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EFFECT brings taboos to the stage: Elon student organization produces ‘The Vagina Monologues’

April 19, 2010

PDF version available here: V monolouges

Vagina. You’re allowed to say it.

“Vagina has been a taboo,” said Edith Veremu, a freshman at Elon University and member of the new student organization, Elon Feminists For Equality, Change and Transformation. “People are afraid of the word. Most people are afraid of acknowledging it.”

Photo Credit: Randomhouse profile of Eve Ensler

In honor of V-Day, Feb. 14, EFFECT is sponsoring a production of “The Vagina Monologues” by Eve Ensler.

“The V stands for victory, valentine and vagina,” explained Veremu.

In “The Vagina Monologues” the nurturing mother cannot be found. The submissive woman has been erased. Instead, feminism ahs claimed the stage.  In order for any campus to perform “The Vagina Monologues,” students must produce a minimum of three shows. EFFECT hopes to raise awareness about the violence against women through this play. “The Vagina Monologues” consists of more than 20 monologues, some including replicated orgasms and violet recounts of sexual relations.

“We believe in EFFECT that we should all work together to stop violence,” Veremu said.

While the student organization works to fight injustice, the group faces some adversity from those weary of the term feminism and the message of “The Vagina Monologues.”

According to Veremu, The Catholic Campus Ministry described the play as “vulgar” and “favorable toward lesbian seduction.”

Campaign to end violence against women. Credit: V-Day organization webpage

She said misconceptions discourage individuals from identifying themselves as feminists and joining the cause.

“Originally I didn’t want to be labeled a feminists,” said Veremu. “When people think of feminism they think of riots, bra-burners and man-haters. That is not what feminism is.”

In order to combat this misconception, this Elon freshman devised her own definition.

“The belief in gender equality and that no gender should have the upper hand- that is my definition of feminism,” she said.

The term is not reserved for females, either.

“Feminists are not only women,” Veremu explained. “There are men who consider themselves feminists.”

With the guidance of Eve Ensler, numerous men created the “V-Men,” modeled after “The Vagina Monologues.”  The “V-Men” constitutes stories of violence against men from a male perspective. Veremu recalls hearing one story by a man whose sisters and mother were abused. She also described a feminists’ literary magazine on campus titled “Undressed” that contains submissions from males.

“(Feminism) still has a negative connotation, but we need to break down barriers,” Veremu said. “We’re just taking baby steps.”

The Elon University production of “The Vagina Monologues” will be staged at 4 p.m. Sunday, Valentine’s Day, in Yeager Recital Hall in the Center for the Arts Building.

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