Vagina Monologues showcase women of all walks of life

A coochie snorcher, a puntang, a punany or a monkey box. They all mean one thing: vagina.

This was the topic last Wednesday and Thursday at the Kinsella Auditorium where 11 St. Thomas University students performed The Vagina Monologues.

The monologues are performed annually for the students’ union’s Sexuality Awareness Week and for V-Day, an international movement to stop violence against women.

Every year The Vagina Monologues also takes part in the V-Day Spotlight Campaign, which focuses on a specific women’s rights issues. This year’s final monologue paid tribute to the many women of Haiti who have been victims of sexual assault after last years earthquake.

The 17-part play features stories guaranteed to make you cry, laugh and blush. With tales from orgasms to rape, menstruation to mutilation, the show empowers women and gets them to embrace their sexuality.

Meredith Gillis, this year’s organizer, says some people get turned off when they hear the name of the play.

“A lot of people who hear about the show think it’s a bunch of angry lesbians who want to hate on men for an hour and a half, which is not what it is at all,” she said.

“It’s about education and awareness.”

The Vagina Monolgoues also features a performance about the challenges of transwomen, men who want to become women, and how people don’t understand the amount of pressure they feel to be masculine, even though they know they aren’t being true to themselves.

Second-year transgendered student Stefanie Boucher-Bouchard is glad the show addressed the issue of the trans identity, an idea that still makes people uncomfortable.

“It’s hard for people to understand when you look at someone that’s so clearly not the gender they identify with, they don’t get it right away. They don’t understand.”

First-time vagina monologue performer Julianne Butt thinks it’s time to shed light on transgender issues.

“When you have issues like this, its one thing to not talk about them, but then it’s another thing to not embrace them…we need to embrace the fact that there are people walking the streets who are different,” she said.

The Vagina Monologues is performed in over 120 countries in 48 languages.

Proceeds from STU’s performances went towards the Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Centre.

Gillis says we need events like The Vagina Monologues to spark discussion about serious issues facing women at home and abroad.

“People do not talk about rape and sexual assault. It doesn’t get talked about on campus the way that it should be and this is one of those events where it gets people talking,” she said. “If you can get people talking about it, then you can help fix the problem.”

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