By Q1 of 2016, I have almost achieved few of my bucket lists. I desperately wanted to attend “The 3rd International Congress on Women’ Health and Unsafe Abortion” and advocated for “Working Together Towards Global Safe Abortion.” Similarly presented my poster presentation on “Use of social media: Engage youth and SRH” in most awaited youth conference “8th Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health Rights” in Myanmar. At the end of the Q1, on the occasion of International Women’s Day I attended “Vagina Monologues” – यौनिका कुराहरु. I had watched the vagina monologues in 2013 during first youth advocacy institute organized by Asia Safe Abortion Partnership. It was in Hindi and I am unable to share to what extend I wanted to experience the theater on Vagina Monolgues in Nepali.
Vagina Monologues (योनिका कथाहरू) is a play produced by Madalenas Nepal and contains monologues of women revolving around their sexuality, positive and negative experiences, violence, abuse, struggle and realization. The play will be in Nepali and English. The play is going to performed on the occasion of celebration of VDAY worldwide to oppose all forms of violence against women.
The play had been staged at Mandala Theater, Anamnagar from Feb 02 to Feb 04, 2016 celebrating the V- Day in February with a huge response from audiences.
This time, to celebrate International Women’s Day on 08.03.2016 – Vagina Monologues staged at the Rato Bangala School in Patandhoka encompassing 400 spectators. This special screening was free of cost.
The Vagina Monologues is a script written by US-play writer Eve Ensler after interviewing approximately 200 women and girls about their view on sex, relationships and violence against women. To our knowledge it is the third time that the Monologues are being staged in Nepal and the first time that the majority of the script is translated into Nepali.
I got goosebumps when the performers started with “What would your vagina say if it could talk? … What would it wear?” I looked around when they delivered their dialogue- talking about the difficulties of “checking out their vaginas.” When they were done twisting their bodies, they stated over three dozen euphemisms for “vagina” which included, but were not limited to: “poonani, coochie, nappy dugout, vulva, monkey box, pussycat,” and an array of other less familiar terms. I believe the play is successful because of its comedic touch. It discusses sensitives topics in a funny, non-threatening and non-blaming way.
Each of the monologues deals with an aspect of feminine experience and touching on matter such as sex, love, rape, mestruation, masturbation, birth, orgasm and violence. These all are very sensitive issues of women. We do not want to be vocal about this but we all experience it. Our experiences are different. The difference is showcased in the play with message “knowing your body loving your body”. The play my own mother language was empowering. It empowered much on being comfortable talking about my VAGINA in my own native language. I love the line saying, “आफु संग राइफल हुदा हुदै किन पिस्तोल खोज्ने” directing to female masturbation linking it to being social taboo.
Another monologue which I like the most is the Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy, in which a sex worker for women discusses the intriguing details of her career and her love of giving women pleasure. In several performances it often comes at the end of the play, literally climaxing with a vocal demonstration of a “triple orgasm”.
And it continues with another series- Because He Liked to Look At It, in which a woman describes how she had thought her vagina was ugly and had been embarrassed to even think about it, but changed her mind because of a sexual experience with a man named Ajay who liked to spend hours looking at it.
The most exhilarating part is, no kidding, the extremely virtuosic way with a series of orgasmic moans…When I watched this section in Mumbai, the actress performed the series of orgasmic moans with respect to women of different caste and culture. I never thought the Nepali actresses would perform the same in Nepali style.
The performers and their performances break the taboos by talking, talking and talking some more—stripping fear and shame from what they celebrate about their body. It makes for quite a party. Funny, outrageous, emotionally affecting, and occasionally angry…The Vagina Monologues confront words to demystify and disarm them. In so doing, The performances disarm the audience too.
I am hoping in near future we could tie up this performance with ABORTION experience of women in Nepal. Hope I could facilitate this play on 28th September, Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion.