September 6, 2012

Finding vagina manologues

Vaginas are not just for women, according to interviews conducted by three Knox students.

Junior Avery Wigglesworth and sophomores Chloe Luetkemeyer and Allison Diamond are pursuing the male perspective on female anatomy in order to create a series of monologues, inspired by Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” and a similarly themed “Penis Monologues” created by former male students of a Women Playwrights class.

Indeed, it was this class that inspired the project for Luetkemeyer, Diamond and Wigglesworth.

“We’re always talking about the male gaze and how culture and society are very male-oriented,” Diamond said. “But have we ever asked real guys what their opinions are of women?”

The process of obtaining research for this project has been a series of anonymous interviews over the course of the past two weeks. The project has garnered a good deal of interest.

“Guys you wouldn’t expect have been coming out of the woodwork, like, ‘Yeah, I really want to talk about this! I feel like I have something to say,’” Diamond said.

Not only have a good number of males showed up for the interviews, but they have also provided many interesting responses.

“A lot of guys start off very confident, and they try to be funny. But then, as the process goes on, whatever questions we ask kind of throw them off-balance,” Wigglesworth said. “They tell us a lot. It’s been a cool process just because everyone’s been really honest with us. I don’t feel like people are getting uncomfortable.”

The trio has been pleased to discover that men do not seem to maintain normative societal biases.

“Guys love vaginas a lot, and I feel like women don’t love them. Women have all this self-hate about vaginas, and it’s kind of brought on by our own idea of what we think guys think about them. But men are a lot less picky than we think they are,” Luetkemeyer said. “I think we’re going to have a lot of really positive outcomes from doing this project.”

Wigglesworth shared this positive hope.

“I’d like to facilitate a new voice to be heard,” Wigglesworth said. “A man can hear from another man that he’s okay with women having hair, and then he might rethink what his seventh grade buddies told him, that that wasn’t cool. And the same goes for women [who hear that].”

Although this project will end officially once it is turned in as a set of six to eight monologues at the end of the term, Diamond, Luetkemeyer and Wigglesworth all expressed a desire to see it produced in the future, hopefully as a series of monologues performed by a male cast during Love Your Body Week during winter term.

Simply working on this project has proved enjoyable.

“All three of us are really into theater, and so we’re hoping to do something new,” Luetkemeyer said.

To be sure, their subject seems hardly disagreeable.

“Vaginas are awesome,” Diamond said.

Chelsea Embree
Chelsea Embree is a senior majoring in creative writing and minoring in art history. She previously served as co-mosaic editor and as an arts and features reporter for TKS. During the summer of 2013, she served as a content intern at The St. Louis Beacon. Chelsea has studied under former Random House copy chief Sean Mills and taught writing as a teaching assistant for First-Year Preceptorial. An avid blogger, she has written extensively about youth in St. Louis and maintains a lively poetry and nonfiction blog on Tumblr. She is also the director of communications for Mortar Board and co-president of Terpsichore Dance Collective.

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