Activism Through Performance: The Vagina Monologues

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For my activist project, I decided to perform in the UMBC Women Involved in Learning and Leadership production of The Vagina Monologues. Prior to deciding to audition, I did not know much about the show. I had heard it references in popular culture occasionally and knew that it was a very “feminist thing,” simply because of the title. After doing some research, I learned about the purpose and mission of the production. Ending the stigma around the word “vagina,” empowering people with a vagina to taking ownership of their own sexuality, and starting a dialogue about sexuality and basic body parts seemed like a worthy cause to me. As someone with an interest in open sexuality and theater, this seemed like the perfect project for me to participate in.

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Photo Credit: UMBC WOmen Involved in Learning and Leadership

The audition process was fairly simple. I had to memorize a short segment of one of the monologues and send my video audition to the directors. The announced the cast list shortly afterwards, on which I was cast as The Women Who Loved To Make Vaginas Happy, and I began the process of memorizing my monologue. Time management played a large role in this part of the project because I had to balance working on my monologue with work for my classes, along with my job and other activities. The rehearsal process went well and all of the other participants were easy to work with. The actual performance was very rewarding and exhilarating. Taking part in a production that not only opened a dialogue about vaginas but also benefitted an organization that I care deeply about was the perfect way to complete my activism project.

This production is important because it not only starts a dialogue on our campus about female sexuality, but it also aids in ended the stigma around the word “vagina.” In addition to these things, this proves that different forms of activism can be versatile and not limited to chaining oneself to a fence in protest.  Performance can be used as a form of activism and this is just as valid and taxing as long-term projects or protests.

Before this project, I already viewed myself as an activist. However, throughout this project and throughout this course, I have come to the realization that activism takes many forms and one can make a difference by taking part in a production, or marching in a protest, or starting a poster campaign, or any plethora of things that raise awareness about a topic or any and attempt to make direct change to an injustice. Everybody can be an activist and it’s important to refrain from having a monolithic view of activism or the requirements of being an activist.

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