Vanity. Violence. Vivacious. Victim.
What do these words have in common? They all relate to the series of stories shared in this year’s production of The Vagina Monologues.
This past Friday and Saturday night in Irvine Auditorium, The Vagina Monologues put on its 13th annual show at Penn. A mix of females and males, curious “virgins” to the show and well-seasoned multiple-time viewers attended the show.
Leading up to the show, there were trays of baked goods available, including chocolate-flavored “pussy pops.” All proceeds from the show and the bake sale went towards Women Organized Against Rape, the International V-Day Campaign and One Billion Rising.
These organizations are involved in the social justice movement to raise awareness of sexual violence, seeking to end sexual violence occurring both nationally and worldwide.
The Penn Women’s Center played a large role in facilitating the production of The Vagina Monologues, working towards its mission of addressing the evolving needs of all women at the University.
College sophomore Rosa Escandon served on the deputy board of The Vagina Monologues this year and has been involved with the production since she was a sophomore in high school.
“This is my fifth year involved in the movement,” Escandon said. “The support from the audience and the empowerment given to all of us through this play is truly amazing.”
The lovely ladies of the production entered the stage dressed in black with hints of red. Many of them wore rouge lipstick, stiletto heels and plunging necklines, proving that sexy could also be empowering.
In the show’s introduction, there was a promise made that the audience would leave satisfied. Through the combined monologues, the show emphasized that females of all backgrounds and sexual orientations should celebrate their bodies without inhibition.
Some of the episodes in the play included “Flood,” performed by Marci Chamberlain, an employee of the University Life Arts Initiative, “Angry Vagina” by College senior Becky Duncan and junior Danielle Harris and “The Woman Who Liked to Make Vaginas Happy” by College senior Ali Kriegsman.
Kriegsman’s mother expressed that she is extremely proud of her daughter’s involvement in this year’s production of The Vagina Monologues.
“Ali’s community at home in Los Angeles is proud of her for supporting and advocating for women’s issues and that she is using her talent to do something good,” she said.
In the episode “Wear/Say,” performed by a cast of five, one actress asked, “If your Penn Vagina could say one thing, what would it say?”
One of the answers offered was, “‘Are you DTF? Down to Franklin? As in Benjamin?’”
In lines like these, the actresses humorously incorporated Penn culture into their performances.
In the weeks leading up to the performance, the Penn community showed its support for The Vagina Monologues through donations and advertisements.
This year’s “Vagina Warriors” — donors who contributed $2,000 or more to the show — included The Tabard Society, Psi Upsilon fraternity, James and Maria Taylor and an anonymous donor.
More than 50 fraternities, sororities, local businesses, families and Penn academic departments also contributed to the movement. In total, The Vagina Monologues movement raised more than $40,000 in its combined fundraising efforts, said College senior Isabel Friedman, the show’s producer.
To continue the conversation on sexual health and social justice, The Vagina Monologues movement will also host sexuality educator and 1993 School of Education graduate Al Vernacchio for a talk this Wednesday.