The Student Women’s Association hosted its 14th annual performance of The Vagina Monologues Feb. 21 and 22 at the University of Maine. The event is part of a global activist movement called V-Day, which raises awareness to stop violence against women and girls.
According to the V-Day website, community members and college students alike join the V-Day campaign to produce benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues across the globe. This year, UMaine’s performance raised money for Spruce Run, Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center, Rape Response Services of Bangor and the V-Day campaign.
“Overall we had a great turnout for both nights,” third-year journalism student and co-chair of SWA Casey Weed reported in an email. “Friday night we almost sold out, but we were pretty packed on Thursday as well. I was really happy with the turnout […] Everyone I spoke with after the shows said they really enjoyed it, some even said it was better than last year’s.”
Weed reported that just over $3,000 was raised between the two nights, and approximately 400 tickets were sold.
“I’d say it was pretty evenly split,” Weed wrote about female and male attendance. “Sometimes I think the males in the audience find the show more entertaining than some of the girls.
“I think it was a big eye-opener for a lot of people as well,” Weed added.
“This event is important […] because it raises awareness about women and what women want instead of what men want,” Dana Freshley, a fourth-year communication student and SWA co-chair, wrote in an email. “Sex usually surrounds male desire and satisfaction, so it’s important to acknowledge women’s opinions and voices about sex.”
Freshley narrated the event, introducing each skits and providing background information for the segments.
UMaine student organization Male Athletes Against Violence showed their support by ushering the event for the second year in a row. Student coordinator for MAAV Spencer Wood was impressed with The Vagina Monologues.
“It was great,” the fourth-year communication and human development student said. “The skits were educational.”
According to Wood, the Vagina Monologues touched on many different experiences from a diverse age group, referring to skits from the point of view of an old woman and one from a 6-year-old girl and every age in between.
“It’s good for men to experience,”Wood said. “Some of the themes and struggles are directed toward that world.”
For Wood, it was important to have MAAV members show support and laugh a little.
“Some subjects are serious but can be shown in a different light,” Wood said.
Wood reported that MAAV takes as many chances to show their support for women’s organizations and raise awareness against rape and violence.
Fourth-year food science and human nutrition student Aubrey Webster took her mother to the show Friday night.
“I think there were definite times in the monologues where I felt uncomfortable, but only because I was wondering if my mom was reflecting upon the stories like I was, or if she was embarrassed,” Webster wrote in an email.
“I was really impressed with how they took the interviews of women and turned them into such powerful messages,” Webster reported. “There were quite a few males at the performance, and I think it was a really good learning experience for them.
“The monologues weren’t too graphic,” Webster added. “I think [they] were really good at portraying how women feel and view their sexual organs.
“I’d definitely suggest it to others. I think it’s great for guys, and women of all ages. I’d recommend [going] in with an open mind. If you’re close-minded you won’t be receptive to others’ life experiences,” Webster wrote.
Delaney Guerino, director of The Vagina Monologues and member of SWA, wrote in an email that the second night went a little better.
“I think that the cast agreed that the second night went a little bit more smoothly, because we knew how we wanted everything set up and we felt more prepared for the show as a whole.”
Overall there were no mishaps reported from either Guerino or Weed, and both were impressed with the turnout and money raised from the two-night event.
“In comparison to last year, I think the show was extremely different considering we had a different venue and an almost entirely new cast,” Guerino wrote in an email.
Wood made a similar comment, saying that the look and feel of the venue was better this year than last. He reported that the event felt more personal in Neville Hall.
“One thing I was impressed with about this year’s show was that the crowd was so diverse […] many men and women enjoyed the show and that a large amount of these people had never been before and were willing to try out a new experience,” Guerino wrote.
“One of the most influential people who I spoke to after the show was a senior citizen who said that she wished these call to actions started 50 [years] ago. Those are the conversations that make all of the hard work and preparation worth it,” Guerino reported.
Guerino expressed great gratitude for the people who came to the show and supported the cause.
“It is not easy to step out of your comfort zone but an incredible amount of people did and, because of this, we have over [$3,000] that will be donated to organizations that support the causes that the cast and SWA believe in.”