Originally published in qmunicate
March 2015, QMU
The steady buzz of chatter drops to an immediate hush as the performers take to the stage – there is an eclectic variety of costumes and a rather maddening upbeat song playing in a loop as the actresses remain impressively still in a striking tableau, their poses sustained unflinchingly.
It’s International Women’s Week and we’re sitting in Qudos, waiting for the annual performance of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues to begin, a fitting testament to a week designed to celebrate women and all things female, and to remind us to keep fighting for gender equality. With all proceeds going to Glasgow Rape Crisis and produced in conjunction with Amnesty International, International Women’s Week and the SRC, it’s an opportunity to contribute to such a worthy cause in a fun, inspiring and thoughtful way. And the performance is all three, as well as provocative and unashamed and confident – urging women to know and love their bodies.
Unsurprisingly, given the title, the play consists of a series of monologues about vaginas and all the different things associated with vaginas, female bodies and female sexuality in general – childbirth, sex, orgasms, body hair and the importance of loving and appreciating yourself no matter what. It begins with an impassioned, rousing monologue about short skirts – as it progresses, the performance encompasses a tentative, uncertain atmosphere of a vagina workshop as women begin to discover their own vaginas; a monologue on the ability of the female body to give birth to new life (not sure I ever want to have children after such graphic descriptions); and humorous takes on some of the more light-hearted issues. The message is clear throughout: from the length of a skirt to sexual preference, the only thing that is really vital is that women are comfortable in their own skin and able to express themselves in whatever way they choose. And it’s a really crucial message too – an empowering reminder of all the things that the female body can do, an unapologetic proclamation of how women should never be marginalised. And indeed, why should it be apologetic?