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We Forgot About Our Vaginas

Is that you, Bey?

Last night and continuing tonight, V-Day at Barnard College premiered The Vagina Monologues featuring an all self-identified women of color cast. The announcement of the choice to use a cast of “self-identified women of color” proved a bit controversial this fall. A Bwogger with a vagina went out to the opening night last night to see what all the fuss was about. The show will close tonight with a performance at 10:30pm in the Roone Arledge Auditorium. See the Facebook event for more info.

I had no idea what to expect coming into the show as I purposefully tried to keep myself from searching for some background. I was correct in my general thoughts on the show—it would be about women and vaginas. However, the show went beyond the posters next to Well-Women, or the awkward conversation your RA tries to start every semester about how we need to become “clitorally vagenius.” The Vagina Monologues takes a deep look at something we keep forgetting: women have vaginas and we can’t ignore them.

There isn’t much to talk about in terms of the normal theatre review. Of course there was lighting and whatnot, but there was no detailed set or perfectly hemmed costumes. Instead, this show was truly about not even the actors, but the words they were saying. The show made sure that the stars were the monologues. However, it would be hard to ignore the intensity and heart that came with the female performers for each monologue, including stories by real women about issues women have continued to sweep under the rug to not “offend” anyone. Not enough can be said about the monologues in general; they are by far the most powerful words that will be said on a Columbia stage this year.

The production was directed and produced by Dorian Barnwell CC ’15 and Victoria Durden BC ’15 as well as produced by Anita Warner BC. In The Vagina Monologues section of the show, one of the performer’s* rendition of “My Angry Vagina” earned more than enough snaps from the audience, including when she perfectly described the hatred that comes with having to stick dry cotton up your vagina once a month. Another outstanding performance came from Evy Kenya Exime CC ’17, who performed “The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could.” An actor prefaced the monologue with a trigger warning and prepared the audience for what was a breathtaking and difficult story. On the side of “The Snatchchats,” Joya Ahmad SEAS ’15 wrote several of the poems, including the passionate “An Open Letter to the Working Girls of New York,” which Ahmad performed herself.

I know we can’t ignore the controversy that the choice to cast all women of color generated. Almost every ethnicity was represented. To be honest, I forgot it was a thing. Of course much of the stories, particularly the monologues in the feature “The Snatchchats” following the show, did focus on issues pertaining to women of color in this country, but for much of the actual Vagina Monologues it was not focused on the race of the performer. Looking back on the performance, it was a nice change from the white washed casts that typically grace the Columbia stage.

The Barnard/Columbia V-Day puts on the monologues every year, and every year it is deservedly praised. We should all be very proud to be classmates with the women that presented these monologues.

*This performer requested to not be named in this review for personal reasons.

Poster via Facebook Event

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13 Comments

  • Annoyed says:

    @Annoyed “Looking back on the performance, it was a nice change from the white washed casts that typically grace the Columbia stage.”

    As someone in the Columbia theater scene, I’m kind of offended by this constant perception that we’re all white, suburban, upper middle class people that went through some privileged performing arts educational system. Why don’t people ever come and see the shows they’re criticizing for being “too white?” There’s an entirely diverse group of people in the cast and crew of several productions. The most talented people get cast, and then these news organizations love to cause drama by pointing out that we didn’t have enough SEAS or GS students, or transgender Native American Pacific Islanders. Can you just watch and enjoy the hard work of their peers?

    Columbia students love to and complain about everything, but why do you always have to criticize the efforts of other students and play affirmative action backseat directing instead of protesting things that matter within the administration?

    1. BC '14 says:

      @BC '14 lol every theater meeting I’ve gone to was wonderbread white

      remember how there was an all-white production of the wiz a few years back? lol

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous that show was a two-woman parody that only used like 25 lines of dialogue from the wiz and ran an hour long

        it was making fun of how whitebread everything at this school is

    2. confused says:

      @confused “the theater community at columbia is diverse, but I’m going to mention trans and/or indigenous identities as if they’re imaginary and also poo on anyone who supports affirmative action”

      so basically what you’re saying is “we are as white and unwelcoming as you say we are”

    3. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous weather machine

    4. Lauren says:

      @Lauren You’re right. Let’s just ignore blatant practices of exclusion within these settings and eat our crumbs off the floor happily.

  • still confused says:

    @still confused also not all women have vaginas/not everyone with a vagina is a woman

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous SAY IT.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous It’s Rihanna in the poster. Just saying.

  • man says:

    @man I feel offended that men don’t have the penis dialogs

  • Bwog says:

    @Bwog Shut up. Think about what you are doing and why you are doing it.

  • cc 17 says:

    @cc 17 I’m sorry but almost every ethnicity was not represented that will never be the case that’s not what ethnicity means. You could use the word race, because there were certainly people from asian, latina, black, and (I believe but I’m not totally confident) indigenous backgrounds. But race is bs anyway so whatever.

    Point is there’s way more to this and this article says absolutely nothing to the wonderful and powerful performances given by so many of those women the last couple of nights.

    Bwog, do better– at least say something meaningful and if you’re going to refer to the controversy at least say something about the result.

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