Monologues make their way to OU

Performing in front of an audience is no problem for the members of the Women’s Issue Forum. Neither is talking about sensitive topics.

Nataisha Washington, a senior women’s integrative studies major, has performed in The Vagina Monologues at Oakland University for two years.

The monologues were written by Eve Ensler and are a collection of stories to celebrate and commemorate all the experiences associated with womanhood. Topics include everything from rape to menstruation to first sexual experiences.

“The monologues talk about vaginas in all types of aspects,” Washington said. “There’s one about abuse, embracing the word ‘cunt,’ and one called ‘My Happy Vagina.’ It’s very funny and fun. It’s something everyone can enjoy watching.”

Each year, the Women’s Issue Forum puts on the play as part of Women’s History Month in March. Other events include a women’s film festival and guest speakers on a variety of female-oriented issues.

Although the play is entirely performed by women, men are allowed and encouraged to participate in the backstage activities, including lighting and microphone set-up. Senior Todd Fitzsimmons, a sociology and anthropology major, has worked behind-the-scenes for  the show for the past two years.

Washington, president of the Women’s Issues Forum, said the show’s title often scares people away, but the show is something a wide variety of people can enjoy.

“It’s not something to be scared of just because of the name,” Washington said.

She said one of her most memorable experiences performing the show over the past two years has been when a group of women from a local church came to the show last March.

“It was this whole group of little old ladies just laughing at the stories and having a great time,” Washington said.

Washington said the church group was particularly exciting because one of the ladies won a large amount of condoms as part of a giveaway at the performance.

Proceeds from the event go toward a charity focused on women’s issues, including shelters, crisis centers, and programs to help teenage girls in need.

The play is also the basis for a nation-wide V-Day movement, which seeks to end incest, genital mutilation, rape and sexual slavery.

Anyone interested in getting involved with the show should stop by the GSC to speak with Melissa Pope or Washington.

“Everyone who comes to the show or works on it has a good time,” Washington said.