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. Continue reading
Vulvacious set out to create a space for vagina talk through artistic creation. A space where people could talk openly about sexual health, pleasure, body positivity, and sexuality. A space where people could use any art supplies they wanted to create their vulva-inspired art. We wanted to create a space within the Vagina Monologues experience where people could laugh, stare, glare, whatever at the vaginas we all made together. I think our project was definitely a success. We didn’t necessarily have the turn out that we wanted, and our project warranted criticism that we weren’t anticipating, but I find that all of these “barriers” only proceeded to make our group stronger.
I walked up the stairs that felt a little too rickety onto a stage that felt a little too shaky. I felt dizzy and nervous and afraid. I knew I needed to be proud that I was a part of something. I knew I should be confident; I didn’t have that many lines, and I’d practiced them a hundred times. Plus, I was a part of something quite unlike anything I’d been a part of before. I breathed in, I smiled, and I started to speak…
There are many things I’ve never considered myself to be. A performer is one. And until recently, an activist was another. Maybe because I didn’t understand activism, or maybe because I was misguided into believing that I was too busy for that, I just didn’t think I was an activist. I didn’t think I could be. So when I had to participate in an activist project for a class, I’ll admit I was annoyed. I didn’t want to commit to a project like that for a grade, and resented having to. I didn’t have any original ideas like the other students, who seemed to be overflowing with excitement. I looked over the list of provided projects I could “assist” with. A performance of “The Vagina Monologues” seemed innocent enough. I didn’t even have to perform; I could help plan, and planning was something I could do. Continue reading
Nervous and trembling—a naked mass of high school Miss Understood—I made my entrance into the Vagina Monologues.
I didn’t know what to expect, I only knew it was important to me, where nothing else at MICA had been. Where someone like my mom or my AP Lit teacher or my best friend would have pushed me into auditioning, it was only my motivation propelling me in front of all those judging, critical MICA eyes. I was utterly destabilized by my shyness at MICA.