Six years ago I first started to understand the Vagina Monologues sensation while studying abroad at an English university. It was thanks to two lovely ladies who I befriended and who invited me to their rehearsals for the campus V-Day performance that year. I was intrigued and going through a period of introspection so I became involved, mentally, from a sideline.
Since I watched the performance that year and started learning more about the whole deal, I decided I really wanted to be a part of it one day. Every year I’d hear about performances too late to join; I wasn’t involved in anything womyn-like so I guess I just never got the memos (although – do note, and back me up if you know what I’m talking about – the Vagina Monologues is not very womyn-oriented and is way more down-to-earth than that). Well, instead, I brought friends to other performances I knew about on my campus.
Anyway, I finally got my chance to participate – this year. As a pregnant woman. In my eighth-and-a-half month. Doing the monologue of a young girl (for a little irony).
It was a personal challenge; I actually never announced to anyone until the past week that I was doing it. I’m not an actress. I really just wanted somehow to be connected to this project at some point. Aside from the sideline. So I took it on and I’m really satisfied that I did. Discovered in England, evangelized in the States and then performed in Israel.
For promotion-sake, BaMatMaBat is the ‘experimental theater company’ that is running the show; there was one event in Tel Aviv on Monday and then last night in Jerusalem. A third one is scheduled for this Saturday night in Jerusalem. I’m very proud of the organizers for managing packed audiences both nights so far. I’m also proud that the Jerusalem performance included a very diverse audience – diverse, foremost, in age of the viewers. I sensed the older women laughing hardest.
I guess I haven’t explained why I wanted to take on this ‘personal challenge’ and what it actually means to me. When I first saw the show back then, I didn’t even know how much – or that I had at all – conflicted feelings connected to womanhood, sisterhood, vaginas, femininity and being a Jewish female. This triggered an exploration of self that I never expected to get out of a semester abroad in England but am still glad I got to experience. I became able to express so much: Why I feel positive about being a Jewish female in a male-dominated religious world. How I viewed my sexuality and what I was willing to accept and could never allow. How I’m not alone in a world that is actually filled with vaginas. That underneath a lot of gender insecurity, there will always be women who I can connect to and love.
Being pregnant as I took this on, I felt it was a great way to connect to my baby, too. I don’t know its gender, but if it’s a boy I do hope that perhaps some of this energy has seeped into its unborn spirit and he can learn a kind of respect and peace for his opposite sex. If it’s a girl, well… I just hope she’ll have the confidence, self-worth and love it takes to be part of the happy, gender-satisfied vagina-folk of the world.
And for those interested in reading more:
The Jerusalem Post article