Women heard in Vagina Monologues


Charlie Coffey/Iowa State Daily

Vagina Monologue performers have briefs listed outside of the Campanile Room of the MU on Feb. 10, 2015.

Morgan Kelly

The Memorial Union was overflowing with students, faculty and Ames residents Feb. 10. The Vagina Monologues opening night was underway.

The shows proceeds went to the Assault Care Center Extending Shelter & Support, or ACCESS. Tickets were $10 for students and $12 for non-students.

The Vagina Monologues consist of mainly single person performances, monologues, but include one or two group acts. Shelby Dill, senior in women and gender studies and English, is in the group acts this year.

One of the acts she is in is called “The List.”

“It’s just a list of what your vagina would wear and say,” Dill said. “We are listing what other women, when they were asked, said, so some are like lace and combat boots, a tuxedo, a red bow, just stuff like that.”

The show has light and funny parts, as well as more serious and difficult topic to cover, Dill said.

Briana Smith, senior in supply chain management, agreed with Dill that the topics were difficult but “they need to be heard.”

While the acts and scripts stay the same each year, the reactions to the pieces vary, said Carolyn Duven, who is part of the directing team and the apartment manager for Legacy apartments.

“I help the women understand their pieces and I see the most change in women when all the actors and everyone comes together that day of dress rehearsal, when they’re able to see everyone’s hard work come together and pay off,” Duven said of the group’s dress rehearsal. “[It] was an amazing day.”

The Vagina Monologues are part of a global performance movement. Onebillionrising.org is a website dedicated to ending the assault of women and the victimization of survivors. The title “One Billion Rising” represents the statistic that over the course of a lifetime, one billion women will be beaten or raped, according to onebillionrising.org.

“We rise to show we are determined to create a new kind of consciousness – one where violence will be resisted until it is unthinkable,” according to onebillionrising.org

Smith said she brought her boyfriend to the first Vagina Monologue she attended.

“We’ll watch it together so that he can understand some of the things that women go through,” she said. “I think it’s a great date night type of thing. It’s fun, but a learning experience as well.” 

Dill said the first couple times she saw the show, she learned a lot about herself.

“It helped me realize my privilege because I haven’t experienced what some of these women have experienced,” Smith said. “It’s important to bring that to Iowa State because a lot of times, women’s voices aren’t heard.” 

Smith said it was an important show to see in college because it’s a time when students can learn about themselves. She said students in college are in a protected version of the real world and the Monologues can help broaden their views outside the bubble.

“It’s a safe haven for women to talk about themselves,” Smith said. “Women rarely get to talk about themselves without being put down.”

Dill echoed Smith’s comments 

“The Vagina Monologues are a great way for us to open up the discussion of ‘why are we hindering women in these ways?’” Dill said.