The University of Maine Feminist Collective presented their annual performance of the “Vagina Monologues” Feb. 7-9. An array of students and faculty members attended the event, which raised money for local centers and on-campus programs that support women’s rights while helping women embrace their sexuality and womanhood.
“This show has been presented by the University of Maine Feminist Collective, formerly Student Women’s Association, for the past 20 years on our campus. It’s a great, open, celebration of sexuality,” Miranda Snyder, a second-year education student said, “there is no shame whatsoever, it’s a very comfortable environment and a great space to just go and laugh and have a good time.”
Snyder is a co-chair member of the Feminist Collective and helped to organize the event. Snyder, along with other Feminist Collective members, sold tickets in the Memorial Union the week before the event. The proceeds from the event were donated to four facilities in the local Maine area, including the Women’s Resource Center, the Mabel Wadsworth Center, Partners for Peace and Rape Response Services. Representatives from each organization spoke at the beginning of the event, thanking the audience and sharing a little bit about what their organization stood for and the tasks they perform.
The Women’s Resource Center is a non-profit organization located on UMaine’s campus that provides students access to feminine products, emergency contraception, birth control, and other resources. The Resource Center, a sponsor of the event, is located on the 2nd floor of the Union and was featured among the speakers at the event.
Advocates from Rape Response Services shared information with audience members about their 24-hour hotline service and spoke about their school-based prevention and education program. Rape Response Services has drop-in hours every Monday from 3-5 p.m. in the Career Center in the Union.
Partners for Peace representatives also attended the event. This domestic violence resource center is a non-profit organization that has office hours in the Union from 3-5 p.m. every Thursday. Partners for Peace provides hotlines, support groups, housing, legal advocacy, medical appointment assistance, and other resources for those affected by or victims of domestic violence.
The Mabel Wadsworth Center, a local and independently-funded healthcare center in Bangor, Maine that was established in 1984. The center provides birth-control, prenatal healthcare and many other benefits available to women who need them.
The show began with three cast members speaking about what it means to be a woman and to love the body you were born with. Each performer shared true stories and testimonies written by women who wanted to share their experience, many centered around the topics of love, sexual health, relationships and sexuality.
“I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the show,” Autumn Rogers a first-year biology student said. “As someone who doesn’t know much about the feminist groups that are present on our campus, I liked learning about all the resources we have available to us as women in our local area.”
Although some of the monologue content was sensitive and intimate, members of the group made announcements before each set of performances, warning the audience of any sensitive or possibly triggering content that was about to be shared.
“I think it is a once in a lifetime experience that is definitely not worth missing,” Snyder said. “I had so many friends last year who came with the preconceived notion that it was going to make them feel uncomfortable, but they ended up having a great time and loving it. Usually, you are able to ease into the show and end up chanting and clapping along by the end.”
The monologues were performed by members of the UMaine community, and at the end of the performance everyone joined in to chant with the performers and clap along as they thanked their organization members and took a bow.
To learn more information about any one of these organizations and programs, please visit https://umaine.edu/womensgenderandsexualitystudies/campusresources/, https://www.partnersforpeaceme.org, http://www.rrsonline.org, or https://www.mabelwadsworth.org.