Vagina Monologues speak on women’s issues

Students Megan Frisvold, Olivia Lehman and Molly Zenk performing the intro in the Vagina Monologues on Feb. 15 at the Memorial Union.

Caitlin Yamada

“We were worried what we think about vaginas, and even more worried that we don’t think about them. We were worried about our own vaginas.  They needed a context of other vaginas—a community, a culture of vaginas. There’s so much darkness and secrecy surrounding them—like the Bermuda triangle. Nobody ever reports back from there,” the Intro piece of the monologues states.

As the music fades, three students, wearing all black and a pink scarf, open the performance of The Vagina Monologues.

Thursday and Friday, 14 people, students and staff, got on stage to bring light to women’s issues, in a light, but serious way.

The Vagina Monologues, brought to Iowa State in 2001 by one of the directors of the production, Alissa Stoehr,  is put on by the Margaret Sloss Women’s Center, Student Union Board and the Society for the Advancement of Gender Equity.

“Things get caught up there, little animals and things.” The Flood

Written in 1996 by Eve Ensler, the Vagina Monologues started as “vagina interviews, which became vagina monologues. Over 200 women were interviewed,” the introduction piece in the Monologues states.

In an interview on, when asked why Ensler became impassioned by vaginas instead of breasts or giving birth, she stated she was drawn to vaginas because of her own personal history and “because of sexuality, because women’s empowerment is deeply connected to their sexuality.”

In this interview, she also discusses the issue that women were reluctant to talk in the beginning.

The introduction piece of the monologues states “At first women were reluctant to talk. They were a little shy. But once they got going, you couldn’t stop them. Women secretly love to talk about their vaginas. They get very excited, mainly because no one’s ever asked them before.”

Pieces performed included, “Hair,” “The Flood,” “Reclaiming Cunt” and 14 others.

“Turned out, Bob loved vaginas, he was a connoisseur.” Because He Liked to Look at It

Through these monologues, many issues such as sexual pleasure, slang used to refer to female genitals in different regions and sexuality were touched on. The brochure handed out contains a content warning due to transphobic language, sexual violence and child sex abuse. An ACCESS advocate was outside of the Sun Room in the event that someone would like to process.

“The Woman who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy” talked about a women who quit law to pleasure other woman. In the end, Ruth Hines, student in biomedical sciences, demonstrates different moans that can be heard, such as the clitoris moan, the college moan and the surprise triple orgasm moan.

“I realized moans were best when they caught you by surprise, they came out of this hidden mysterious part of you that was speaking its own language. I realized that moans were, if fact, that language.”’

“You cannot love vaginas if you don’t love hair” Hair

Other monologues, such as “Not-So-Happy Fact” and “My Vagina was My Village” touched on genital mutilation and rape.

“My Vagina was My Village” dedicated to the women of Bosnia and Kosovo, is based off of one woman’s story during the war in Yugoslavia. Woman refugees were interviewed during the war in refugee camps and centers.

The piece is done by two students, Breayona Reed, senior in technical communications, and Sarah Heller, senior in communication studies, and has two conflicting stories, one women celebrating her vagina as “her home” and the other, stating “there is something between my legs. I do not know what it is.”

“My vagina a live wet water village. They invaded it. Butchered it and burned it down. I do not touch now. Do not visit. I live someplace else now. I don’t know where that is.”

“Why the flashlight all up there like Nancy Drew working against gravity.” My Angry Vagina

Reed presented “My Angry Vagina,” which touched on tampons and Gynecologist visits, presented in a way that resonated with the room.

“Stop shoving things up me and stop cleaning it up. My vagina doesn’t need to be cleaned up. It smells good already. Don’t try to decorate.”

The monologues resonated with students for different reasons.

“I liked ‘My Angry Vagina,’ she just said a lot of things that all of us are always thinking, things people are just scared to say,” said Elizabeth Hoeft, sophomore in civil engineering.

“If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear?” Lists

Other students saw issues talked about that they also fought against.

“‘My Short Skirt’ [was my favorite]. In my high school that was a big problem and me and my sister were very vocal about that,” said Conor Phillips, junior in technical communications.

“I liked ‘My Angry Vagina,’ because she expressed in a funny way how it’s not all great. People don’t realize and it’s a nice way to communicate your message,” said Todd Broadrick, junior in technical communication.

“My short skirt has nothing to do with you” My Short Skirt

Over the years, “The Vagina Monologues” have received criticism from feminists and others for being anti-transgender, insufficiently inclusive and colonial.

The Margaret Sloss Women’s Center posted a response to the critiques. In this response they state “we also encourage you to critically reflect and think about the issues raised in ‘The Vagina Monologues’ production, the voices heard, and the voices not heard in Eve Ensler’s script.”

“I lost my clitoris, I shouldn’t have taken it swimming.” The Vagina Workshop

All of the profit from the Vagina Monologues goes to the Assault Care Center Extending Shelter and Support (ACCESS).

Last year, the performance donated $5,266.19 to ACCESS.

As the monologues concluded, each actress stated their pronouns and the reason they are fighting. Some stand for personal reasons such as the women in their families, “even if they don’t need feminism,” others stand for larger organizations and issues such as ACCESS and against human trafficking.

“Trust me, there’s no boys around here” The Little Coochi Snorcher

“I stood and her vagina suddenly became a wide red pulsing heart. The heart is capable of sacrifice. So is the vagina,” said the final monologue, “I was There in the Room.”

“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, die for us and bleed, and bleed us into this difficult, wondrous world. I was there in the room. I remember.”