When I first heard about The Vagina Monologues many years ago, I was puzzled. Why would a woman want to stand up in front of an audience and talk about her vagina?
I heard it was a funny show. Sure, I thought, vaginas could be a funny theme for a comedy routine. Right? Sure, I’d been raped as a young woman, which wasn’t at all funny, got pregnant, had an abortion, hadn’t everyone? So why not laugh about vaginas?
Note the sarcasm. It was when Alex Matsuo began the tradition of producing The Vagina Monologues for something called V-Day in Raleigh that it occurred to me there might be something more to this comedy routine.
I missed the first year, heard it was fabulous and both shows sold out. I vowed not to miss the next one. Little did I know what was in store for me…
The second year, I auditioned and was cast as an old lady talking about her “down there” and a six-year old girl doing the same, only for her it was her vagina. Go figure.
From that point on, it was all over for me and The Vagina Monologues. I will never again not be a part of this production, either as a cast member or as a member of the crew or as a rich old fuddy-duddy donating a few bucks to it and writing about it.
Perhaps the first thing to happen to my universe once ensconced in this amazing tribute to women’s body parts was to hear other women and to hear myself all talking about our vaginas—to be clear, the ones we talked about belonged to the women who were interviewed by the playwright, Eve Ensler, as she created the script 20 years ago. It has been updated from time to time to include additional stories, has grown with the times.
Then there’s the spotlight theme each year. The V-Day administrative team chooses a specific focus regarding women’s safety and well-being. Local teams highlight the experiences of women in their area, the impact, the resources available, the legal aspects of this phenomenon. Like domestic abuse, incarcerated women…
So, wait… this is not just a comedy routine. We strive to make a difference in our communities, in our country, in the world, with this little comedy routine. Well, okay then. I’m all for that!
Then we really got into the monologues, and I discovered the topic was bigger than a comedy routine. We were moved, we were awed, we were amused, we fell in love with one another. There is magic available when so many women—about a dozen plus the crew—are willing to be vulnerable, speak their truth, the truth of so many women on this planet.
I was hooked. Count on me to be available. Always. For women and their vaginas.
~ Judy McCord