GirlTalk, hosted by Lick-Wilmerding Organization of Women (LWOW), is a collection of monologues written and spoken anonymously with themes of feminism and girl power. They are to be performed for the first time by female students on Friday, April 11th.
LWOW is a feminist club at Lick led by juniors Bix Archer, Natalie Gable, Claire Fry, and Jacqueline Blaska. The four sat down with the Hyphen in an interview for Gender Week, the week dedicated to issues of stereotyping and prejudice that leads up to the GirlTalk performance on Friday. The performance will serve as a conclusion to the week dedicated to sex and gender at Lick. This is the first year a production such as GirlTalk will be brought to Lick, and LWOW’s leaders hope for it to be continued annually as a popular Lick event. Based off the original production, the Vagina Monologues performed by Eve Ensler, Girl Talk hopes to shed light on being a woman, from the voice of a woman. “Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues were very characteristic of an earlier wave of feminism,” said Jacqueline, “and that’s just not our story anymore. Absolutely, there are parts that we relate to and connect to our lives, but they’re not our own experiences.” GirlTalk hopes to emulate a similar inspiration and identification with women that the Vagina Monologues did so well. Said Claire: “The parts of the Vagina Monologues that I’ve seen have lasted with me for years– that’s what we’re hoping to achieve with GirlTalk this year. That experience, on a more personal level, is going to be really important.” Natalie added: “Like Eve Ensler, we’re trying to create a project that allows people to share their voices in a way that they don’t get to usually. It’s inspired, but not following the rules of the Vagina Monologues.” In regards to the relationships amongst girls at Lick, Natalie explained: “In society, it’s kind of thought that girls have to compete with each other, and being able to create this community where people are supportive of each other and each other’s stories is going to be powerful in that it will help stop girls feeling like they have to compare themselves to other girls or boys.
Eve Ensler was the creator, writer, and inspiration behind the original Vagina Monologues– an arrangement of speeches from points of view of different women on issues of femininity and sexism. She interviewed over 200 women, listening to their stories about being female, and the monologues were first performed in New York in 1996. Proceeds from the Vagina Monologues raised money for V-Day, a non-profit movement movement that raised $75 million for women’s anti-violence organizations. Like the Vagina Monologues, LWOW hopes to donate part of the proceeds a pro-woman organization: “La Casa de Las Madres,” a shelter offering support for abused women, teens, and children.
The goals and hopes for the outcome of the production are tailored by the four girls to fit specifically with Lick culture, as Jacqueline explained: “I think we’ve come to realize that, even at Lick– which is an extremely tolerant and open community– there are still areas where girl’s voices and experiences are not as valued as boy’s. That’s no particular person’s fault, it’s just society’s entrenched sexism. Having a night that is specifically and solely dedicated to sharing girl’s stories is meant to counteract that.” Bix added: “We learn in class about the way things are in society, but when we have these discussions at Lick there’s this disconnect between what people personally experience and what we talk about. GirlTalk is hopefully sort of a reminder that this is something very personal, and you can’t just talk about gender in the abstract because it affects everyone on a daily basis.” Each monologue written was handed in anonymously and chosen by the twenty-two performers. Some students wrote, some are just performing, and some are participating in both. Jacqueline explained the reason behind LWOW’s choice to keep the writers anonymous: “I think having one person write a monologue and one person read a monologue communicates that sense that this is everyone’s experience.” Claire added “I think it’s going to, hopefully, unite the women of Lick-Wilmerding, and be a really spiritual and emotional experience for everyone. We’re hoping the audience will be really moved.”