with guys doing things that are sexualized like this because of traditional masculinity,” Wiprud said. “It isn’t normal for a guy to sit down and listen to the way people feel and I think that’s really stupid. I personally like to challenge those things every once in a while.”
Wiprud said he believes the play sends out a great message and is important to our society and community because it motivates people to talk about the construction and social structures of gender.
Sophomore Kayla Wiley performed in a more comical statement called “My Angry Vagina.”
“It’s a great way to start a conversation about vaginas and feminism,” Wiley said. “[The play] is looking at our vaginas now as an empowerment tool whereas before it was used kind of against us.”
For Wiley, along with many others, the thought of being in a more controversial play hadn’t crossed her mind, but she said she is glad she did it.
Rampton added that since the government has been paying more attention to violence against women recently, the plays are very pertinent.
“Our focus is on social commentary,” Rampton said. “The purpose of being in the play is to make a statement.”