Video by Brittany Doohan
In honor of V-Day, SF State women are proving to peers that they can stand up to violence.
Knuth Hall hosted the first of two performances Tuesday of “The Vagina Monologues” to educate students and stop violence against women and girls in celebration of V-Day, a global movement to spark events that will raise awareness, funds, and give new life to pre-existing anti-abuse programs.
The Eve Ensler classic, which will have an encore performance tonight as well, is produced and directed by Karla Castillo and junior broadcast major Alyse Allain, respectively. And even in her opening introduction of the show, Allain stresses how important it is to be aware of violence against women.
“’The Vagina Monologues’ is not just a play; it’s a movement,” Allain said. “We hope this event will make you laugh, cry, get excited about being a part of the movement because everyone’s active participation is needed.”
Nikki DeGuzman, a graduating senior and communications major who performs under the stage name Charlee Holden, presents a piece not originally in the play titled “The Memory of Her Face,” an optional spotlight piece regarding women in Baghdad. She said that the message of the play is an awareness of the vagina.
“It’s a positive message that it is OK to look at your vagina, to have a vagina and that regardless of all the stigmas and what is acceptable … women have them,” DeGuzman said. “We have the right to talk about it, we have the right to be proud of it and we have the right to share our stories.”
Allain said that this year’s SF State performance of “The Vagina Monologues” is not only an informational or advocacy piece, but also a piece that makes its own unique decisions for entertainment value.
“This version of the play has more costuming and props and more emphasis on the characters,” Allain said. “I loved the one that they did last year, but this one is more focused on entertainment. It appeals to women, activists, sex workers – but this one is more fun, it’s educational and is also a lot of laughs.”
According to The Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, 1 in 6 women will fall victim to sexual abuse, with sexual abuse occurring every two minutes. V-Day and the presentation of the Vagina Monologues is an attempt to squelch this statistic.
Funds from the performance will support San Francisco Women Against Rape, and Women and Girls in Haiti, along with other SF State organizations such as The SAFE Place, Student Health Services, PEACH, ASI Women’s Center, ASI EROS, and Delta Omicron Chi.
With funds benefiting such a variety of groups, this effort shows the importance of ending sexual violence not only to SF State students but also the global community.
Performer Deirdra Bridgett, an SF State health education major and human sexuality minor, hopes that the message of empowerment is effective for SF State students and women alike, promoting action in the face of disparity.
“My message that I take away from this piece is that you have to fight for your message,” Bridgett said. “It may be happy, it may be sad, but there cannot be the blanket over the eyes of the people anymore.”
Allain concludes by echoing the messages of empowerment and strength essential to the piece’s message.
“This performance is definitely about female empowerment, taking the demeaning actions and shoving them back,” Allain said. “We are here and we are not quiet.”
The Vagina Monologues will be presented at SF State April 13 at 7 p.m. with $5 (preorder) and $8 (at the door) for students, and $10 (preorder) and $15 (door) for the general public.