Why "The Vagina Monologues" Is So Important

Why "The Vagina Monologues" Is So Important

This play refuses to be whispered. It demands to be shouted.
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For those who have never heard of "The Vagina Monologues," it is a play consisting of a series of monologues composed from interviews that writer Eve Ensler had with over 200 women of different backgrounds, sexualities, races, and ages. It first premiered in 1996 in New York City. The various monologues focus on topics ranging from childbirth, sex, love, sexual violence, menstruation, sex work, feeling altogether comfortable with one’s body, and, you guessed it, vaginas.

This past Saturday, UNLV had its benefit production of the play. All proceeds from the event went to the UNLV CARE Survivor Fund, an emergency funding source for students who are victims of sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, or stalking to help them get out of the situation and keep them safe.

My first experience with Eve Ensler’s "The Vagina Monologues" was in a women’s literature class during my freshman year of college. It was the first book that we read that I didn’t feel the need to scour the Internet for a SparkNotes or Shmoop for because it was too long, boring, or confusing. This was the first one that I genuinely enjoyed reading for its content, rather than its literary beauty, prose, or elegant syntax. This collection of monologues was something altogether different than what we had been reading. It was immediately relatable and that’s part of its magic.

It’s certainly not perfect. The criticisms of the play are endless and everyone has their own opinion about them. One of the most common criticisms is the lack of trans women’s experiences. However, UNLV’s production did include a trans woman’s monologue. There are many other critiques of the play that range from focusing too much on sexual violence to negative portrayals of heterosexual relationships. Whether you agree with the critiques or not, there are still several valid reasons why "The Vagina Monologues" is so important.

It normalizes the word "vagina."

The very first monologue in the book version is devoted to the names that people call their vaginas, including everything from “powderbox” and “peepe” to “coochi snorcher” and “mongo.” People often go out of their way not to use the word "vagina" and if they have to say it, they whisper it. The thing that people, myself included, forget, is that whispering it makes it seem bad and wrong and that can have lasting effects on a woman's self-esteem and body image.

Boys and men draw penises on notebooks, each other’s arms, and just about anything else, but women and girls are sometimes taught to not even say the word "vagina," much less draw it. Refusing to say it or call it something else creates a Voldemort effect and makes it seem scary and dangerous, but it’s just a word. My little sister’s friend was sent to the principle’s office in elementary school for just saying the word vagina. She wasn't being derogatory or even calling someone a vagina, she just said the word. This play refuses to be whispered. It demands to be shouted.

It encourages body positivity.

There are a few different monologues like, “The Vagina Workshop,” “Because He Liked To Look At It,” and “The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could,” amongst others, that have an underlying theme about body positivity. In a society that tells women to not be too sexual, too confident, or too much of anything, many of these monologues tell the stories of women embracing their vaginas and, subsequently, themselves.

It’s not an easy process. It takes some time to undo the internalized oppression that make-up, clothing, and waxing advertisements have etched into our brains since we were too small to understand what they meant. This play proves that it’s possible to undo the damage and love yourself.

It brings attention to V-DAY.

On Valentine’s Day in 1998, Eve Ensler, with the help of a group of women, created the first V-DAY. V-DAY is a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. The current statistic is that one in every three women in the world will be physically or sexually abused in her lifetime, so it is imperative to bring attention to organizations like this one.

It shows young girls and grown women that they’re not alone.

So many topics regarding vaginas are considered taboo and girls grow up not only with skewed ideas about their sexualities, but, because no one is talking about it, they also grow up with the isolating idea that they’re the only ones going through this. There’s one monologue called, “I Was Twelve. My Mother Slapped Me,” consisting of the stories of different women getting their periods for the first time. It’s such an overwhelming experience that young girls go through, but no one talks about it.

Men, and often women too, will cringe or become uncomfortable at the mere mention of the words "period," "tampons," or "cramps." Young girls grow up hiding it, whispering about it, or pretending like it’s not happening, but it is. Maybe it’s a decade or even several decades too late for the women watching or reading, but the other women’s stories still make them feel a little less alone in this ongoing and overwhelming experience that is being a woman.

Eve Ensler managed to create a free and safe space where women can share their life experiences with others. It’s a sounding board, therapy session, open forum, and empowering rally all in one. Reading this play for the first time allowed me feel less like I was the only one with certain characteristics or worries. I felt more united, like I was a part of something bigger than just me. I was a part of a sisterhood.

Cover Image Credit: San Jose State Gender Equity Center

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If Taylor Swift Songs Were Types Of Alcohol

Because what's better than a drink and some T-Swift?
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With Taylor Swift's quick return to the music scene... and in a big way, might I add, I decided to associate some of the best Taylor Swift songs with alcohol.

I mean, who wouldn't want to drink to Taylor Swift's catchy melodies and perfect choruses to get over an ex or tell someone exactly how you feel about them?

Taylor Swift has been around for a decade at this point, and let's face it, pretty much all of her songs could go along with at least one type of alcohol.

1. "Welcome To New York" - Moscow Mule

It only makes sense. Visit the Big Apple and you have to indulge in the state's signature cocktail. Moscow mules are a New York classic, and if it's your first night in the city and you haven't bought yourself one, are you even in New York?

2. "Blank Space" - Everclear

Think about it... A night of drinking Everclear will leave you with a giant blank space the next day. You might also look like Taylor did in the music video.

3. "Tim McGraw" - Beer

Tim McGraw is a throwback to Taylor's high school love. What better way to reminisce than with a couple friends and a keg of your favorite cheap beer?

4. "Style" - Cristal Champagne

What's more stylish than with a glass of the most expensive bubbly you can find? Just like Taylor Swift, Cristal will never go out of style.

5. "Shake It Off" - Martini

Get it? Cause you shake a martini? I might be the only one who thinks that's funny but you might end up dancing a little bit with a martini in hand when "Shake It Off" come on the radio.

6. "Red" - Merlot


Red has to go along with a red wine. What else could go along with yet *another* T-Swift breakup song?

7. "22" - Margaritas

Let's face it, when you're 22, you really only drink margaritas. They're fun- and all the hipsters are probably drinking them too.

8. "Teardrops On My Guitar" - Southern Comfort

When your heart is broken, who are you going to turn to besides the only alcohol that gives you comfort...Southern Comfort that is.

9. "I Knew You Were Trouble" - Fireball

I can't say I've ever met anyone who spent a night with Fireball and didn't regret it the next morning.

10. "Look What You Mad Me Do" - Tequila

T-Swift's latest single is an angry one. What better to make you angry than tequila? Taylor basically just called out everyone who had ever talked about her behind her back and she did it in true Taylor fashion-by writing a song. She was probably drunk on tequila when she wrote it too.

11. ...Ready For It? - Bottomless Mimosas

Because it's just that good.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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Board Games Are More Important Than You Think They Are

They've become a defining part of my family.

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Remember when you were a kid and you'd have a family game night? Or your friends would come over and you'd open the game cabinet and play at least three different games together?

Maybe it's just me, but those are some of my best memories from my childhood. My family loves games, board games, and electronic games.

Of course, as I got older, gaming consoles like PlayStation and Wii became more and more popular. That meant that the game cabinet was opened less and less, collecting dust.

Thankfully, I live in New Jersey near the shore and Hurricane Sandy left my family with no power for five days. Sure, it was scary not having power and walking around my neighborhood seeing fallen trees or roof shingles, but we were inland enough to not have had any flood water damage.

No power also meant no PlayStation or Wii games. The gaming cabinet was opened again, this time with vigor. Now, four years later, and I still think about sitting in the dark with a flashlight playing Scrabble with my family.

That was also the week I learned how to play Yahtzee and dominated my dad in every game. My sister constantly was looking for someone to play her to Battleship. We exhausted Rummikub.

The game was already a family favorite, and that's including extended family. Family barbeques had been ending with late night games of Rummikub for at least a year by the time Sandy hit.

We were ready to strategize and crunch numbers, but after day three, we never wanted to a number ever again.

This semester, there's been a surge of board game love again in my family. My sister bought Jenga, which we are currently trying to exhaust ourselves with. My favorite board game also had a comeback: Life.

I loved this game so much that I had the SpongeBob version as a kid. I would play it with my best friend, just the two of us, playing game after game of Bikini Bottom themed Life. Now, I have a car full of "kids" that I've started to make pets in my head. I can handle having five pretend dogs, but not five pretend kids.

I don't know what it is about board games, but my family has always had an affinity for them. We've gone through our cycles of playing video games and card games, but we always come back to the classics. Maybe it's more a defining part of my family than I originally thought.

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