By Paige Ewing
Call it a coochie, a flapper, a cooter, or simply a vagina. Any way you say it, these names evoke feelings from laughter to seriousness, all the way to discomfort, much like The Vagina Monologues performed this past week by Rider students and staff.
Rider students’ performance of The Vagina Monologues on Feb. 15 and 16 raised about $400 for Womanspace Inc., a nonprofit agency that provides services to those handling domestic and sexual violence issues. It also raised awareness on the issues of how women of all identities have discovered, explored and navigated their sexuality throughout their lives.
The monologues are a combination of stories from women all over the world, each story focusing on a different issue women face, from going to the gynecologist to having an awkward sexual encounter. All of these issues are real, serious and yet hardly talked about.
Xany Whitmoore, Rider’s community service coordinator, was the director of this year’s production. She believes The Vagina Monologues are a vital show for talking about uncomfortable issues.
“It includes some controversial topics, and everyone responds to those differently,” she said. “What we hope to do through the monologues is to educate people; to let them know that they are not alone or to offer a different perspective to their own lives.”
The show involved 23 performers, each throwing themselves into the different stories. The monologues talked about women’s issues; however, not all performers were women. The V-Men portion of the performance speaks about men’s roles in society in relation to women’s issues. Many of the male performers saw the importance of including men in the discussion including one performer, junior English major John Modica.
“The contribution of our voices is meant to draw men into feminist discourse,” said Modica. “Many men do not realize that they too are oppressed by the systems and standards that oppress women. Our monologues are about showing that our liberation is bound to one another.”
The female performers realize the impact the monologues have because they spread a message of feminism without shoving it down people’s throats. The monologues are a true representation of the issues women encounter and allow for the audience members to make their own realizations. Junior psychology major Ashley Leeds has been a member of the production for multiple years and spoke about the emotional impact the stories have.
“They allow individuals to laugh, cry and, most importantly, feel,” Leeds said. “Each story is unique and real, and all audience members can relate to and sympathize with each character, regardless of race and gender identity.”
Junior communication studies major Christopher Garino was also a performer, and he originally joined because of his girlfriend and love of theater. He later came to realize the importance of The Vagina Monologues.
“My hope is that we changed at least one person’s worldview, though,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
Originally printed in the 2/22/17 edition.