Some say they smell like flowers, sweet ginger, fish, Earth, wet garbage, a brand-new morning. Some are timid, clammy and wear tutus.
Others are angry and favor black lace and combat boots and would-if they could-wear pink boas. A number of them are hurt, ashamed and lifeless. Many have been raped, physically, mentally, emotionally.
Most long to be free.
But vaginas seldom are.
Mothers, grandmothers, daughters, men. For centuries they have put them down, clipped their life, their voice, their sense of self. They have gagged them, punished them, beat them senseless. They have instilled fear, shame and hatred of this paradisiacal depth.
Enter Eve Ensler and hundreds of women from around the globe who have used their vagina’s to liberate themselves. In the process, they have not only revealed part of their essence, but urged women to do the same and assert the freedom they have long been denied.
In the latest local rendition of Ensler’s provocative masterpiece, The Vagina Monologues, a dozen of University of Miami women breathed life into the lives and times of vaginas from all over the world.
Theirs were the voices of childhood innocence, fresh teenage vaginas, mutilated African clitorises, raped Bosnian villagers, battered Afghans, and 70-year-olds who finally discover the lustful wonders of their once-stagnant sexual abyss.
The actresses were all outstanding. Staying true to Ensler’s women, UM’s vaginas embodied the women’s stinging wit, sweetness, forcefulness, tenderness, anger, fear, excitement and irreproachable crudeness.
Coupled with Ensler’s flowing and often-gritty monologues of repressive mothers, bizarre lovers, self-hatred, embarrassing sexual encounters, vengeful violations, lust, and rebirth, their performances empowered, gave hope, and helped heal.
These women effortlessly infused energy and rhythm, “down there” and everywhere else. They forced you to think, feel their vaginal frustration and challenge the male and female stereotypes that have long oppressed the forbidden fruit.
They were playful, humorous and demanding. Find me. Lick me. Embrace me, one said hoarsely. Whoah, Mama, moaned another. Enter at your at your own risk. Slow down, demanded another.
Some were enraged: My vagina is angry. It is. It is pissed off…An army of people out there thinking up ways to torture my poor-ass, gentle, loving vagina..Spending their days constructing psycho products and nasty ideas to undermine my pussy. Vagina motherf******.
Others poked fun at women’s squeamish contemplation of their inner selves.
And they also disturbed.
One of the most stirring and chilling performances was that of the student who portrayed the Bosnian woman who was repeatedly raped during the war in Yugoslavia in 1993:
My vagina singing all girl songs, all goat bells, ringing songs, all wild autumn field songs, vagina songs, vagina home songs.
Not since the soldiers put a long thick rifle inside me. So cold, the steel rod canceling my heart. Don’t know whether they’re going to fire it or shove it through my spinning brain. Six of them, monstrous doctors with black masks shoving bottles up me too. There were sticks, and the end of a broom.
The funniest performance? It’s a tie: The celebration of c**** and the uplifting orgasmic choir.
UM’s rendition of Ensler’s Monologues was delightful. These women are trailblazers, brave and gentle soldiers, treading a sensitive, verboten path many are afraid to explore.
These vociferous coochies intend to be free, and in their trek are sources of inspiration-for women and men.