“Vagina, Vagina, come over, come near.”
I’m not going to lie, when I finished this last night I got very excited and wanted to scream why it was exciting to the entire world online, but I was rather tired. But we need to talk about this. We need to talk about The Vagina Monologues because it is important and relevant and wonderful and just. I can’t even. Of course I haven’t lived under a rock all of my life, so I’ve heard of it before, I knew it was a stage play, I knew it was first staged in the 90s and set off this wonderful wave thought and visibility.
But, sadly I hadn’t read this until now because in a way I thought I may be too young to appreciate it, I questioned if it would feel relevant to me, if it would grip me like I wanted it to. If all of the hype would just be hype and I would be sadly defeated and disillusioned by the entire thing. But, there is hope here. This was a wonderful read. Truly wonderful. I haven’t been driven to tears by a novel for a while and this got to me, this really gripped the whole centre of my being and shook it awake.
I’m not entirely sure why, I don’t feel directly part of a community that has shut down the vagina, mutilated the vagina, there aren’t hate speeches shutting the vagina away in cupboards or stitching them shut to prevent girls masturbating, or burning women as witches for the sure sign of having a clitoris. However, there is avoidance, there is euphemism, ‘down-theres’ and ‘private-parts’ and I know women who don’t masturbate, or at least don’t admit to masturbation. (Why? Why? Why? WHY? You have an organ that’s soul purpose is pleasure, USE IT!)
Did the VM just give voice to a lot of things that I have felt for a long time? Probably. I’m not blind to the state of the world and I read and in the VM there is a sense of kinship with other vaginas. (I’m not saying women, because you do not need a vagina to be a woman but that is a discussion for a different day). So is this a sense of solidarity through flesh? Did I see myself? Yeah, I really did see part of myself in this text. Did it comfort me in some bizarre way? Yes! Absolutely!
The VM isn’t a text that bashes on the table and screams vagina at you (though that would be a great performance piece), this is a text that speaks in a calm resonate voice that: ‘these are stories about vaginas (and some of them will shock you)’. Some of these stories you will naturally empathise with, in some of these stories you will see your friends, your mothers, your daughters, your sisters in, your gender-fluid company.
The Vagina Monologues is based on interviews with women about their vaginas, it is about all kinds of vaginas, old vaginas, angry vaginas, vaginas discovering themselves, hairy vaginas, vaginas reclaiming ‘cunt’, vaginas doing vagina things, vaginas being abused, vaginas hidden away in cupboards, vaginas sewn up, vaginas that haven’t orgasmed, that haven’t seen light, that have been told that they should be spoken about in riddles, or that they are messy or they are clinical, anatomical, and unsexy. (I am getting to the point where typing vagina is starting to feel like rebellion in itself, vagina, vagina, vagina.)
Of course for every vagina who is repressed there is a vagina that is liberated and aware and alive.
But perhaps it is my own hesitation that I see underlined within The Vagina Monologues, I am reluctant to become just another woman ‘writing about her vagina’ and only recently have began this journey where I really dig into the body and break that hesitation. The VM celebrates not only sexuality and flesh but the kinship with it and others. It shocks, it had me crying, it had me laughing, it had me considering what my vagina would say if it could say two words, and what my vagina would wear if it could. It encourages being unapologetic about sexuality, unapologetic for the vessel you travel this world in, and pushes you on a mission for the reclamation of the body.
I guess this means I’m an advocate and the new poster girl, (vagina, vagina, vagina) for the VM. Does that make me ashamed? Absolutely not. It’s a shame that the word ‘vagina’ still feels like rebellion.