Rape, abuse, and sexism; these are some of the hardships women are forced to endure on a daily basis. Upon birth, and as we grow up, we tend to accept the world around us. Adaptability is the grand achievement of the human race; it’s also our biggest downfall. Women, forced into a society that perceives them as objects, a society that belittles their achievements, a society dominated by men, unwillingly mend their way into that destructive society, making their journey an unthinkable one. A journey men will never be able to fully understand.
However, there are women who have come to the realization that the path laid upon them by society isn’t the one they’re meant to follow. There are women who understand and realize their individuality, value, and importance. Some of these women were present at the Black Box Theater at Rio Hondo College Thursday, May 4, speaking out about the realities of the fabricated world around them, and speaking to enlighten other women and men. These were their “Vagina Monologues.”
The monologues tackled the topics mentioned before, alongside others. Each piece was emotionally powerful, and despite some of the hard-hitting stories, a sense of empowerment filled the theater, especially on stage. Each speaker read their respective monologue with a powerful tone. It didn’t sound like a forced-speech class assignment, the women speaking brought the monologues to life with their voices.
The monologue “My Angry Vagina,” told by Naomi Villanueva, targets corporate society’s tendency to conflict with the needs of the vagina, and even censor it. Villanueva describes the tampon for what it is, an unappealing, dry, and crude device that in no way is fit for a vagina’s needs. “My vagina is furious and it needs to talk… what’s the deal, an army of people out there thinking up ways to torture my sorry ass, gentle-loving vagina… All this shit they’re constantly trying to shove up us, clean us up, stuff us up. Make it go away,” exclaimed Villanueva, who is fed up with the corporate mandate that seemingly exist to discomfort the salient organ.
The rape described in “My Vagina Was My Village,” read by Jasmine Reyes, tells the tragic story of a woman who lost herself when men brutally raped her and took away the place she used to call home. “My vagina was green, water soft pink fields, cow mooing, sun resting, sweet boyfriend touching…” were the beautiful words that started off “Village.” The beautiful, poetic tone that Reyes had dissipated into a pessimistic, dark one, “not since the soldiers put a long, thick rifle inside me. The steel rod cancelling my heart,” told Reyes. “Six of them, monstrous doctors with black masks shoving bottles up me… My vagina’s swimming river watered… not since I heard the skin tear… not since a piece of my vagina came off in my hand.” The terrible truth bestowed in “Village” is disheartening, but necessary. The story needs to be told because it puts us into the mind and soul of a woman who has experienced and been affected by the tragic repercussions of rape by men, and tells us that which we will never fully understand unless experienced.
The monologues continued throughout the night, some humorous, some light-hearted, most saddening. If you’re asking yourself, “why would anyone ever sit through such a tragic thing?” I’ll tell you why: People, especially men, need to know these things in order understand the tragedies that women still face today. We still have a long road ahead of us, but I know that the “Vagina Monologues” are so important that the stories should be presented to people even at a young age. Young men need to stop growing up believing Women are inferior, but rather an equal. Sure, Men and Women differ in certain ways, but one doesn’t hold more value than the other. Men are growing up with society’s perception and stereotype of women, so we will continue to misunderstand them until we can grow out of our old misconceptions. Women don’t need to wear makeup, women don’t need to be the stay-at-home parent, women don’t need to cater to you. Listening to “The Vagina Monologues” can help men understand the tragedies women still face today because of the stereotypes we grew up with. The women who told these stories that Thursday night at Rio Hondo College were empowered because of their relation to the struggles the women faced in the monologues, and their drive to overcome such tragedies at all costs. This is the true power and importance of “The Vagina Monologues.”