“A space where vulnerability is more freeing than frightening” was Cara Mackenzie’s impression of her second Vagina Monologues Writing Workshop. Inspired by Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues,” the writing workshop was hosted last week by this year’s student-led cast and production team. The workshop was open to individuals of all genders and backgrounds.
An intimate gathering, the workshop allowed cast and community members to share personal writing and thoughts about feminist topics. Participants discussed themes such as masturbation, queerness, gender-based violence, menstruation and their childhood and adolescent conceptions of sex and sexuality.
Third-year student Mackenzie emphasized the importance of community discussions about feminist topics.
“I think sharing personal experiences in almost any setting is valuable because it enables community building to occur around those shared or similar experiences,” she said. “That is doubly so for feminist topics because it allows us to validate one another and grow stronger together as we unify around our experiences.”
In the same way that important discussions about vaginas are often neglected, most people do not allot enough time to personal writing, according to fourth-year student Sally Faulkner.
“[Through the writing process] largely immaterial thoughts that are about actual problems and actual joys become real things that can be translated to other people,” Faulker said, emphasizing how writing can raise awareness and increase solidarity.
The workshop helped individuals unravel their personal stories that might otherwise be left unheard and undeveloped.
“[The workshop] was a good opportunity to deliberately sit down and work through ideas and issues that are easily left unthought or un-interrogated with myself,” said third-year student Shannon Power, elaborating on how writing can function as a therapeutic tool. Power is also a co-producer and cast member of this year’s Vagina Monologues production.
Maddie Hayman, a first-year student, discussed the relevance of the writing process as an actor in this year’s production of the Vagina Monologues. Hayman said writing about personal experiences “allowed me to think about what the stories in the script must mean to the women who told them, which has given me a much greater understanding and passion for this project.”
Some of the works created during the workshop are included in this story and will be featured during the production happening this Friday and Saturday at The Vogue. We invite you to come and be a part of what Faulkner describes as “a brief community about vaginas.”
“[We] can’t have enough of those,” she said.