In a deeply reflective state after The Vagina Monologues

I went to see The Vagina Monologues in Singapore last night. It was wonderful to see my great friend Anna in the show, as well as a cast of truly fabulous women. I saw it for the first time in Boston more than 15 years ago, and had the privilege of seeing Eve Ensler deliver the monologues. It had a big impact on me then, and it had a big impact on me again last night.

A fabulous cast
This is a very powerful show and it’s not just for women, but for men too. We are a global society where shame and disgust is intrinsically linked to the human body, but sexual shame lies deepest in women. For me, this show unlocks the discussion in a very funny and devastatingly sad way. It’s such important work and I wish everyone in the world experienced it.

Last night, I was super happy Steve agreed to come and see it with me. One of very few men in attendance, I know how important it is for him to understand this discussion. As a husband, he sees first-hand the impact on me after years of societal programming, and last night, I hoped it helped him understand just a little bit more. I was proud of him for coming. We were 10 women and one man, and he did the male gender proud last night.

But of course, the reason I married Steve is because he is comfortable enough in his own maleness to be present at something like this. He also has enormous respect for women. It doesn’t frighten Steve to face up to the truth, and vaginas don’t scare him either. I know I am a lucky gal with him by my side.

As with the last time I saw it, there are two monologues I find devastatingly powerful. The first is the story of a 72-year-old woman who experiences massive shame as a young lady when she gets asked out by the man of her dreams – or ‘the great catch’ in town at the time. Getting overly excited on her first date, she talks of a flood coming out of her vagina and the man treats her with complete disdain. He is repulsed.

What impacts me about this story is she closed shop ‘down there’ for the rest of her life. The thought that one moment of passion could close off opportunities to be loved, to be cared for and to know true and beautiful intimacy, is something that devastates me. I know many many women have suffered this same fate, which is why The Vagina Monologues is so important. Perhaps audience members over the years have healed after hearing her story?

No one should close shop down there and lose out on so much life offers due to shame! No one! I just find her story unbearably sad.

And of course, the story of the Bosnian rape victims is the other devastating story. This monologue is a lady speaking of the beauty of her vagina before the war – a beautiful field, clean water, vibrant, alive, pure – and then after the war – a barren waste land, poisoned, bloody, filthy, puss, and so on… This lady was raped by seven men over a week, with rifles and other objects as well. It’s a terrible story about the truth of rape in war and it’s a very important conversation. Rape happens in war and outside of war, and continues to not get the attention and punishment it deserves.

Rape is violence not sex.

The Vagina Monologues makes me laugh out loud and it makes me cry unashamedly. The topics discussed are core issues that can be overcome and the world will be a better place if we achieve that. Sex, sexuality and vaginas should never be something we are ashamed of.

Religion is a massive part of the dialogue that created shame around sex and the body, but if there really is a god that created us, why the hell would she give us the ability to enjoy pleasure and make us ashamed of it? Another reason I wish the world was without organized religion.

The ladies in Singapore were fabulous last night. What I found even more fabulous was the diversity of women on stage. Almost every country on the planet has double standards around female sexuality and it was great to hear the unified voices of women from across the world. Really terrific stuff.

If you’re in Singapore 22, 23 or 24th of September, go and see Finally She Spoke. Sangeeta Nambiar, who directed The Vagina Monologues last night, is the brainchild behind this new show. It’s the result of talks with women from across the world, highlighting important conversations we need to have around domestic violence, sex trafficking, female genital mutilation, sex, breast chronicles, incest and feminism in films. I won’t be in town at the time, but will definitely see it when I can.

Thank you for an amazing night ladies. It always leaves me in a deeply reflective state.

Oh and if I could dress my vagina, I think I’d go for black leather and silver studs. Yeah. Power baby, power.

Anyone else seen it? Care to share your feelings or insights from the show?

Yours, without the bollocks
Andrea


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