The Vagina Monologues, a political play written by Eve Ensler, returns to University of West Georgia (UWG) this upcoming February as part of V Day, a global movement attempting to end violence against women. Student Director Joi-Arielle Mitchell will take the reins for the third consecutive year, under the guidance of Dr. Betsy Dahms, assistant professor of Spanish at UWG.
“Previous participants of the play always tell me throughout the year about how someone came up to them, telling them they’ve seen their performance and how amazing they did, how much they enjoyed the story they performed,” said Mitchell.
Mitchell handles most of the artistic side of the show, while Dahms manages funds, locations and other behind the scenes work. Together they helped bring The Vagina Monologues back to UWG after a four-year hiatus.
“[The Vagina Monologues] is basically taking the stories of women, monologues, from different women that Eve Ensler interviewed and their experiences of being women,” said Dahms.
Shortly after the original release of The Vagina Monologues, the concept of V-Day arose. V Day events around Valentine’s Day have become a tradition in places all over the world, where The Vagina Monologues and other activism-minded works are performed. In fact, in order to put on The Vagina Monologues, Ensler and the rest of the V Day campaign requires the play to be put on during the month of February.
“V stands for violence, vagina, and Valentine’s Day,” said Dahms. “If you think about Valentine’s Day, usually that’s a day for romantic dates out that sometimes end in intimacy, and so it is a good idea to use that date and the idea of giving your loved one gifts to also talk about consent, to also talk about violence, to talk about education about women’s bodies.”
This play compliments other efforts promoting anti-violence on the UWG campus, such as the Take Back the Night rallies that encourage women to stand up for themselves or The Clothesline Project, where students decorate colored t-shirts depicting support for victims of various violent crimes. Dahms believes even more sexual education at UWG is needed to bring more awareness to the issue.
Statistics alone, as daunting and confusing as they might be, only give a numerical insight into the issue. Perhaps if people can connect a face or a story to the problem, then the general public’s growing awareness for the issue might lead others to take positive actions. Giving women a platform to tell their stories serves the primary purpose of The Vagina Monologues to generate empathy in an entertaining way.