ZOE PEARCE — Sometimes it is useful to have a space where students can discuss personal issues free of judgment.
The sixth annual Genital Monologues took place in the Knapp Performance Space on February 8 through February 10. The event included varying performances from students who are strongly invested in creating a safe space to talk about sexuality. The acts range from hilarious to serious, expressing the variety of sexual experiences people encounter. On most campuses, the event was strictly about women’s sexuality and is titled The Vagina Monologues.
Students on Denison’s campus wanted to create more inclusivity of differing sexualities, so they named it The Genital Monologues. The G Team, the group of students that run the event show their dedication to the production by writing and acting out their own scripts. The stories told are based on real accounts from students, making the performance extremely moving.
Sophia Menconi ’20, a junior english major and member of The G Team, told how she became involved in the production: “I wanted to join The G Team after seeing the show my freshman year, I found the experience to be incredibly powerful and I knew I wanted to be part of bringing that special and meaningful experience to campus each year.” She continued, “Last year I directed a monologue and this year I wrote one and I am acting in another!”
This year’s performance consisted of ten acts involving topics of coming out, sexual assault and sex talks with parents. The varying topics discussed ensure that the performance relatable to the audience and break stigmas in order to create meaningful conversation. At the end of every performance, the members of The G Team honor survivors of sexual assault with carnations.
Menconi described the ceremony, “The most important part of the show for me every year is the carnation ceremony at the end of every performance.” She continued, “After the final bows every night, The G Team gathers to ask survivors of sexual violence in our audience to please stand up and be recognized if they feel safe. Then we have the cast present them with carnations. This ceremony is often very moving and a critical part of our performances each year.”
Being a member of the audience during this ceremony is humbling and makes one realize how common this problem is within society. To be able to share a moment with survivors is very special. Overall, the performances were executed effectively and it was a strong reminder that we still have a long way to go in cultivating a culture of sexual respect on our campus. The Genital Monologues are an important way to acknowledge the way sexuality and experiences of sexuality shape our student body.