Shannon

Vaginas (and vagina supporters!) are taking over the Capitol!

Let’s just start with the word vagina.

Vagina.

It sounds like an infection at best.

Maybe a medical instrument.

“hurry, nurse, bring me the vagina.”

Vagina.

Vagina.

-excerpt from “Introduction”, The Vagina Monologues

For those of you that know me in person (or IRL in internet speak!) you know how much Eve Ensler’s play The Vagina Monologues has impacted my life. I have been an outspoken advocate for the V-Day movement and this play since high school, even taking the plunge to become an actress in the MSU production for three years of my college career, then directing upon my return to Lansing in 2007. 

To me, being a Vagina Warrior has been a very significant and life changing experience. I was introduced to the movement my Junior year of high school by an amazing feminist World Studies teacher and Debate/Forensics Coach. This teacher brought awareness around women’s rights to the classroom by helping us suburban, upper-class teenagers break out of our bubble and realize that we are privileged- that women around the world are suffering, whether it be from domestic violence, sexual assault, or female genital mutilation. And most importantly, that we do not discuss such matters in our society. It was then that I realized I am a feminist. I owe that teacher a lot, and I consider him a dear friend to this day. (Hey, Tom!)

Taking a bow after a performance of The Vagina Monologues

After graduating, I moved on to college, taking up a minor in Women and Gender Studies, and diving head first into the V-day movement, auditioning for a role in the MSU production of The Vagina Monologues. To my surprise, I was cast and have never looked back!

I immediately realized just how many of the absolutely amazing women I was involved in the play with had been sexually assaulted by friends, family, acquaintances or strangers. I listened to these women, who had become close friends of mine, share stories of abuse in their relationships. We shared our stories of embarrassment and shame over our vaginas in the past, being that in our mainstream culture vaginas are taboo, and everything to do with them- menstruation, sex, reproductive health, contraception, violence/abuse, hair, and pleasure- is taboo and not to be discussed in public. However, we live with and experience these things and our vaginas every minute of every day. This did not seem right. In fact, it seemed damn right ludicrous to me that we women were ashamed of our body parts, and avoided discussing our vaginas and our experiences as women at all costs! I became angry. Then I did something. I became a Vagina Warrior, and have not stopped spreading the word and doing my part ever since.

So you see, this is why the recent and embarrassing news of two courageous women

Celebrating vaginas in New Orleans for the 10th Anniversary of V-day!

legislators in our state being denied speaking privileges on the floor of our House Legislative Sessions, due to speaking out on behalf of other women, and in one case saying the word vagina, is so appalling to me. The male Speaker of the House is in essence punishing Rep. Lisa Brown for, in the statement given by a spokesperson for Michigan Speaker James Bolger, “comments and actions yesterday that failed to maintain the decorum of the House of Representatives.” The comments and action that were so outrageous was using the term “vagina”, the very body part that the legislation Rep. Brown was speaking out against affects! (For more details on this, check out this Rachel Maddow clip!)

This just goes to show that our GOP led government in the state is not only going as far as to dictate women’s bodies and health, but what they say as well! And evidently, I am not the only one who is angry about this.

The creator of The Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler, is flying to our state Capitol on Monday, June 18th to help us take our Capitol back! She, along with many female state representatives, will be performing the play and taking part in a mass protest! And you should be there! Gathering for the event starts at 5 p.m., with a performance beginning at 6 p.m.

Lansing, this is HUGE!

I will be there, with my vagina shirt on, ready to cheer on my sisters, and take back the Capitol for the women of this state! Check out the Facebook event for more details and I hope to see many of you on the Capitol lawn tomorrow!

*If you cannot make it in person, but want to follow the happenings in real time via twitter, follow the hashtag #sayvagina!

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