Northeastern feminist group puts on ‘The Vagina Monologues’


Photo courtesy Naqiya Motiwalla, Feminist Student Organization

FSO members perform readings from Eve Ensler 1996 play “The Vagina Monologues.”

Claire Wallace, news correspondent

Northeastern’s Feminist Student Organization, or FSO, put on “The Vagina Monologues” on March 1, an episodic play written by Eve Ensler in 1996 that is performed by theatre companies and activist groups nationwide. The monologues tell stories of women, their experiences, their relationships and their bodies.

“We do this every year,” said Julia Ellis, a second-year psychology and business administration combined major and member of FSO. “The point of ‘Vagina Monologues’ is to do it throughout the month of February and into March, and you’re supposed to donate to a local community charity that gives money to or helps women in need of shelter, protection, safety, just love.”

The monologues are part of a national V-Day campaign which fights to end violence against women.

“We do this as part of the national V-Day campaign, which is ‘Vagina Monologues’ and some other events that happen every year and all fundraise to support organizations in your local area,” said FSO co-president Sarah Weihl, a second-year human services and international affairs combined major.

The admission fee to the show was $8, with all proceeds going to Planned Parenthood of Boston. The event was in a Richards Hall classroom, and the club estimated a turnout of 50 people and raised over $350 in donations, Weihl said.

The production consisted of 14 readings from Ensler’s play, with FSO members performing pieces both solo and in groups. Topics ranged from abusive relationships, to the stigma around vaginas, to more light-hearted and comedic depictions of women of all ages, including a dialogue written by a little girl sharing her thoughts on vaginas.

FSO works all year for this performance, which has become a signature event for the organization. Club members transformed the classroom into a theatre space, hanging decorations like string lights and black curtains to create a theatre-like atmosphere. The group provided a table of snacks and refreshments for attendees.  

“This [performance] is so important because it was originally written to normalize women talking about their bodies,” Weihl said. “I think that’s still an important thing to do, and it’s a really great community-building event, and it is kind of a staple of our organization. We all really enjoy doing it.”

While FSO could choose to donate to any women’s organization in Boston, the group felt as though in the current political situation, Planned Parenthood was a fitting beneficiary for the club’s work.

“We decided to donate to Planned Parenthood because of the climate of our current administration and the lack of funding,” Ellis said. “They do so much more than just the controversial things, and we think that it’s a really important organization that’s actually making a huge impact.”

With more than 200 women initially interviewed as inspiration for Ensler to write her play, each one told her own unique story to be shared with “Vagina Monologue” watchers nationwide. Overall, the club viewed the show as a success, helping to raise money, normalize women’s issues in society and help many women overcome shame they may feel over their own bodies.  

“As a society we put down women, especially their body parts, and we objectify them and turn them sexual when in reality, it’s no one’s body but your own,” said Cameron Carlyle, a second-year political science major. “So it’s important to spread that message and get that out there.”