A month ago I attended the production of a show of “LIPS” at UCLA. One year ago I was finishing my undergraduate degree at UCLA and I had heard that student producers were inviting writers and actors to collaborate on a unique version of the renowned show “The Vagina Monologues.” Eve Ensler, who created “The Vagina Monologues,” had long been an inspiration for me in my own interests pertaining to gender issues and feminism. I had first seen the show many years ago in Sydney and had more recently learned that she was the pioneer of “V-Day” – a global movement to end violence against women. Her efforts were made known to me through a moving and memorable documentary I had seen in a women’s studies class. Therefore, when I was selected as an author for a monologue, I was truly honored.
“LIPS” was to become a modern day vision of “The Vagina Monologues” as the show’s creators realized that the original monologues, written in the 1990’s, had focused on white, heterosexual, cisgendered women and they wanted the new show to represent the intersectionality of inequalities. I could not have been more inspired to hear about a diverse range of struggles and triumphs pertaining to sexuality, gender identity, racial inequalities, domestic violence, body image and eating disorders. There was humor, vulnerability, courage, anger and tears and all of the actors did such an incredible job in making the intimate monologues come to life.
The next day I found myself reading an educational book to my children about the differences between boys and girls and human sexuality, and I was suddenly so conscious of one of the monologues I had heard that illustrated pansexuality – the sexual, romantic or emotional attraction toward individuals, regardless of their gender identity or biological sex. Through that monologue I became conscious of the binary world we live in, pertaining to gender, and I started to question what I was reading to my children. This, to me, is art at its best. It had instantly educated and enlightened me and forced me to view the world in a completely different way the very next day.
The show concluded with a standing ovation and I just hope that the producers, writers and actors will continue to bring awareness to us with their talent and vision for sharing personal experiences in such dynamic and provocative ways.