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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Real Life Vagina Monologues: Brandeis members do that talking

Published: March 28, 2008
Section: Features

Marci McPhee of Brandeis’ International Center for Ethics is a very sensible woman, and therefore, has a very sensible vagina. In fact, if her vagina could dress itself, it would wear unscented panty shields due to its sensible nature.

If Stephanie Grimes of the Office of Student Life’s vagina wore clothes, it would wear sweatpants, a sweatshirt, and a baseball cap.

Michelle O’Malley, who also works for Student Life, has two little daughters at home. They are the princesses of the house, and she is the queen, so if her vagina could wear anything it wanted, it would wear a jewel-studded crown.

“I think it deserves it after pushing out two girls,” O’Malley said to a group of both female and male students assembled in Polaris Lounge Wednesday night as part of the Vagina Club’s Real Life Vagina Monologues.

The Real Life Monologues come at the end of the club’s Vagina Fest—a week dedicated to celebrating femininity and raising awareness about gender based violence. On campus, the most known aspect of Vagina Fest is when the club puts on the Vagina Monologues—a play by Eve Ensler consisting of monologues with women speaking about their vaginas, sexuality, and relationships.

This year was the second year that the Vagina Club held the “real life vagina monologues” in an attempt to open a dialogue within the Brandeis community similar to that displayed in the show.

“It’s about bonding,” club President Sarah Krevsky ’08 said. “A lot of the things that we talk about are things that we wouldn’t really come up in conversation with your friends unless it’s 3 a.m., or you’re drunk, or both.”

While many would think that their professors would be opposed to sharing these intimate details of their life to Brandeis students, according to Vagina Club member and this year’s director of the Vagina Monologues Yael Mazor ’08, the most difficult part in convincing the faculty to participate is finding the time in their schedules.

“The problem isn’t getting them to share, it’s literally just booking them,” she said.

The busy lives of professional woman was just one of the many topics covered by the four-woman panel which fielded questions ranging from what their vaginas would wear to what having sex is like after child birth.

“Sometimes I think that my resume should just have three words on it,” McPhee said. “Mother of six.”

“Mother of six?” O’Malley asked. “God bless you for having six kids, but I don’t know how you have time [for sex]. Thinking about sex after having children is like thinking about sex in high school for me—I know I have [a vagina] I just don’t use it.”

One of the goals of the event was for women to be able to embrace their sexuality and their vaginas.

After the event, the attendants were encouraged to decorate a vagina-shaped cookie depicting how their vagina would look if it were edible. The attendants flocked around the toppings, and created chocolate-icing pubic haired vaginas with Hershey kiss peanut butter clitorises.

“I’ve been doing this for such a long time that I forget that vagina isn’t something that we say all the time,” Mazor said. “But I think it’s a sign of success if the use of the word ‘vagina’ in our event doesn’t attract attention and when there is no shock value.”

“I always thought that the question of what your vagina would wear was sort of masculine,” Ellen Wright (PSYC) said. “It’s like how men name their penis. I don’t think of my vagina [as] separate from myself. Sexuality isn’t just sex, it’s a part of your identity. My vagina is a part of me—I dress myself, not my vagina.”

The event concluded with the panelists sharing their views on pre-marital sex. The results varied.

“I absolutely think premarital sex is necessary,” Grimes said. “If you have religious obligations, that’s one thing, but sex and physical connections are just such a big part of a relationship. I want to know if my husband is going to change the toilet paper, and take out the trash—and I also want to know if he’s going to be good in bed.”

McPhee, on the other hand, said that she thinks that sex is more than just about pleasure.

“[Abstinence} about making a physical sacrifice because of your love for someone. And,” she said, “there really isn’t anything hotter than two virgins discovering themselves and each other on their wedding night.”

Most importantly, the event also focused on the Vagina Club’s main purpose of ending and raising awareness of gender-based violence.

“I saw the monologues and I can tell you that it’s about education and gender based violence, not just about fun and jokes,” McPhee said. “For everyone of me, who waited until their wedding night to have a great first sexual experience with fireworks, there are girls whose first sexual experience is rape. This stuff is real, and it’s got to change it’s got to change in Boston, in Rwanda, and in Bosnia. And it has to change everywhere.”