The Deborah L. Coffin Women’s Center is focused on empowering the women in its community while educating SNHU students on different issues related to gender. The center will be fulfilling this mission with its performance of The Vagina Monologues. The play, which was originally written and performed by off-Broadway actress, Eve Ensler, in 1996, will be shown on Thursday, February 28, at 8 p.m. in The Last Chapter Pub.
Ensler created the monologues because she grew up in a violent time, suffering the consequences of sexual abuse from a young age. She believed that women’s empowerment is connected to their sexuality. Ensler said, “I’m obsessed with women being violated and raped, and with incest. All of these things are deeply connected to our vaginas.”
In 1996, she conducted a series of interviews with hundreds of women. Through the interviews, Ensler learned about women’s different views on sex, relationships and violence. Ensler then transcribed these interviews and from them bore the Vagina Monologues. Ensler wanted to use the monologues as a way to normalize talking about the issues presented within them and to give women an outlet.
However, Ensler wanted to do more than just write about violence. She wanted to end it. Ensler created her own day of recognition called V-day (V-Day stands for Victory, Valentine and Vagina) which takes place on Valentine’s Day. It is a global activist movement to end violence to all those who were assigned and/or identify as female. To do this, every February, groups around the world produce a performance of the play and use donations from those performances to help battle against women’s violence.
SNHU is one of those groups who will perform the play to the community and students. Director of the Women’s Center Brooke Gilmore is the overseer of the whole performance and is also participating in the show. Gilmore told faculty and students who are interested in the play to volunteer and read one of the monologues they would like to perform.
“Some of it is really funny, and edgy, and meant to be kind of proactive and break social taboos around how we talk about our bodies, and some of it is really heavy and sad, and celebratory,” said Gilmore. “So it really runs the gamut in terms of content, but overall it creates a pretty powerful experience.”
The Vagina Monologues will be a powerful experience that students should attend. Even if they are not performing, they should still come and show their support to end women’s violence.