Luther College Chips

“The Vagina Monologues”: Empowering women through storytelling

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Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues”  opened with a piece called “Lists,” which was performed by 16 Luther students.

Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” opened with a piece called “Lists,” which was performed by 16 Luther students.

Piper Woods (‘21) | Chips

Piper Woods (‘21) | Chips

Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” opened with a piece called “Lists,” which was performed by 16 Luther students.

Piper Woods, Staff Writer

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Sixteen Luther women raised their voices in the name of female empowerment in “The Vagina Monologues” on Feb. 22, 23, 24 in Jewel Theatre.

“The Vagina Monologues,” a show originally performed by Eve Ensler, celebrates V-Day, a worldwide effort to bring awareness to domestic abuse issues affecting women worldwide. All proceeds  from Luther’s performances went toward the Helping Services of Northeast Iowa and the One Billion Rising campaign.

The cast performed the show to raise awareness of women’s issues globally. The monologue used emotional and factual recounts of different stories from around the world to connect audiences and educate others.

“[‘The Vagina Monologues’] is a great representation of the female experience,” director Sam Tollefson (‘18) said.

Tollefson was inspired to be a part of V-Day after seeing a performance of “The Vagina Monologues” in her first year at Luther. As the director this year, Tollefson assisted with the staging of each individual monologue and worked one-on-one with performers.

Maddy Lomprey (‘21) performed the monologue “My Short Skirt,” as well as “The Little Coochi Snorcher that Could.” Although the program deals with serious topics of rape, female genital mutilation, and gender discrimination, Lomprey appreciated the greater takeaway from the show: female empowerment.

Photo courtesy of OneBillionRising.org
One Billion Rising, a campaign launched in 2012, works to end
violence against women.

“[‘The Vagina Monologues’] brings light to things that people are really shy about talking about … from exploring your sexuality, to having a positive view of your body and loving yourself,” Lomprey said.

Ensler, the author of “The Vagina Monologues,” is a Tony award winning playwright, performer, and activist. “The Vagina Monlogues” has been translated into over 48 languages in over 140 countries around the world. Ensler has also written poetry, novels, and has also taken part in the production of two documentaries.

“The Vagina Monologues” was originally an Off-Broadway play, but has grown into a platform for sharing women’s stories and inspiring change. 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of V-Day, the non-profit organization and social activist movement rooted in theater performance. V-Day has raised over $100 million dollars for anti-violence programs and women’s resources around the world, including One Billion Rising, a global movement with the goal of empowering women.

Both V-Day and One Billion Rising were started by Ensler. These organizations speak out against violence against women, a topic that is a focus of many of her written works.

Performer and assistant director Emily Youel (‘19) performed and assistant director this year, performing in “They Beat the Girl out of My Boy.” In light of current events, Youel appreciates the platform that “The Vagina Monologues” offers women.

“I think that when we are given that opportunity to talk about something that usually is repressed, it makes it all the more powerful of an experience,” Youel said.

“The Vagina Monologues” have prompted sharing female stories globally and displays the universality of the female experience. The cast hopes to start a conversation about the uncomfortable topics of sexuality and abuse in the Luther community.

“My hope is that people who aren’t aware of these things can learn and maybe feel uncomfortable in a good way, and anyone else can feel empowered to share their voices and own stories,” Youel said. 

All proceeds from “The Vagina Monologues” will benefit Helping Services of Northeast Iowa, which provides domestic abuse advocacy for survivors, as well as One Billion Rising.

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