“Vagina Monologues” feel like a trap

Kayln Bohl  performs at “The Vagina Monologues,” Feb. 22 in St. Cajetan’s Center. Photo by Katie Avery

Kayln Bohl performs at “The Vagina Monologues,” Feb. 22 in St. Cajetan’s Center. Photo by Katie Avery

Not often does one hear the phrase “Chocolate vaginas! $2 each!” but that is exactly what met my ears as I took my seat for “The Vagina Monologues.”

On Feb. 22 in St. Cajetan’s Center, the MSU Denver Feminist Alliance put on the show, which features a series of short stories presented by a variety of women talking very explicitly about sex and the vagina itself.

The show has been put on since 1996 and is re-written by its author Eve Ensler each year to add or change aspects of the show. The script is then syndicated to various performing groups internationally.

The script itself is sound when viewed in halves. The first half of the show is mostly amusing anecdotes and funny stories about women confronting their sexuality and their vaginas. The second half takes a dark turn, discussing rape and abuse, and going into grisly details about some women’s experiences. In the end, this dichotomy makes the show feel like a trap. The funny stories draw you in so that performers can spring statistics and gruesome stories onto the audience.

The overall message from the show is one of power and independence and of fighting back against the patriarchal societal norms in the world today. That is something anyone can get behind and is inherently a positive thing.

It was a shame, then, that the performance wasn’t especially good. Some of the speakers didn’t speak clearly into the microphones, while others suffered from faulty microphones that cut in and out and were distracting. One speaker didn’t use a microphone at all and paced the stage in heavy boots that made loud, clomping noises.

I, as a man, am inherently not the audience that this show is meant for. I admit, not all of the humor or stories made perfect sense, since I do not know what it is like to be a woman. I don’t hold that against the show, the script or the speakers, but it’s harder for me to try and understand any of the humor or stories properly when I can barely hear the presenters.

In the end, “The Vagina Monologues” is a good piece of work that deserved more rehearsal, and is probably totally worth seeing when presented by professional speakers or in a venue that isn’t plagued by unreliable equipment.

Author: Brent Zeimen

Brent Zeimen has contributed to The Metropolitan as a features reporter since May 2012. He is studying convergent journalism. Brent is a Colorado native and an avid gamer who expects to graduate from MSU Denver in 2015. His dream job: covering the gaming industry as a journalist.

51 Responses to "“Vagina Monologues” feel like a trap"

  1. Lisa  February 27, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    The article itself is sound when viewed in halves. The first half is a brief introduction to the show, which sheds little light on the shows purpose yet is inherently good natured. The second half, however, took a dark turn to the naive, showing how little attention the author paid and highlighted the irony in him writing this piece. It was a shame, then, that the article wasn’t especially good. Maybe had he been a better writer, or took any time to reflect on the show, he wouldn’t have been so distracted by minor technical details or by a performers boots. I, as a decent writer and intelligent person, am inherently not the audience that this article is meant for. In the end, this article was a shoddy piece of work by a person who could benefit from a bit more maturing.

    Reply
    • Amy Murlowski  February 27, 2013 at 6:45 pm

      So nicely put.

      Reply
    • Jessica  February 27, 2013 at 9:32 pm

      I couldn’t have said it better myself Lisa!!!

      Reply
    • Annabelle  May 15, 2013 at 7:43 pm

      Although admittedly not the greatest of reviews, it is clearly done by someone trying to find footing in the world of Journalism. This is neither unintelligent nor is it disrespectful in anyway. It is a brief summary followed by a brief criticism, clearly written by a man not all too interested in the work. So you of course can criticize the choice to have him review it and his lack of interest in the deeper themes of the play. However I find your approach to deliver your criticisms unnecessarily aggressive while not actually delivering any intended message. It is a rant for rants sake. You seem more interested in insulting him than helping him improve. I would also like to point out, whether it be unintended or not, how your review of his review mirrors his own. It is good natured at first and then takes a darker turn into jackassery. In turn, your aggressive nature shows that you may, as well, benefit from a bit of maturing.

      Reply
    • Evgueni Mlodik  November 11, 2013 at 4:17 am

      While I agree the article is poorly written, you strike me as a bitter pissed off lesbian Eve Ensler peddles to…

      Reply
  2. Julie Dufford  February 27, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    “The overall message from the show is one of power and independence and of fighting back against the patriarchal societal norms in the world today. That is something anyone can get behind and is inherently a positive thing.”

    This is all you needed to say in your commentary….the rest was “constrictive cruddicism” and overshadowed the importance of both the first half, and the second half of the show. Ya know, men have always been able to “approve” of their penises, masturbate, etc. Maybe it’s time for women to be able to embrace that too, as another liberation from Patriarchy. It was ALL IMPORTANT to be heard!!

    Reply
    • Jessica Sideways  March 3, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      Julie, a significant part of any performance is delivery and if there are enough technical slip-ups, you will not be able to appreciate the piece for what is supposed to be truly important… the content. I love the Vagina Monologues and I enjoy the show but if it cannot be delivered, then we are not doing our jobs.

      If my website were garishly designed so as to detract from the content or if I went with a webhost that had massive downtime issues, it doesn’t matter what my content is because it’s not being put at the forefront. Your technology and other “theatre tech”, as it were, should work to enhance the delivery of the piece, bringing it to the forefront so as to make the technology invisible. For the most part, the tech is invisible… unless something goes wrong.

      Another example: If I have to give a powerpoint presentation in class, I make sure to practice in the room I intend to give the presentation in. I make sure that my computer does not have some embarrassing wallpaper or windows open, I do a run through of the presentation to make sure that there are no blank sides or technical glitches, I make sure that my voice is steady and I am cool, calm and confident and I make sure that my Apple Remote works perfectly. I do this at least twice before giving any presentation. On the day of the presentation, I make sure to lay out everything I need (mini-DisplayPort to VGA cable, Apple Remote, etc) and make sure that I physically put it in the bag so that when I am ready to present, I can do a good job.

      The theatre tech who worked the Vagina Monologues here on campus fucked up. Point blank. We need to take responsibility for that and work to ensure that this doesn’t happen at the next performance. What we do not need is to shift responsibility and blame the reporter who is giving his honest opinions.

      Just my two cents.

      Reply
      • The V-Team  March 4, 2013 at 11:30 pm

        To clarify, the headset microphone worked fine during rehearsals earlier that day, and it was tested by several actresses that planned on using it during their performances. When it didn’t work on stage for one person, it was never used again. It was the only tech problem of the entire show. And like a trooper, she went on with her monologue instead of freezing or freaking out. So I think that one minor technical difficulty in the very beginning of the show is being highlighted just a little too much.

        Just my two cents.

        Reply
  3. krissy g  February 27, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    I totally disagree with this critique of The Vagina Monologs. To quote my very dear friend, “Maybe if you researched what you were getting into rather than blindly walking into something you wouldn’t have been so shocked, and would know that that’s the point of the show, giving the viewer the POV of having a vagina in EVERY sense, including the not so funny and charming facts”
    That, sir, is so true. But I guess that’s what you get when you send an immature amateur to do a critique of something that is more than just a joke.

    Reply
  4. Laura  February 27, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    “In the end, this dichotomy makes the show feel like a trap. The funny stories draw you in so that performers can spring statistics and gruesome stories onto the audience…I, as a man, am inherently not the audience that this show is meant for.”
    Gosh, sorry for the trauma to your squeamish sensibilities. Sexual assault survivors, please keep your dirty laundry to yourselves next time, the reality of rape is making the menfolk uncomfortable. Less “Precious” and more “Sex in the City”, k?

    Reply
  5. Tesa Johnson Ferrell Jones  February 27, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    Wow! So sorry to dampen your spirits as you ARE obviously our direct target audience: the uninformed, squeamish, ‘unnaffected’, and terribly misguided apathetic masses. Sir, you fit right in. Please spare us your misguided attempts to downplay the power of this play by noting the minor technical difficulties and obvious lack of professional actors. Nonetheless, we are WOMEN and this is our shared story. Gentlemen sensibilities are terribly needed by you. Your apparent boredom and lack of basic research are appalling, even at this stage of your academic development. This ‘review’ should have never went to print. Try again, Mr Zeimen and The Metropolitan.

    Reply
  6. Jason Dirgo  February 27, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Oh no! The under-represented and abused are drawing attention to the patriarchy! We can’t have that. Let’s ignore all those important things and talk about microphones instead.

    Reply
  7. Amy Murlowski  February 27, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Wow, what a shallow article.

    I wish I could have had this guy’s ticket to what was a sold-out show bringing together passionate people!

    Reply
  8. Tyler Antikainen  February 27, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    I can’t even fathom how incredibly ignorant and condescending this article is. It’s viewpoints like this that are the reason as to why women are still getting raped in today’s society, it’s part of the reason that women don’t have equal pay, it’s part of the reason that women’s reproductive rights are at stake and it’s just plain disgusting. Because he is a man doesn’t mean he gets to dismiss the conversations that women are having nor anyone else for that matter. We are all human beings, and the mere fact that we are in existence means that we are perfect in the way we are, regardless of anything else. We are all living and breathing and that NEEDS to be respected and recognized. It’s unfortunate that you were unable to draw upon your own human emotions (empathy, sympathy, compassion) which EVERYONE is capable of, for a period long enough to wrap your mind around the viewpoint of women. I feel a great amount of pity for you, sir, for if you can’t pull yourself away from minor things such as boots and microphones cutting in and out long enough to realize the true beauty of what was happening; women standing up for themselves and the witnessing of true social justice and movement on what is probably one of the most fundamental levels (small scale community like MSU Denver), then you should not be having your pieces of writings published. While I was not there to see the show itself I know it probably would have moved me to tears, knowing quite a few of the women who put so much work and effort into it and the various leadership roles they play outside of organizing this event alone, I KNOW it would have left an impact. Great job ladies, I’m sure that it was spectacular. Furthermore the amount of courage you have is nothing short of a marvel, please continue to do what you do and speak up for the justice and equal rights,treatment and pay that YOU deserve.

    Reply
  9. Rocky Ball  February 27, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    You’re right. I should just shut up about the sexual trauma I’ve endured, instead of educating and empowering other women to protect themselves. Maybe if I made better decisions this wouldn’t have happened to me right? I shouldn’t have been wearing those clothes right? Thank you, I know now that the harsh realities that women face on a daily basis, both humorous and off-putting are making men uncomfortable, so I better stop talking about it.

    Reply
  10. Jenn  February 27, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    Had I known that my boots would become such a central talking point, I would have worn the ones that I was wearing the day that my estranged husband attempted to kill me…they would have been much more relevant to the mission of the production. In case I haven’t been re-victimized enough by defense attorneys, law enforcement and bureaucracy, now a member of a campus publication wants to silence survivors such as myself, unless we can turn this very real issue into a joke. As a student leader on campus and a survivor of sexual and domestic violence, I know how hard it is to organize an effective event at Auraria, yet this author chose to ignore the fact that this was a well-organized, well intentioned, SOLD OUT, student led event which donated all proceeds to a local nonprofit organization.

    Reply
  11. Jessica Asay  February 27, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    I saw you there young man, you were sitting directly behind me in the back row. THE BACK ROW. I also noticed that you kept your head down during what seemed to me, a majority of the show. If you had actually attempted to engage in the show, instead of hiding out in the back and drawing attention to the fact that you obviously did not want to be there, maybe you would have taken more away from it. Maybe you should try taking a Women’s Studies course next semester, may I suggest Intro to Women’s Studies or Women of Color. You owe every single woman involved in that show a direct, personal apology. You’re inherent privilege of being a white male in our society has obviously isolated you to the point of ignorance when it comes to women’s issues. This article demonstrates clearly your lack of exposure to the realities faced by women, and if you truly intend to pursue journalism, you better start informing yourself. I also noticed that your information states that you wish to cover the gaming industry. Guess what? WOMEN play games too, so it would be in your best interest to get informed. Fast.

    Reply
  12. Marie Medina  February 27, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    Hello,
    As one of the performers in the Vagina Monologues I would first like to thank-you for attending. You were part of a wonderful sold-out event that helped raise over $1,000 for RAAP (Rape Assistance and Awareness Program) and a landmark occasion that I personally will cherish forever. Unfortunately, it is the great stereotype of the feminist community that we are “angry man-hating lesbians” bent on cutting people down a peg. I do not wish to do that to you. I wish to invite you to have a discussion, particularly on gender-based violence issues, but also journalism. My main complaint about your article is that frankly it is poorly written and researched. As a former journalism major (I have the AP Stylebook to prove it!) I understand the power that proper language and syntax have. Being a journalist is a great privilege and a great responsibility. I personally feel you eschewed that responsibility by not doing your research to create a more well-informed piece of work. I would of loved to have been interviewed, and I am sure other members of our personable cast would have loved to as well. If you had done research you might have learned more about our backgrounds as untrained actresses who were a part of a production that is known for being impromptu. I only wish that you would have listened to the words that were being spoken and internalized the message of nonviolence being sent rather than focus on the technicalities. You mention feeling trapped, and I would love to discuss this further with you. The dichotomy you speak of is exactly what the female experience is. What the human experience is. Funny and tragic. But, if you were really listening, you would see that even the parts that were being laughed at are not light-hearted. The piece called “Reclaiming Cunt” is beautiful, and maybe even humorous. But that humor stems from a place of oppressive pain. “Angry Vagina” is perhaps one of the funniest pieces, mostly due to the talented Jennine Jeffries. If you were to listen to the words she spoke and not the way in which she spoke you would have heard feelings of exhaustion, annoyance, and of course ANGER. My piece entitled “My Short Skirt” was supposed to use the art of poetry to speak about the fear of rape every woman experiences the moment she leaves her home. Hell, some women fear rape WITHIN their homes. Mr. Zeiman, once again, I am so glad you attended. We need men to realize that these issues of gender-based violence are only perpetuated by good men who stay silent. We need you as an ally. I need you as an ally. I will leave you with the words of Eve Ensler: “I am over the passivity of good men. Where the hell are you? You live with us, make love with us, father us, befriend us, brother us, get nurtured and mothered and eternally supported by us, so why aren’t you standing with us? Why aren’t you driven to the point of madness by the rape and humiliation of us?”

    Here is my e-mail: [Email redacted for privacy (it has been passed along to the author)]. Come get angry with me!

    Reply
  13. Matt  February 28, 2013 at 10:18 am

    First, I’d like to say, let’s take a step back and stop throwing around insults. Casting judgement is the surest way to go unheard. I’m sure Zeiman had good intentions going into his piece, and I’m sure we all agree it’s lacking in some aspects. However, he has every right to dislike the show. Not every piece of cultural criticism has to be enjoyed by all, and that’s okay.

    My biggest issue with the article is the sentence: “I, as a man, am inherently not the audience that this show is meant for.”

    This little sentence, I believe, reveals one of the biggest problem with our society today. We create a separation of gender, play the blame game, push and fight against one another, when the deepest most meaningful goal I can see is working together. Beleiving that the show was not meant for him is a product of the “us vs. them” mentality our culture breeds, and that’s the case in every crevice and subculture within our world. Zeiman obviously felt alientated by the show, and that’s not a good thing at all, but neither is it blame-worthy. Instead of railing against him for his oversights as a writer and reviewer (we’re all human afterall), maybe we should try engaging in a meaningful dialogue about why he felt so alientated by the show.

    Let’s not just slash and burn our way through the dying fields in the hopes that we can forcefully grow something new. Getting to the root, and exposing the rot seems to me like the only sure way of overcoming the obstacles we face as a divided species. There is rot in all of us, from Mr. Zeiman, to myself, and everyone that has commented on this post. When we can embrace that rot, and show it to all that care to listen, we can work towards more meaningful alliances than any assault or attack on ignorance ever will. Try suspending judgement and putting forth love, and I think you might find it feels a lot better, and people will be a lot more open to hearing your words and sharing their own fears.

    Reply
    • Jessica Sideways  March 3, 2013 at 2:48 pm

      I profoundly agree. The idea that a man cannot enjoy the vagina monologues because he’s not their “target audience” (did I miss something about there being a target audience?) is just absurd and it’s a ridiculous attitude to have going in. How do you know going in that you are not? Just be present and let the piece speak to you.

      Reply
      • Mahdyeh  March 3, 2013 at 3:58 pm

        Hi Jessica,

        This is the authors direct words:

        “I, as a man, am inherently not the audience that this show is meant for.”

        Just in case you missed it.

        In Peace,

        Mahdyeh

        Reply
  14. The Metropolitan Staff  February 28, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Thank you all for your feedback on our coverage. Your readership is greatly appreciated.
    In defense of our article, however, it was not intended to be a comprehensive feature on the event – it is a review, and as such, it states the opinion of the reviewer.
    That said, we have given full coverage to events put on by The Feminist Alliance and The Department of Women’s Studies in the past. When auditions for “The Vagina Monologues” took place, we wrote an article about it, which can be found here : http://www.metnews.org/features/feminist-alliance-to-perform-vagina-monologues/.
    Zeimen’s comments about the technical issues and the quality of the performance are aspects that would be brought up when reviewing any production, regardless of the content. Nowhere in this piece does Zeimen claim that women’s issues aren’t important. He even says in his review:

    “The overall message from the show is one of power and independence and of fighting back against the patriarchal societal norms in the world today. That is something anyone can get behind and is inherently a positive thing.”

    Thank you for sharing your reactions to this piece and for bringing your opinions to the public dialogue, just as we do when we publish our reviews.
    We hope you will continue to read The Metropolitan in the future.

    Reply
    • The V-Team  February 28, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      Here’s my problem: this show was not put on by a group of theatre professionals–or even theatre students for that matter. It was a FUNDRAISER, not a theatrical production that was meant for review. I’m disappointed that The Metropolitan fails to recognize this. I haven’t seen reviews of other such events on campus that are raising awareness and creating change. This wasn’t a CD or video game release. The pieces you have done on Love is A Drag (FUNDRAISER) and One Billion Rising (AWARENESS) were fantastic because they helped to spread the message of the issues we are trying to call attention to. I don’t care whether Zeimen liked it or not; he is entitled to his opinion and I appreciate his feedback. However, since we granted him access to the show FOR FREE, it would have been courteous of him to at least let us know that he WASN’T doing a comprehensive piece, because that’s why we thought he was there. The Met had been so supportive of our cause and our mission since the beginning, so when Zeimen was granted access to the show, we thought it was with the same intention: to stand behind us as a group of hard working, dedicated students trying to spread the message that gender-based violence needs to end and that women’s experiences are valid and worthy of recognition. That’s why you are getting such negative feedback, and will continue to receive similar messages. It should not be the mission of The Met to put down the courageous efforts of its students–WHOSE STUDENT FUNDS PAY FOR THE PAPER–whether it is an opinion column or not. What happened to community building? The Met has the power to be a voice for those who go unheard, and by allowing a student to write a review of a fund and awareness raising event seems to me like a method in which to silence our voices, or make them seem small and weak. The student never should have been given permission to do a review in the first place. And I feel like you should know better. You can stand behind the writer, that’s your job; but you can also have some integrity and apologize for allowing it to happen in the first place. By running the article, you agreed to belittle the efforts of the community you share space with. You distribute papers outside of our campus. What are you saying to the surrounding community about our student body? So no–I will not continue to read The Met. And I will encourage everyone I know to stop reading it as well. My voice will not be silenced.

      One final note: who was responsible for running the blurb on the front that read “‘Vagina Monologues’ snatches up audiences?” That cute play on words was quite a bold move–bold and disgraceful. I would recommend a speedy apology for that quite sexist display.

      Reply
      • Marie Medina  February 28, 2013 at 6:02 pm

        THIS ^^^^^^^^^ needs to be carefully read by those who run The Metropolitan. You’re responses to letters completely miss the point of what is trying to be said. Mr. Zeiman is entitled to his opinion of the show but the purpose of the show was to FUND RAISE and was not treated as such.

        Reply
      • Captain Obvious  March 1, 2013 at 2:55 am

        That cute play on words was quite a bold move–bold and disgraceful. I would recommend a speedy apology for that quite sexist display.

        It’s interesting how vagina humor is perfectly kosher at an event about vaginas, but considered completely out of line in the context of promoting a review of said event about vaginas.

        Reply
        • Alicia  March 1, 2013 at 11:19 am

          It’s about the intention of these words, given the misogynistic undertones of this review it’s hard for me to assume this was made with positive intentions.

          Reply
          • Captain Obvious  March 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm

            Misogyny
            — The hatred or dislike of women or girls

            I seriously doubt this young man hates or even dislikes women.

            Review
            — A formal assessment or examination of something.

            “… I do not know what it is like to be a woman. I don’t hold that against the show, the script or the speakers, but it’s harder for me to try and understand any of the humor or stories properly when I can barely hear the presenters.”

            Sure seems like a review to me.

          • Jessica Sideways  March 3, 2013 at 2:53 pm

            Alicia, how (pray tell) is this review misogynistic in it’s undertones? Maybe it’s just my autism that keeps me from seeing the undertones so please, do fill me in.

      • Jessica Sideways  March 3, 2013 at 2:52 pm

        V-Team, I recognize that you have your concerns regarding the review and you had some expectations going in that this review would be a positive review because the previous two reviews y’all had were positive reviews. But I am pretty sure that both of those previous reviews weren’t solicited to be “positive reviews”, just honest reviews given the reviewer’s personal opinion.

        You performed a piece, invited a reporter from the Metropolitan and he gave a review of his opinion about the piece. It wasn’t a glowing, positive review. But let me ask you, did you make the same comment that the previous (positive) reviews weren’t appropriate because it was about a piece performed to raise money for charity? Why can you accept positive opinions but not negative ones?

        He gave you some good feedback as to where to improve. Take it into consideration.

        Reply
        • The V-Team  March 4, 2013 at 11:38 pm

          The reporter was not invited by us. He showed up 5 minutes before show time saying that he was from the paper. We made the mistake of assuming that he was following up on earlier coverage done by Kailyn.

          The other articles were not “reviews,” they were objective, comprehensive pieces about activism and awareness raising on campus. We are protesting the opinion review of a fundraiser that was unsolicited. We don’t care if the writer liked the performances or not–that’s his opinion to have, and we certainly appreciate the feedback. We’re fully aware that we only had 3 weeks to prepare and were working with less than ideal conditions. We don’t expect Academy Awards or anything. So maybe you have missed the point of our objections…because it certainly has nothing to do with less than flattering comments.

          Reply
    • Allison Riley  March 1, 2013 at 11:34 am

      I am a graduate of the journalism program at MSU Denver, so this intrigues me because I completely understand that it’s an opinion in a review, yet as a performer in the monologues, I also understand why everyone else is upset. Yes, we had some technical difficulties with the microphones, big deal. You can certainly mention that in the review, but if you wanted to know more about the message of the production, there’s ways to look that up. Also, I find it interesting that while you agree women’s issues are important, you still say that as a man you’re not the appropriate audience. I get what you mean–you don’t have a vagina so you can’t relate in that sense, but you could have phrased it differently to make it clear that hey, I may not be able to relate to you but I’m still a male ally (we LOVE male allies in the movement). Your headline was also confusing until I actually read what you mean by feeling like a trap; but Eve Ensler meant for it to be that way when writing it. You don’t have to like it, but it is important to acknowledge that it is meant to be that way.

      I have only written restaurant reviews–I’ve never written reviews for productions, but I think that regardless of what I was reviewing, whether it be a Broadway musical or a school production, I would sill give both the proper amount of research.

      Reply
    • The V-Team  March 1, 2013 at 10:42 pm

      The Met Staff:

      You can highlight that one sentence all you want, but the rest of the article doesn’t support it. The writer didn’t understand the overall message–that is made inherently clear two paragraphs later when he says he is not the intended audience because he is a man. The writer makes it obvious that he doesn’t even know what patriarchy is with this statement. And if it’s a cause that everyone can get behind, then your staff would have followed up on the article from JANUARY, that was written before we even had a cast, a venue, specific dates, times, or a definite beneficiary. That sentence is out of place with everything else that was written, appearing to be a blatant add-in by the editor, who probably feared this kind of backlash. Unfortunately, that one sentence doesn’t make the sexism that has been displayed okay. It’s shameful that you’re trying to justify it. Would you being doing the same if this were an issue of racism or heterosexism?

      Emails and online comments to this article are only the beginning of our protest. We will not slink away quietly as the weeks pass; this will not go away, just as the pain we all carry from our own experiences with violence and oppression does not vanish with time. We gathered over 150 people together for One Billion Rising and over 300 for The Vagina Monologues, and that was only pulled together in a couple of weeks. But there are THOUSANDS of people on our campus and from our surrounding communities that share our mission, that are part of our collective voice. You cannot silence my voice, and you will not silence theirs.

      Reply
  15. Amanda  February 28, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Right on V Team! As a cast member of the Vagina Monologues, it was so upsetting to read a review of a production that was put on to spread awareness and raise money for a wonderful cause. I must reiterate what the V Team said, it was completely inappropriate to “review” a fundraiser. I too will not be reading The Met in the future. What a response to receive after the hours and hours of work that we all put into this show. It was created with love. And we will not back down in our emails and responses to the school paper, who owe us an apology.

    Reply
  16. Kristin  March 1, 2013 at 1:33 am

    To the author of this article and The Met. It has taken me a few days to calm myself enough to put my feelings into words about this article. Like Matt says above, personal attacks will certainly not get my point effectively across. Allow me to speak from the heart about why this was so painful to read. I serve as an officer on the Feminist Alliance. Coming into this organization, all our officers started new this semester. We began building our membership up and putting our passion towards a cause worth fighting for. A commonality, one that is common to almost anyone on this earth, is that we have been either direct victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, harassment, incest, and stalking. I have cried and laughed with these women, sharing the pain that we all know too well. This semester, after deliberation and struggling, we decided to focus on two events, One Billion Rising and Vagina Monologues. We struggled to promote and prepare for these, but knowing what these events represent kept us going through times of thinking none of this would come together. Women, for centuries, have been exploited and abused, their bodies treated as commodities. What is further horrifying, is that women have suffered in shame and silence, blaming themselves for the victimization. I have been a survivor of multiple incidences of violence. I suffered alone, ashamed, traumatized, and isolated in my pain. Hating my body.. hating my vagina. Eve Ensler, creater of The Vagina Monologues, created this play to feature the stories of REAL women that have lived through this. This is not a play for sheer entertainment, but the review of the production sure cut it down to nothing but that. The point is giving women a public outlet, some way to come out if the shadow of shame and say, enough!! I have personally sought out services at RAAP, the organization we chose and raised over $1,000 for during this SOLD OUT show. Going there helped me want to live again. To the author, what I want to say is, if you felt that horrified having to be “trapped” by the material of this film, please use your empathy and imagine being forced to LIVE with that feeling every day of your life. You got a platform to share your discomfort. Most women never will. This is why you are getting these responses. This show us designed exactly for those that do not have to know that pain. It’s designed to make you uncomfortable. The very problem is that, our society, IS comfortable dismissing our pain. My pain. The pain of our cast members. And the pain of any audience member there touched by violence. Shame on this newspaper for being so blindly dismissive to the outwardly sexist comments made. It is not the criticism of the technical difficulties, it’s the denial of how much this production meant to everyone involved. We are not going to sit back silently. Please understand that we will be working to hold the author of this article and your newspaper accountable.

    Reply
  17. Kristin  March 1, 2013 at 1:42 am

    To the author of this article and The Met. It has taken me a few days to calm myself enough to put my feelings into words about this article. Like Matt says above, personal attacks will certainly not get my point effectively across. Allow me to speak from the heart about why this was so painful to read. I serve as an officer on the Feminist Alliance. Coming into this organization, all our officers started new this semester. We began building our membership up and putting our passion towards a cause worth fighting for. A commonality, one that is common to almost anyone on this earth, is that we have been either direct victims of or have known someone that has been through domestic violence, sexual assault, harassment, incest, and stalking. I have cried and laughed with these women, sharing the pain that we all know too well. They say that anger is really just a secondary emotion that is usually covering up pain. Please understand that the angry comments you are getting are truely a reflection of people feeling pain being dismissed. This semester, after deliberation and struggling, we decided to focus on two events, One Billion Rising and Vagina Monologues. We struggled to promote and prepare for these, but knowing what these events represented kept us going through times of thinking none of this would come together. In times where we struggled to access funding we were rightfully entitled to, members even spent their own on things. Women, for centuries, have been exploited and abused, their bodies treated as commodities. What is further horrifying, is that women have suffered in shame and silence, blaming themselves for the victimization. I have been a survivor of multiple incidences of violence. I suffered alone, ashamed, traumatized, and isolated in my pain. Hating my body.. hating my vagina. Eve Ensler, creater of The Vagina Monologues, created this play to feature the stories of REAL women that have lived through this. This is not a play for sheer entertainment, but the review of the production sure cut it down to nothing but that. The point is giving women a public outlet, some way to come out of the shadow of shame and say, enough!! I have personally sought out services at RAAP, the organization we chose and raised over $1,000 for during this SOLD OUT show. Going there helped me want to live again. To the author, what I want to say is, if you felt that horrified having to be “trapped” by the material of this play, please use your empathy and imagine being forced to LIVE with that feeling every day of your life. You got to leave after an hour. Our trauma never leaves us alone, for our whole lives. You got a platform to share your discomfort. Most women never will. This is why you are getting these responses. This show is designed exactly for those that do not have to know that pain. It’s designed to make you uncomfortable. The very problem is that, our society, IS comfortable dismissing our pain. My pain. The pain of our cast members. And the pain of any audience member there touched by violence. Shame on this newspaper for being so blindly dismissive to the outwardly sexist comments made. It is not the criticism of the technical difficulties, it’s the denial of how much this production meant to everyone involved. We are not going to sit back silently. Please understand that we will be working to hold the author of this article and your newspaper accountable.

    Reply
  18. Captain Obvious  March 1, 2013 at 2:26 am

    How fitting that the comments of a review of The Vagina Monologues contains nothing but a bunch twats spouting off about misogyny and sexism. Would you all be saying the same things with such fervor if the review was written by a woman? No? What does that say about you?

    Reply
    • Alicia  March 1, 2013 at 11:24 am

      I for one would absolutely be reacting the same way if this article was written by a woman, the issue here is not the contents of someone’s underwear, it is belittling a serious problem in our culture. Women can be misogynists too.

      Reply
      • Allison Riley  March 1, 2013 at 11:45 am

        I second what Alicia said. It’s kind of childish to even mention that at this point.

        Reply
        • Jenn  March 1, 2013 at 11:56 am

          Hey Captain Obvious…we aren’t here to talk about us, we are here to talk about ALL WOMEN and the suffering we have endured collectively. And, at least we have the “balls” to use our real names. What are you scared of? A bunch of angry feminists screaming cunt and burning bras outside your window? I would still be pissed if a woman had written this, but maybe she would at least be willing to engage in a productive conversation.

          Reply
          • Captain Obvious  March 1, 2013 at 12:12 pm

            “I would still be pissed if a woman had written this, but maybe she would at least be willing to engage in a productive conversation.

            Prejudice
            — Preconceived opinion not based on reason or experience.

          • Mahdyeh  March 3, 2013 at 3:54 pm

            TO C.O’s comment below,

            “contains nothing but a bunch twats spouting off about misogyny and sexism.”

            Prejudice- preconceived opinion not based on reason or experience.

    • Mahdyeh  March 3, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      C.O.

      Please feel free to read my comment below as to why I find this article, this paper, and your comments directly worrisome and troubling.

      In Peace,

      Maddy

      Reply
  19. Alicia  March 1, 2013 at 11:41 am

    Yes, I performed in this production, no I’m not upset because we got a less than stellar review, I’m pleased with my performance, proud of my co-workers, and honored to have been part of such an incredible cast. We all know why we performed, and I think we can all say we accomplished what we intended to. All this aside, I’m upset because this review misrepresents the purpose behind the play, and could cause others to not see it, or not to take it seriously. This review furthers rape culture by saying the best way to handle these issues is by ignoring them, and that as a man he’s not the intended audience and therefore should not have to deal with these issues. As Kristin very poignantly said most women will never be given a platform to share their discomfort over having been violated, and it upsets me that while he has been given this platform, instead of raising awareness, the entire review was framed negatively, save for one sentence that the met and its reporter seem to be trying to use to justify an entire article of misogyny. If this writer is so sure he is not the intended audience, why was he the one chosen to write this article? I understand you can not match everyone perfectly to every assignment, but at this point I would rather have just not had a review. Which is honestly better? No review, or having infuriated a huge audience of your newspaper, and a boycott from a significant number of previously loyal readers?

    Reply
  20. Kristin  March 1, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    My question is: if this show is not meant for men, why were there other men there? Why have men been attending this event since it began? I invited my family, men included. Their perception greatly differed from the opinion of this article. And I agree, if you’re going to place comments, at least own what you’re saying and use your name.

    Reply
    • Marie Medina  March 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm

      This is not a binary Women/Men problem. We’re not upset with men. We’re upset with Y-O-U. You, the person who called us twats in the comment section. You, the gentlemen who wrote this review and who I am sure is an intelligent and reasonable and therefore able to take criticism. If you’re a journalist and you expect everyone to be head-over-heels about your work, you’re in the wrong profession.

      Like previous commenters said, there were a ton of men at our show: friends, family, allies, lovers. And even the men from AHEC who ran lights! All were there with open minds and hearts. But most importantly they were PRESENT. They were listening, internalizing, and having conversations with us on what the play was for and about. The people at The Met, the author of this article and some of the commentators are missing THE FUCKING POINT. This was a fundraiser. Not up for review. We’re not denying that our acting was less than Oscar worthy and we had technical issues up the ying-yang.

      And on another note, I’m super impressed that Captain Obvious owns a dictionary. Heaven knows all you have to do is spout a definition and all us twats just crawl back into the witch’s tit that gave birth to us.

      Reply
  21. Jenn  March 1, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    My “experience” based on years of working with women is that they are typically willing to engage in productive conversation, and my statement, you will see, said used the word “maybe”, so no go on the prejudice accusation, bud. Way to close replies and further solidify what I was trying to say. Thanks for quoting a dictionary…I couldn’t have found that definition without you, oh wait…here’s another:

    Twat: a woman’s sexual organs ◊Twat is an extremely offensive word in all of its uses and should be avoided. (courtesy of http://www.learnersdictionary.com/search/twat)

    Reply
  22. Jessica Sideways  March 3, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    An acquaintance of mine writes for the Metropolitan (not going to say in what capacity, as I don’t want to make her identity known) but she told me about this article and what was going down so I decided to read it, the comments and draw my own conclusions… flawed as they may be.

    Frankly, I see nothing wrong with the article. Could it have given a few points as to what the cast did right? Of course. However, I think that the author did nothing wrong for reviewing this performance and giving his honest opinion.

    Perhaps his opinion is skewed or inferior due to not having researched the nature of the performance to begin with… but if we limit attendance and opinions to those with an intimate knowledge of the piece, we will never make significant work towards fighting oppression and gender inequality. Not everyone attending the Vagina Monologues has seen the play before or has read what it’s about… should we really limit attendance to the play to those only in the know? Or how about dialogue regarding the play, so that we can explore privilege and how it impacts people?

    Reply
    • Mahdyeh  March 3, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      Jessica,
      Your last questions are precisely what many people are trying to get at when they are commenting about the nature of this article. I’d like to engage your questions a bit more with questions of my own.

      Without proper quotes to support his beliefs, without statistics or stories to back up his claims, and without any direct information about the play beyond a gross over generalization of it, how will people understand what impacts rape culture, or this play itself, has had on the community at large? Without a follow up article, a letter to the editor or any other form of coverage on the VMs how can anyone develop their understanding of the ways the play itself looks at privilege, oppression and gender inequality. How can a survivor of rape understand this is safe and supportive place to connect with other people who have survived such horrors when the author unintentionally supports the dominant belief that developing further into the truth behind rape culture is a “trap” and is “gruesome” and ultimately not something anyone…besides women…should be concerned with?

      You see biased beliefs can oftentimes perpetuate biased opinions. Without all of the facts, and both sides of the story, how can any consumer of this article make an informed decision on whether or not they should see the play in the future? Especially our male allies, who have been told the plays themselves are not for men directly by the author. Sure there were technical difficulties and the play may have seemed rocky, but the issue is the message of the play itself was lost among our authors ears and so was lost in his recap of the play itself. The issue is that he also perpetuated the idea that not everyone should see the play to understand the issues the play itself discussed.

      I am not saying an uninformed individual should not attend. What I am saying is there should be enough information on either side of the issue that when someone who knows nothing about this play picks it up, they walk away alittle more enlightened on the issues of privilege, gender inequality and rape in our society, not a belief the play sucks because of boots and microphones. They also are given enough information as to if they attended where their money would go, why people participate in these plays, and possibly how they attend one in the future…even if this showing wasn’t the greatest of all. I hope this helps!

      In peace,
      Mahdyeh

      Reply
  23. Mahdyeh  March 3, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    I have been waiting to express my opinion here until I saw what the Metropolitan staff would comment on, and had time to reflect on what other individuals have said regarding the matter. I have used all of this information to then formulate my own opinion on the matter which focuses more on the misrepresentation of the vagina monologues, the lack of accountability and responsibility from the paper itself and the negative implications a poorly written piece like this can have on the community at large.

    As mentioned by previous readers, the issues presented in this article are the misrepresentation of what the vagina monologues are and what impact they have had on the community. The author, as a journalist, failed to use all of the sources available to him to get accurate information on the VM and instead went off of his own personal biases and beliefs. He did minimal research into the history of the show, as represented in his short synopsis of why they began or why they exist, and did not approach any of the actresses, director or VM staff to get inside information. Who the show was dedicated to, who survivors were, any quotes from the piece to support his opinion or any facts/statistics that were trying to be pushed forward failed to make it into this final piece…and only piece of coverage on a show (after it was performed) even though it had high attendance and a major impact on and from the community. I understand this is an opinion piece by the author, but I ask, is an ignorant and uniformed opinion one that this paper feels comfortable in perpetuating?

    My second issue is with the lack of accountability and responsibility the paper has chosen to represent. Yes, we all have the freedom of speech and opinion….and yes, I mean we ALL do, not just journalists. To be conscious of what the media is doing and perpetuating is a responsibility each consumer has, as well as each producer. So I find it hard to stand behind a paper that believes hiding behind this freedom without taking into consideration the high levels of responsibility and accountability that should go hand in hand with such power as pertinent and necessary. The paper has not issued a formal apology from the author or editor for allowing a misinformed and highly offensive/biased piece to go out to the public. The paper has also not suggested a “letter to the editor” piece , or any other piece within the paper itself in the future where others can express their opinions on the piece written or the VMs themselves. Silencing others opinion to protect the papers image is in fact doing the exact opposite of what the paper would like….assuming the paper wants to keep readers, produce quality and accurate information, support people’s rights to freedom of speech and expression, and support its students in being media conscious and finding their own sense of agency.

    My final issue encompasses the impact the author of such a biased and misinformed piece can have, as well as the impact a paper which stands behind perpetuating ignorance and misinformation can have. For example, the person who commented under the hidden name, “Captain Obvious”, has used this article and the papers support of this article as a way to dehumanize, objectify and discriminate against others with harassment and offensive terms such as “twat”. It also helped perpetuate the belief that only women, which I assume C.O. meant when using the term “twat”, were the intended audience of performances which help bring rape culture to light and the mistreatment of women to light. You see, the author has found someone who believes they could not benefit from such a show because they cannot connect to it now and so objectification and mistreatment is still being perpetuated. His belittling of women in particular is being supported by articles such as this.

    With a real world example of the impact this article can have, and without a piece that that shows a well informed perspective, this paper has supported limiting speech and opinion, limiting accountability and responsibility of the media and has furthered the belief that women’s issues are just for women, and not a HUMAN RIGHTS issue. I will be using my voice on campus to bring to light these issues with our community and to stop reading the paper, as well as ask others to stop reading this paper, until some accountability and action has been taken by the author or the paper itself. I hope the editor, or author, will engage in conversation and own up to the negative impact biased information can have, and already has had on our community. I also hope they will correct the issue with information about what this cause was for. Thank you and I hope you take into consideration my opinions as much as you take into consideration the opinions of our staff.

    In Peace,

    Mahdyeh

    Reply
  24. Austin  March 18, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Wow. That escalated quickly.

    Reply
  25. Hunter  April 3, 2013 at 8:38 pm

    We should give the guy a little credit simply for going, especially if he went in blindly. Isn’t part of the goal of to monologues to destigmatize the word Vagina? Historically, the word alone would be enough to send most the other way, but times have changed, and continue to do so.
    There is a lot of venom directed at the author, who simply intended to give a theater review and all that that entails. If the lighting was bad, that’s just as fair to comment on as the sound.

    Maybe he got more than he bargened for, and maybe he learned something from this experiance and from your comments. You have to give him that chance.

    Reply

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