Political relevance of ‘The Vagina Monologues’

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16 SMU students reflected the current #MeToo movement when performing “The Vagina Monologues.” They highlighted women’s issues, including consensual and nonconsensual sex, Saturday in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater.

The #MeToo movement has been a social media revolution, allowing women across the world to voice their personal stories of sexual assault. The Vagina Monologues’ tagline this year, “Rise. Resist. Unite,” demonstrated many parallels to the movement, celebrating the unity of women.

SMU sophomore Sidra Ibad recognized the importance of the movement.

“The #MeToo movement is really warranted and kind of overdue,” Ibad said. “I cannot believe that it’s taken this long to happen, but it’s good that it’s spreading to different types of movements, such as the Olympics.”

Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” is a lyrical series of monologues that touch on various topics including consensual and nonconsensual sex, female genital mutilation, reproduction and body image.

Freshman and event chair Lamisa Mustafa said she did not know of the monologues before getting involved in this year’s production.

“Getting involved in the center community and our feminist equality movement has been extremely rewarding,” Mustafa said. “Being unapologetic in your activism is the most important step in achieving equality.”

Ibad said the topics discussed within the show resonated with her.

“I think it was important to talk about the LGBT+ community, women’s issues like sexual violence, and rape and gang rape,” Ibad said. “It was interesting that they made the monologues based on individual experiences.”

The ending monologue, titled “Over It,” further encompassed the show’s political message. This monologue showed concern regarding Donald Trump’s presidency. The actors highlighted ways in which they believed Trump has displayed homophobia and misogyny. The actors also surfaced their contempt toward the recent Hollywood sexual assault scandals.

The show, while based on individual experiences, included general facts about women’s issues. It revealed that one billion women have been violated and that one in three women will be violated in their lifetime.

“Just walking around and being a girl is dangerous, so I don’t think that this show has ever been more important,” Mustafa said.

The show’s beneficiary was Genesis Women’s Shelter in Dallas. Genesis Women’s Shelter is a domestic violence shelter opened to help victims and their families recover from the hardships they have faced due to violence.

Lindsey Martin, a Genesis Women’s Shelter volunteer, was glad to introduce herself to the other audience members.

“We’re here to educate anyone who may be impacted by domestic violence or interested in learning how they can help,” Martin said.

The SMU
Vagina Monologues team donated 90 percent of its proceeds to the shelter. The
team raised $713 for Genesis.

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