Vaginas headline Women’s History Month at Mesa
March 20, 2007
Filed under News
This year in March, Mesa College, along with the rest of the nation, will celebrate Women’s History Month. The events planned include the seminars on various issues relating to women, a display of student artwork featuring women, and the premier event, the presentation of “The Vagina Monologues” by students in the Women’s Studies program.
“The Vagina Monologues” began as a play by Eve Ensler in New York in the 1990s. It quickly became a national phenomenon and is an important part of the program at Mesa.
The play has garnered national attention recently when high school girls in a New York state high school were suspended for using the word “vagina” when reciting some of the play during a school performance.
“These are stories of women from the mouths of women that force us to look at women’s issues globally,” said to Christie Allred, an English professor and faculty advisor for the production. “The importance is that women’s issues be seen and taken seriously.”
First-time director, Christine McBrayer, a former theater major who now takes prerequisite classes for nursing, says “The Vagina monologues” covers a wide range of women’s issues.
As for the play’s title, McBrayer points out, “All the monologues discuss the vagina, but it goes way beyond that.”
She also says that the topics covered in the play are of interest to men. “Some of my guy friends have seen it and I think some of them appreciated it more than the women did.”
The controversial production, which consists of monologues discussing women’s issues and sexuality, is being held at Mesa on March 23 and 24 in the G-building. Tickets will be $10, and can be purchased in advance on campus or at the door.
One of the other events was a presentation by Dr. Sudata Debchaudhury of the Social Sciences department. She presented “Women, Power and Media in South Asia” highlighting the work of two activists in south Asia who have faced serious threats to their personal safety in their fight against abuse of women.
In 2001, Dr. Debchaudhury was one of the faculty who initiated the beginnings of Women’s History Month at Mesa College. “There seemed to be a need and demand for discussion about women’s history. We thought we would start in a small way,” Debchaudhury said.
That year, the first annual Women’s History Month schedule included four speakers, talking on topics as diverse as the sex trade in Nepal to the state of women’s studies in the curriculum to the experience of a Japanese woman during World War II internment.
When asked about why a separate month is necessary to highlight women’s history, she responded, “I’d like to think that this is not the one month only when we talk about women’s issues. My hope is that we will incorporate it into every day.”
Dr. Debchaudhury mentions a student who heard of the story of Aung San Suu Kyi, a female leader in Myanmar, who was democratically elected but denied her rightful position and placed under house arrest after the existing military government refused to accept the election results.
Her student was outraged by the story and became actively involved in the cause for justice. She got involved through a website devoted to the cause and got other students on campus organized to increase awareness of the injustice in Myanmar.
“These are the moments that are so important – that we are not just celebrating women’s history month, but impacting young minds, and that’s very, very rewarding,” said Debchaudhury.