I bet you’re worried. I was worried…..
First and foremost, I’m a feminist. Over the last few years at university, I’ve been studying Women & Gender Studies and realizing just how much work there was to be done as an activist to make the world equal like I thought it should be. Pay gaps are huge for women and people of color. The statistics about sexual assault made me sick. Gender stereotypes were stronger and more alive than I had ever imagined they might be. There was so much discrimination and real horrible things happening to people I knew. I was angry. And I wanted to make a difference.
Enter the Vagina Monologues.
I had discovered the Vagina Monologues my very first year at Fredonia. I was invited to the show with no knowledge of what it was, but I went anyways, interested in what it could be. I was not at all prepared for what came next. It was a show about empowering women, reclaiming their sexuality, about learning to love their vaginas and even enjoy them, celebrating them, as well as stories of all the horrible things that are done to women mostly because they have a vagina. What was most striking to me was that all of the stories were true, based off interviews done by Eve Ensler.
I left shocked and a little unsure what to do with everything I had just learned.
It settled in the back of my mind then, and I started working towards a women and gender studies minor, but I didn’t join the show that year, still a little uncomfortable with my own vagina, and intimidated. But after that year’s show, I knew I couldn’t let it slip by me again.
I signed up for auditions. I read a monologue that had been inspired by Calpernia Addams, because I knew about her, and I wanted to focus on transgender issues, and I was cast in that role with three other girls and we started to work on the monologue, and I started to get close to all 50 girls and just feeling like I was apart of something really incredible. By the time we put on the show I was in love with everything about it. And we raised almost $3500 for a local women’s shelter, which meant so much to me.
But I still didn’t feel like I, myself was doing enough.
So this year, I gave up my spot in the cast to organize the show. I had experience helping to run groups, and I thought that could be put to good use in helping to create a wonderful year for everyone. On top of reserving rooms and making posters, I was going to be responsible for helping to put on fundraising events and all sorts of forms for putting on the show, and it just felt right to me, because this is what I want to do for a living after finishing my degree, and it was a good way to get my feet wet, get some experience, and make sure it’s what I wanted.
This past weekend we held auditions. Our audition process is pretty laid back; you come and fill out an information sheet to help the directors get to know you and what your comfort level with performing is, and then you pick one of the monologues and go in and read it for them. I was there to help girls pick monologues and answer any questions they might have had. We just 54 girls in this years show which is really exciting, especially because there are a lot of new girls that joined us. I’m really excited to work with all of them, and to start this journey again.
This week my responsibility is to reserve our rehearsal space, because the school hasn’t had the schedule for the rooms, and then next Sunday we will have our first rehearsal, and everyone will find out what monologue they were cast in!