WRRC-sponsored show will feature student-written and performed pieces on the topic of gendered experiences.
Vagina* OurStories, an annual production inspired by Eve Enseler’s “The Vagina Monologues,” will take place at the Davis Veterans Memorial Theatre during the weekend of Feb. 27. The Women’s Resources and Research Center (WRRC) sponsors the annual event, which allows performers and audience members to engage with topics that are often considered to be taboo, such as gendered violence. The experience of discussing what is often unmentionable is cathartic and empowering for both audience members and performers.
The performance includes female-identified people who hope to share their gendered experiences with others, allowing themselves a moment of empowerment and healing. Though Vagina* OurStories has been an annual campus event for quite some time, the name of the performance has gone through a few changes in the last few years to make it more inclusive for non-binary and Trans* folks. According to the Facebook event page, the asterisk was added with the intention of making both the event title and the space more visibly inclusive to folks with marginalized genders or identities, not just those who have vaginas.
Camille Iman, a fourth-year English major, performed her own piece in Vagina* OurStories two years ago and is a co-director of this year’s show. When asked about the name of the performance, Iman explained that “Vagina” is used as a tool of empowerment.
“When people talk about the penis or ‘male’ genitalia, it is used in everyday culture. It is not stigmatized in the same way; it doesn’t get the same reaction as the ‘feminine’ genitalia,” Iman said. “So they named the show Vagina* OurStories to put the show in the light of that stigma and to say that [it is the same] around marginalized genders and marginalized bodies. The show is here to address this stigma, to give people access to healing around those stories and to raise awareness on these topics.”
Bernadette Fox, a fourth-year gender, sexuality and women’s studies and international relations double major, used Vagina* OurStories to aid in her own transitionary period, as she adjusted to being a transfer student at UC Davis and learned to address and find empowerment in her gendered experiences.
“[Vagina* OurStories] was a transformative, healing and emotional process for me. Knowing that process for me was also overlapping with other people that were having the same experience and going through the same process was very empowering,” Fox said. “The whole weekend of performing was kind of like everybody’s chance to put it all out there for the community and the crowd, but also for ourselves. We got to show everyone everything what we, personally, had been working through.”
Georgia Savage, a third-year political science and gender, sexuality and women’s studies double major, has been involved with Vagina* OurStories for two years now. Savage feels strongly that the performances are positive and empowering experiences for both the performers and audience members.
“People do not get the opportunity to speak about these issues. It is not socially acceptable to just bring up sexual violence or just bring up sex positivity every day,” Savage said. “All these people want to do, the only reason they are there, is because they have been ignored and have not been able to voice their stories. I think you can really make an impact simply by listening.”
Vagina* OurStories is, at its very heart, a community-building event. The performance is powerful in its originality; the performers are real people who have experienced real events, and are discussing them in front of hundreds of people.
Tickets for the performance can be purchased at the WRRC in North Hall as well as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual Resource Center (LGBTQIARC) on a sliding scale of $5 to $10. You can attend a showing at Davis Veterans Memorial Theatre on Feb. 26 from 6 to 8 p.m., or on Feb. 27 from 2 to 4 p.m. or 6 to 8 p.m. More information can be found at the Facebook event page.
WRITTEN BY: Sara Williams – firstname.lastname@example.org