Different meaning to V-Day

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Feb 052004
 
Authors: Marika Krause

Are you excited? I know I am. Anxious, even. How can we not be?

There are reminders of it everywhere. It’s just over a week until

the day things I’d rather forget but must confront are proudly

expressed by the masses. And no, it’s not that I’m single. And no,

it’s not Valentines Day.

In 1998, Feb. 14 became the day where we demanded that violence

must end.

“When all women live in safety, no longer fearing violence or

the threat of violence, then V-day will be known as Victory over

Violence Day,” proudly proclaims V-day’s Web site.

Despite the necessity of confronting the harsh reality of

violence against women, V-day actually has a pretty uplifting and

empowering story behind it – one that I am happy to share with

you.

Let’s go way back to 1998, when Spice World rocked the planet

for girls and adolescent boys alike, Justin Timberlake was just

experimenting with ripping off his own clothing in front of large

audiences and, ironically, Britney Spears’ “Hit Me, Baby One More

Time” topped Billboard charts, providing young girls in Catholic

schoolgirl outfits everywhere with an anthem.

Fortunately, in this atmosphere that so blatantly expected women

to be sexual for the pleasure of others, a one-woman show was

challenging the norm. Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” was

gaining popularity and acclaim for allowing women to say the

dreaded v-word aloud – vagina – but more importantly for reclaiming

their own sexuality.

It was something many people hadn’t even thought about before.

Have you? The hypocrisy in a society that will air a video like

“Hit Me, Baby One More time” on the Disney Channel but is afraid to

utter the technical name of an anatomical body part.

Eve Ensler wasn’t afraid to talk about vaginas. In fact, Ensler

wasn’t afraid to shout it, over and over and over again. But this

story is not about Ensler.

This story is about the millions of women who were awakened by

Ensler’s play. The play is based off interviews of women across the

globe. There are stories of rape, violence, incest and genital

mutilation, but there are also stories of men who appreciate and

respect women, and women empowering themselves.

Millions of women have come forth with their stories since being

inspired by “The Vagina Monologues.” Ensler has described it as a

“Vagina Miracle.” And Ensler made the commitment in 1998 to harness

that power, making Valentine’s Day V-day “until the violence

stops.”

CSU is even playing a role in this movement. The Lory Student

Center Theatre will host the show Feb. 14 and 15. All proceeds will

go CSU’s Office of Women’s Programs and Studies to enlightening

programming through the year.

“There’s still a lot of awareness that needs to be raised about

what women go through. It’s not only personal, but interpersonal.

You gain insight into the experience of others,” says Frances

Southwick, co-director, co-producer and performer in the “Vagina

Monologues.”

“The Vagina Monologues” are difficult to describe as anything

but an experience – an experience that has this V-day participant

excited for more than just “Be mine” sweethearts this Valentine’s

day.

Marika is on the board of Women’s Programs and Studies. She is

the news director for KCSU.

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