“Vagina” Isn’t a Dirty Word

Promotional poster for The Vagina Monologues
Promotional poster for The Vagina Monologues. Source: Bing Images

By Lauren Orr

I’ve been following Our Shared Shelf on Instagram since Emma Watson began promoting her #heforshe campaign. When I found out that Watson was the UN’s Women’s Goodwill Ambassador, I was not only happy, but impressed. I have always felt that Watson was a fantastic role model for young women all around the world, and not just because she played the intelligent and wonderful Hermione in all the Harry Potter films. I think she is an amazing role model because she graduated high school after filming all those movies and went to Brown and then graduated from there to go to the UN. On top of all of that, she has continued her acting career and maintained a very clean image (which shows that fame doesn’t affect people, but that people are responsible for their actions.) So, of course, bringing it back to my first statement, I thought that looking into Our Shared Shelf wouldn’t be that bad of an idea.

Our Shared Shelf is basically a gigantic feminist book club. On Goodreads.com, there are 167,663 people that are a part of the online forums and discussions. Every month or so, Watson and her team pick a feminist work to read, including Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou, and Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein.  The most recent work of choice was The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler, which is a play made up of monologues. The monologues are all from different stories about hundreds of women, talking about everything from sexual assault to orgasms, but the main focus of the book is the vagina and why it’s considered such a dirty thing. Most importantly, the book’s purpose is to make women realize that being a woman isn’t wrong, but actually a really freaking awesome and empowering experience. Continue reading ““Vagina” Isn’t a Dirty Word”


From Backseat Feminist to Activist


A photo of myself speaking at the Idaho Against Hate demonstration in Moscow, ID

By: Paola Aguilar

This time last year, I was finishing my first Women’s and Gender Studies class and had learned so much about things I never knew about. I went into the class thinking I was fairly well-versed about the issues surrounding people within different intersections of identities and came out realizing how much I needed to learn. While I’ve always felt strongly about the things I believe in, I never wanted to go to demonstrations or start any sort of movement on campus for fear of stirring things up or making changes in places where I thought were not all that necessary.

After that first class, I studied feminist theory and started reading the news as often as possible. I was getting a more in-depth look at different aspects of feminism while reading in the news about unarmed African-Americans dying as a result of police brutality, about women being sexually assaulted on college campuses and being ignored, and about a presidential candidate who said women who have abortions should be punished. By the end of the Spring 2016 semester, I was fed up with the state of things in our country and decided I would take even small opportunities to do what I could to make a difference and positive changes in my community.

Continue reading “From Backseat Feminist to Activist”

Vagina Monologues: Still Making a Difference 22 Years Later

Image with text “The Vagina Monologues”

By: Paola Aguilar

When I first went to see The Vagina Monologues, I had no idea what to expect. I should not have been surprised to find that it was a collection of monologues about vaginas. The Vagina Monologues was first written in 1994 by Eve Ensler and is based on dozens of interviews. The play addresses issues with sexuality, rape, and violence against women. What is so powerful about TVM is not only the array of topics which are openly addressed, but the contributions the production makes to the V-Day campaign. The movement was established on Valentine’s Day in 1998 in New York City. The mission of V-Day is to end violence to women and girls around the world. As part of V-Day, proceeds from The Vagina Monologues are directed to local organizations that work to end violence against women and girls. Here in Moscow, the production of TVM benefits Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse.

Continue reading “Vagina Monologues: Still Making a Difference 22 Years Later”

The Dreaded C-Word

I was 14 and thought that SNL was the peak of comedy, especially during presidential races. Although I was an avid McCain supporter at the time, I couldn’t help but laugh at the Palin skits. Everyone was raving about them and I had to be a part of the fun. Sarah_Palin_by_Gage_Skidmore_2.jpg
My mother, however, was not so amused. She tsked and snorted at every joke lobbed Palin’s way that challenged her intelligence and credibility. “I can’t stand how awful everyone is to her.” She finally complained.
“Did you see the t-shirts that were made about her?” My father asked.
“No, why?”
He sighed and said, “On the radio, they were talking about how a bunch of liberals are now wearing t-shirts that say ‘Sarah Palin is a
c-word… CONSERVATIVE.’”.

My mom gasped and shook her head. “Wow. Real nice.”
“I don’t get it.” I chimed in. “What are they actually referring to?”
Before my dad could respond, my mom snapped, “It’s one of the worst things you can call a woman.”
I was shocked. “Really? What is it?”
“I don’t even like saying it. No one should ever be called it.”
My dad finally pulled me to the side and informed me of the dreaded word. And I held very tightly to the idea that it was a word that should never be spoken.

I’m not really sure what made me change my mind within the past year or so—maybe it was exposure to it in music and writing. Maybe it was during a senior thesis about how quickly language changes and the power and influence that comes with these changes. Or maybe it was my gender communication courses that made me question why the nastiest insults are directed towards women.


What is it about that word that brings me (and many others) so much satisfaction, yet is still one of the most taboo words of today.
Continue reading “The Dreaded C-Word”

Losing my Vagina Monologues V-Card

By Madison Griffin 

The UI Women's Center presents The Vagina Monologues

As the Vagina Monologues celebrates its 20th birthday in 2016, many people are asking—is the play still relevant to women today?

The Women’s Center at the University of Idaho will be performing its 14th annual production of the Vagina Monologues this year. The show caps off our Body Positive Week—running from Thursday through Saturday at the Kenworthy Theater downtown. Tickets can be purchased at the door or (for a little less) in advance at the Women’s Center or at Eclectica—in the Safari Pearl Comic Shop on 3rd and Jefferson. The money raised from ticket purchases will go to benefit Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse, which works to support survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Latah and Whitman Counties.

Check out the show February 18th-20th at 7 pm.

Whether you’re a “Vagina Monologues-Virgin” like myself, or a Vagina Monologues-Veteran, the show still has something to offer. It acts as a rite of passage for many women in college, it benefits a local nonprofit, it brings awareness to the worldwide problem of sexual violence, and it unites women globally through campaigns such as One Billion Rising.

Continue reading “Losing my Vagina Monologues V-Card”

The Vagina Monologues returns to the University of Idaho

Aaron W. California

History of V-Day

What is V-Day, why support it, and how did it get started? According to V-Day.org, “one in six American women [are] the victim of an attempted or completed rape”. Eve Ensler is just one of the millions of women around the world who are the victim of rape, incest, or violence. In 1994, Ensler performed the Vagina Monologues in New York City for the first time The Vagina Monologues is a play originally written and performed by Ensler that recounts her experience, as well as those of other women, with rape and violence against women. Much to Ensler’s surprise, the Vagina Monologues has grown into part of a worldwide non-profit organization that seeks to raise funds for local organizations working to stop violence against women. The original play Ensler performed has been translated into many different languages and is performed by women in communities around the world. This year, the Vagina Monologues and V-Day will be coming to the University of Idaho. Five events, with your involvement and attendance, will be held on the U of I campus or in the city of Moscow to help raise awareness for violence against women.

V-Men Work Shop: February 04, 2014

Women are not the only ones who can make a valuable contribution to stopping the violence against women. Although the majority of those who are raped, or who experience other forms of sexual assault, are women, 3% of those who experienced attempted or total rape in the U.S. in 2013 were men. The purpose of the V-Men Workshops is to inspire men to become active in the V-Day movement to end violence against women and men. In this active workshop, it is anticipated that deep and meaningful conversations will inspire men to take an active role in ending violence against women, as well as men.

The Vagina Monologues: February 6th-8th

The culminating event of the V-Day movement will be the live production of The Vagina Monologues right here in Moscow, Idaho. From February 6th to the 8th, the University of Idaho Women’s Center will be hosting a production of The Vagina Monologues at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center at 7:00pm. The performance is based on Eve Ensler’s production of The Vagina Monologues. Performances will include live dramatic retellings of stories that address issues facing women today, including rape, incest, and female sexuality. The proceeds generated from the event

will go towards ending violence against women in the local community. Tickets can be purchased for $12 at the University of Idaho Women’s Center for $12 or at the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center for $18.

The Vagina Monologues Talk-Back: February 12, 2014

We all hope and anticipate you will fall in love with and be inspired by The Vagina Monologues. After the amazing performance of The Vagina Monologues, viewers will get the unique opportunity to talk one-on-one with members of the cast, the director, and other crew members of the play. The public will be given the opportunity to voice their opinions on the production, constructive criticism is also welcomed. The event will take place at 12:30 p.m. on February 12th in the Whitewater room in the Idaho Commons.

Free screening of “What I Want My Words To Do To You”: February 19th

Eve Ensler takes audience members into the lives of women serving time behind bars for various crimes, many of which involve murder. It is unfortunate that some women see killing their abuser as the only way to stop the violence they have been experiencing. The film “What I Want My Words To Do To You” focuses on the stories of 15 women in the New York Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. These women participated in a workshop put on by Ensler to retell their crimes and give insight into how these women see their lives developing in the future. In the film audience members will watch as the inmates perform plays that represent their personal lives in prison and what they imagine the world will be like for them after they leave.