The Vagina Monologues

April 22, 2010

I finally had the opportunity to attend The Vagina Monologues — a theater production with proceeds to benefit the girls and women of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was a packed house — 250 men and women sitting with eager anticipation.

I had heard a lot about the monologues but didn’t quite know what to expect.

I was thrilled, excited, saddened, inspired, dismayed, surprised, shocked, and humored — all in a span of two hours.

Of the 21 acts, not one disappointed.

It was liberating to hear “the V-word” be given some respect.

It portrayed the sexual repression of women over the centuries — be it the 72-year-old-woman who had never seen her vagina, or the teenagers who were are repeatedly raped in the Congo. All true stories.

The stories showed how women have been conditioned to suppress their sexual desires. To not want. To have no desires. To simply serve. To pleasure a man.

To look down there and feel dirty. To not even acknowledge “its” existence.

To be blamed for her husband’s affairs because “she wouldn’t shave down there.”The Vagina Monologues2 The Vagina Monologues

To be raped because wearing a short skirt means she was asking for it.

To suppress her moans. And screams.

To feel guilty about wanting sex.

To be labeled a cunt, because she is so liberal-minded.

To see it as a place that takes in a penis and spews out babies.

To be used.

And abused.

The conversations that took place in those monologues showed how uncomfortable people are with “the V-word.” Not even calling it by its name … as if it were something bad.

Eve Ensler talked to 200 women.

Younger women, older women, married women
Lesbians, single women,
I talked to college professors, corporate professionals,
Actors, sex workers.
I talked to African American women,
Asian-American women, Hispanic women,
Native-American women, Caucasian women,
Jewish women.
At first, women were a little shy,
A little reluctant to talk.
But once they got going, you couldn't stop them.
Women love to talk about their vaginas, they do.
They really do.
Mainly because no one's ever asked them before.
Let's just start with the word vagina.
It sounds like an infection at best.
Maybe a medical instrument.
"hurry, nurse, bring me the vagina."
It doesn't matter how many times you say the word,
It never sounds like a word you want to say.
It's a completely ridiculous,
Totally unsexy word.
If you use it during sex, trying to be politically correct
You kill the act right there.
I'm worried what we call it and don't call it.
In great neck, New York, they call it a "pussycat".
A woman told me there, her mother used to tell her,
"Don’t wear panties, dear, underneath your pajamas,
You need to air out your pussycat."
In Westchester, they call it a "pookie".
In New Jersey, a "twat".
There's "powder box",
A "poochi", a "poopi",
A "pee-pee", a "poopalu",
A "pooninana" and a "piche".
There's "toadie", "dee-dee", "nishi", "dignity",
"coochie snorcher","cooter", "labbe", "gladys siegelman",
"va","wee-wee", "whorespot","nappy dugout", "mongo",
"monkey box", "pajama", "fannyboo", "mushmellow","ghoulie",
"possible", "tamale", "tottita", "connie",
A "mimi" in Miami,
A "split knish" in Philadelphia.
And a "schmende" in the Bronx.

So many names to avoid acknowledging what is but a vital body part.

While many people may think these monologues are about male-bashing, it’s quite the contrary.

They are a voice against oppression and violence. They seek to give voice to the voiceless.

They aspire to help women share their stories.

To feel empowered, not ashamed. To begin a dialogue with their significant others about uncomfortable things.

To celebrate womanhood.

16081BD1A60533E0F1173D28DE4F0D3F The Vagina Monologues

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15 Responses to The Vagina Monologues

  1. BinnyNo Gravatar on April 22, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    I have read this book by Eve Ensler. It’s really eye opening to go through the book. I like this para the best.

    “I realized then that hair is there for a reason-it’s the leaf around the flower, the lawn around the house. You have to love hair in order to love the vagina. You can’t pick the parts you want.”

    Thanks for sharing.


    • MansiNo Gravatar on April 23, 2010 at 5:02 pm

      I loved that bit. But the part that stayed with me was:
      “And as I stared,
      Her vagina suddenly became
      A wide, red,
      Pulsing heart.
      The heart is capable of sacrifice.
      So is the vagina.
      The heart is able to forgive and repair
      It can change its shape to let us in
      It can expand to let us out.
      So can the vagina.
      It can ache for us and stretch for us,
      And die for us.
      And bleed and bleed us into this difficult…
      Wondrous world.
      So can the vagina.
      I was there in the room.
      I remember.”

  2. Lazy PineappleNo Gravatar on April 22, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    oh I so wanted to read the book and see the play as well…
    Will try to find it in the library..I am really inspired to read it after reading your post…

    • MansiNo Gravatar on April 23, 2010 at 4:59 pm

      You will enjoy it thoroughly. And it’ll make you ponder…

  3. R.PNo Gravatar on April 23, 2010 at 11:45 am

    The play was talked about a lot in Bangalore few years ago. I am not sure if it was staged. I was too young and was not suppose to discuss it! You know how it is! :-) Will surely go if it is staged again!

    • MansiNo Gravatar on April 23, 2010 at 4:58 pm

      I know exactly what you mean. It’s controversial just by virtue of its name — content comes later. Hope you get to see it in person before long…else, there’s always YouTube :-)

  4. BevNo Gravatar on April 23, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    I am a theater critic and have reviewed this show several times. It still moves me after seeing it so often.

    A few years ago, I reviewed “Vagina Monologues” the same week that I reviewed something called “Puppetry of the Penis” (the ancient art of Australian penile origami, as it’s described. My conclusion was that when women discuss their genitals, it is in a thoughtful, respectful manner. Men just stand there and play with themselves.

    • MansiNo Gravatar on April 24, 2010 at 4:36 am

      Heh. I laughed out loud upon reading your conclusion, Bev. And then pondered over why that is. Social conditioning? A sense of entitlement that men have toward women? Pride in being a woman? I can’t quite nail it down but I can see how men could reduce genital talk to a pastime. Women elevate it to a dialogue with more substance.
      Thanks for stopping by :-)

  5. joann mannixNo Gravatar on April 24, 2010 at 11:16 am


    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    “The Vagina Monologues” is one of those extraordinary works that stayed with me long after I saw the play. It was empowering and eye-opening and moving. I’ll never forget it.

    And I love Bev’s comment!

    Oh, and laundry? With a family of 5 and two puppies not yet housetrained, laundry is a beastly taskmaster that never gives me a moment of peace. The laundry is never, ever complete in his house making me feel inadequate and like the Queen Slacker of housework and that is exactly how Laundry hurts my feelings.

    • MansiNo Gravatar on April 24, 2010 at 11:38 am

      Thanks, Joann. I loved Bev’s comment, too. And the Vagina Monologues will always stay with me.
      Gosh I can’t imagine what it must be like in your house — you certainly have your hands full!! I just have my husband and my laundry to take care of and even that is a painful chore. If only there were something like cheap, affordable disposable clothing!

  6. Susan DeborahNo Gravatar on April 29, 2010 at 5:56 am

    Ah! i just admire Eve Ensler. There is a writeup called ‘The real meaning of Security’ by Ensler which was amazing read. Glad that you shared this bit with us.

    She is a phenomenal woman, indeed!

    Joy and peace,

    • MansiNo Gravatar on April 29, 2010 at 9:00 am

      Haven’t read that but will do now that you mention it. And she is phenomenal, indeed!

  7. Kevin J. TimothyNo Gravatar on May 1, 2010 at 4:56 am

    I have heard of the play but had no idea what it was about. Thank you for your insight and this is actually a well written article. I do find it odd that the actual word was more risque to say than all the other names for it. Congratualtions on your blog award, too! Have a great day!

    • MansiNo Gravatar on May 1, 2010 at 5:32 pm

      Thanks, Kevin, for stopping by and your kind words. I, like you, fail to understand why a biological term can become so taboo worldwide.

  8. MarkSpizerNo Gravatar on May 3, 2010 at 3:30 am

    great post as usual!


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