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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Vagina Week empowers women

Published: March 13, 2009
Section: News

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Empowerment: Tiffany Roberts ‘11 teaches ju jit su to a self defense workship as part of the Brandeis Vagina Club’s “Vagina Week.”<br /><i>PHOTO BY Yuan Yao / The Hoot</i>

Empowerment: Tiffany Roberts ‘11 teaches ju jit su to a self defense workship as part of the Brandeis Vagina Club’s “Vagina Week.”
PHOTO BY Yuan Yao / The Hoot

When Tiffany Roberts ‘11 was asked what her vagina would wear, she answered “Spurs.” That makes sense, coming from the girl who helped kick off Brandeis’ eighth annual Vagina Week by teaching a self-defense class on Monday night.

In fact, the questoin of “if your vagina wore clothes, what would it wear?” That question, and its variants, has been posed countless times this week. Following this past weekend’s performances of Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues, the week has been filled with various vagina-themed programming.

The Vagina Monologues are about raising awareness of, and working to stop, gender based violence.

Roberts’s class was the perfect complement to this message, teaching the 15 women who came to the class the Japanese martial art of danzan ryu ju jit su.

This type of ju jit su is particularly suited to women, Roberts explained because “the whole idea is that you use your attackers energy against them…its not strength against strength, but how to use [an attacker’s strength] against himself.”

Roberts recently started a ju jit su club on campus, where she is one of only two female participants. For Roberts, the art is all about “teaching confidence.”

Roberts was not the only one teaching the vagina week crowds about themselves. Wednesday’s Orgasm Workshop was a different type of female empowerment, teaching women how to take charge of their vaginas.

Megan Andelloux spoke to a captivated and tightly packed crowd in Golding auditorium. The crowd alternated between fits of laughter and stunned silence as Andelloux gave her presentation, with the help of a power point and a vagina puppet named Victoria.

Andelloux, a professional sexologist, broached the topics that few others ever would and where traditional sexual health education has failed. She noted that traditionally, in sexual education classes, the respective male and female reproductive systems are taught in distinctly different ways. Classes geared toward the female sexual system tend to focus on the “internal” workings, whereas sexual education for males tends to focus on the “outside.”

Andelloux is working to fix that discrepancy and shed light on the mysteries of the vagina, and help vagina owners make the best theirs.

“I though it was really interesting the way that Megan got everyone to loosen up about the subject,” said Hannah Levinger, who is personally acquainted with the monologues and the week.

Levinger’s mother had been in a production of the Vagina Monologues, but Levinger was about 8 at the time, and her mother did not want her to see the play. Seeing the Monologues at Brandeis, and the activities of vagina week, was a positive experience for Levinger.

“[Andelloux] did not use euphemisms and was not beating around the bush (pun intended). She was very straight forward in a way that adults usually aren’t when talking about this subject, especially with younger people,” she said

If Brandeis had a vagina, what would it say? The answer to that question lies in a comment that Levinger, as well as everyone in attendance of the orgasm workshop, won’t soon forget: “Is lube kosher?”