You wanna know what February reminds me of? V Day.
And by “V Day,” I don’t mean Valentine’s Day. I mean the movement to stop violence against women that emerged from Eve Ensler’s performance piece, The Vagina Monologues.
(pictured: so much February 14th, Dr. Chauntelle Land)
Now stop groaning!! If you like vaginas, or at least feel that vaginas deserve to be free to live their own productive lives, then you should like V Day and The Vagina Monologues. Or you should at least learn a little bit about them.
Briefly: during the early 1990s (I assume), a woman named Eve Ensler interviewed approximately 200 women about their and their vaginas’ experiences. She then crafted a collection of monologues, each an amalgamated composite of details from those interviews – The Vagina Monologues. The first version of The Vagina Monologues was completed in 1996.
Originally, the book-to-play was intended to be a celebration of vaginas everywhere; but word-of-mouth and awareness grew quickly as more and more people wanted to be involved with the performance and the energy it seemed to build. People began performing The Vagina Monologues in community theaters and on college campuses everywhere. This enthusiasm and some of the themes discussed in the play quickly morphed into the V Day movement. By 1998, people were donating proceeds from performances to centers and programs that work to stop violence against women. Today, between February 1 and the end of March, thousands of V Day performances of The Vagina Monologues happen, and much needed funds are donated as a result.
Now, the V Day movement and The Vagina Monologues themselves have been fraught with criticism over the years – everyone from feminists to conservatives to all sorts of folks in between have had something to say, which kinda annoys me… because you see, although The Vagina Monologues was never (nor is it currently without) some moments of flaw, that play can fill up a room with talk of women and happiness and passion and abuse and sadness and survivors and anger and war and childbirth and periods and cunts and hair and masturbation and orgasms like nothing – absolutely nothing – else can.
(if you want to read some The Vagina Monologues history and common critiques, go here… and please pay attention to the fact that it’s still a work in progress and has been rewritten and added to many times over the years as society has grown and changed around it)
How do I know? Because I was involved with productions of The Vagina Monologues for years.
The play hit too late for me to be into it as an undergrad, but I volunteered at Planned Parenthood for years in the early 2000s; and every February it was the same thing – go to X College campus, set up table, talk about services, watch play put on by college students I didn’t know but who were so into it, watch audience members laugh and cry, pack up any remaining goods, repeat, repeat, repeat.
When I was in my Ph.D. program at UT, I worked for the Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC), which was like the campus’ Women’s Resource Center and LGBTQ Center rolled into one. We supported the students who put on the performance each year, and my god was it a lot of work – from organizing and running entire fair’s worth of community organizations to making sure the performance was as inclusive as possible to helping with casting and budgeting and ticket sales and food and set up and take down and any other task you can possibly imagine, February was always an exhausting month. But it was also always exhilarating because those auditoriums were always packed with so many different kinds of people wanting to know what the heck was going on.
Like I said, me and The Vagina Monologues got some history.
So when I received a copy of 3rd Degree Film’s Official Vagina Monologues Parody (2011) as part of another project I was working on… well I would be lying if I said my heart didn’t sink a little. This looked bad.
Here’s the box copy:
How does an internationally staged play with a title like this escape parody until now? Third Degree asked the same question, and answered it with this hilariously entertaining spoof that has Inari Vachs, Kristina Rose and many others talking about their coochies, cunts, slits, pussies and yes vaginas until they get fucked silly by some of the finest cocksmiths in XXX! These are definitely empowered women who know what they want a serious pussy workout! Satisfy your curiosity cum and see the Vagina Monologues, it’s the movie that ‘opens wide!’
(pictured: buy your copy of the and/or watch it now here)
So I figured I would review this film in honor of V Day, mostly so I could draw awareness to the February activity that was a part of my life for so long, hoping that it wouldn’t be as awful as I expected…
…and my goodness if I wasn’t so pleasantly surprised!!
The Official Vagina Monologues Parody is really good – sassy, funny, and actually kinda meaningful when you get right down to it. It consists of five scenes wherein women first talk about their vaginas in a very The Vagina Monologues-esque way and then proceed to interact and have sex with a man who, in some way, relates to and balances the specific vagina’s idiosyncrasies. Consider:
Scene #1: Inari Vachs talks about her angry vagina that is sick of men who can’t rise to the occasion or take instructions… because “a penis is like punk rock: it’s fast, it’s hard, and it’s stupid!!” But then she meets Bill Bailey, who is both competent and eager to meet her expectations.
Scene #2: Samantha Ryan is extolling the virtues of her smart vagina… her smart vagina that, ironically, just “can’t say no to stupid.” A hilarious scene follows wherein Samantha is going on and on all cultured-smart like about some art museum, while her guy Anthony Rosano can only think of two things – the pretzel he had for lunch and eating pussy. Their dynamic in the pre-sex portion of this scene is the funniest thing ever.
(I am seriously going to invent the PVV Awards just so I can give “Best Actor” to Anthony Rosano – that guy is comedy performance gold)
Scene #3: Kristina Rose is so excited about her magical vagina, that can also be very dangerous (some men have been found washed up on some rocks) – it even emits golden light from its depths!! Her gynecologist, Mark Wood, thinks it’s the most perfect pussy he’s ever seen…
Scene #4: Kimberly Kane will not share her vagina with anyone who doesn’t appreciate it for everything it is, and she’s sick of being asked to change it!! (her opening monologue loosely parodies “Hair” in The Vagina Monologues) The pre-sex portion of her scene with Michael Vegas, and the degree to which he appreciates every aspect of her vagina, is almost beyond words.
Scene #5: after years of wondering what exactly was going on down there, Yurizan Beltran now knows the power of her vagina… but she didn’t learn it from no scrub. Marco Banderas introduced her to how things were done in “[his] country” – the woman comes first.
(pictured: Kimberly Kane is disgusted with you… not her vagina)
The sex in the Official Vagina Monologues Parody was good, but the real strength of this film came from the writing and the stellar performances. Samantha’s and Kimberly’s scenes stood out as especially funny and meaningful, and I was impressed with how well each lady pulled off the rendering of her monologue and her performance during the lead in. Anthony and Michael were great too.
This film could have taken itself too seriously (ehhh, no way) and I was expecting it to be too much of a mockery of the source material, but it was actually really wonderful. And I really appreciated writer/director Mike Quasar sharing his little secret – like me, he must have been into or involved with The Vagina Monologues for a while. There’s no way he could have pulled this off otherwise.
I totally dug it.
And by the way… if there’s a performance of The Vagina Monologues happening in your area, you really should (bring your critical eyes and) go. There might be a little Chauntelle there handing out six-inch rulers and condoms. You might just laugh a little, and you might even learn something (or cry). You’ll definitely be contributing to a worthy cause.
Recommended for: anyone who has ever been involved with a production of The Vagina Monologues, anyone who is a particular fan of one or more of the ladies starring in the Official Vagina Monologues Parody, and anyone who is over the bs that is Valentine’s Day and wants to have a little giggle – this film is an excellent showcase for some great comedic timing, doesn’t take itself too seriously, and does its part to raise awareness for the V Day movement and vaginas everywhere!!
Official Vagina Monologues Parody
With performances from Inari Vachs, Kimberly Kane, Kristina Rose, Samantha Ryan, Yurizan Beltran, Anthony Rosano, Bill Bailey, Marco Banderas, Mark Wood, and Michael Vegas.
3rd Degree Film’s Official Vagina Monologues Parody was witten and directed by Mike Quasar and released in February, 2011.
Buy your copy and/or watch it now here.
Also: standard BTS content that was a little Samantha Ryan heavy. If you’re a fan of her’s though, you’ll really appreciate the camera time she gets in the BTS segment. She’s pretty impressive.
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Some images used with permission, others from Google.
You may quote anything herein with the following attribution: “Reprinted from PVVOnline/Porn Valley Vantage, copyright © Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, PhD (www.PVVOnline.com).”