V is for Inclusion | Local News | Bend | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon
The Source Weekly’s reporting is made possible by the power of your support. Be a part of it!
Pin It

V is for Inclusion 

Lessons learned from #MeToo helped shape this year's "Vagina Monologues" into a more inclusive show

Donning colors of pink, red and purple, women of all backgrounds and appearances acted out Eve Ensler's riveting writings at this year's mid-February performances of "The Vagina Monologues", held in both Bend and Madras. Having a performance in a place beyond Bend is just one way the show producers aimed to make it more inclusive.

Seeing how geographical barriers can be forms of oppression, producers of the year's "Vagina Monologues" intentionally staged a show in Madras, as well as Bend. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Seeing how geographical barriers can be forms of oppression, producers of the year's "Vagina Monologues" intentionally staged a show in Madras, as well as Bend.

"The Vagina Monologues" have been produced sporadically in Bend, starting in the early 2000s at Central Oregon Community College and again in 2007 and 2009 by Human Dignity Coalition.

Two separate performances happened as part of the V-day Campaign in 2016. The V-Day Campaign can be presented in tandem with "The Vagina Monologues."

According to the V-Day website, "The Vagina Monologues gave birth to V-Day, a global activist movement to end violence against all women and girls (cisgender, transgender and those who hold fluid identities that are subject to gender-based violence)."

Co-producer of this year's local show, Jenni Peskin, echoes that aim, calling it, "an international effort to end sexual violence against women."

For this year's productions, organizers made a big push to broaden the search for cast members. Co-producer Marieka Greene notes, "We knew we had to cast our net wider, do things different... We held auditions in Redmond, Madras and Bend. We hoped this production wouldn't feel so 'Bend-centric' like many Central Oregon events are, especially politically progressive ones."

As a result, Greene feels this year's cast was significantly more inclusive, including individuals from different generations, people who identify as LGBTQ+, people who are gender fluid, parents, black and indigenous women of color and Latinx individuals.

Inclusivity efforts also yielded the incorporation of Spanish into parts of the script. A performance held in Madras (in cooperation with Let's Talk Diversity Coalition), put a spotlight on women who are or have been incarcerated. That performance also highlighted community activists—an effort to move the needle in creating accessibility for all communities in Central Oregon. As Greene states, "Distance and transportation access is an unearned disadvantage for many."

Making #MeToo more inclusive

Not coincidentally, the need to deepen inclusivity highlighted in this year's Central Oregon V-day Campaign reflects critiques of the national anti-sexual violence movement, #MeToo.

Greene notes that Me Too was originally created by longtime sexual violence advocate, Tarana Burke, in 2006—11 years before Harvey Weinstein's patterns of sexual violence and intimidation were put on blast, and Alyssa Milano moved the #MeToo hashtag to viral status.

This year's V-day Campaign brought into focus the need, nationally and locally, to highlight the voices of historically marginalized populations, and to address the concern that only when powerful white women experience oppression do movements gain momentum.

On that subject, Greene says, "I feel it's important to note that it took 10 or so years for [#Metoo] to gather (white feminist) momentum."

Though locals might want to believe sexual discrimination, oppression or violence isn't present in our idealized high desert utopia, there is sometimes more to Bend-centric culture than meets the eye.

"In my opinion, 'The Vagina Monologues' are about shedding light on the ways individuals are othered, oppressed or devalued," says Greene. "This could be overt, sexually violent oppression, but it might also be sexual, economical or cultural repression. The [Vagina Monologue] stories do focus on women, inequities, sexual orientation, sexual satisfaction or violence and vaginas (or lack-thereof), but the themes can be more broadly applied."  

Though this year's round of shows is behind us, co-producer Breyn Hibbs offers the reminder that one in three women on the planet will experience some kind of violence in her lifetime. For this reason, she believes the, "#MeToo movement will continue—regardless of whether this remains its recognizable title, until this statistic is no longer true. Can you imagine what it would be like to live in a world where organizations and movements like V-Day or #MeToo didn't have a need to exist?! Unfortunately, we don't live in such a world. And so, we march on and continue the movement in the ways we can and do, just like the women who have come before us did—sometimes with a particular publicly-recognized banner or hashtag, but more often, via gatherings that nobody else ever knows about except us, and the women we circled with."

International Women's Day is March 8.
Visit vday.org for information on events happening worldwide.
Current hashtags: #untiltheviolencestops #riseresistunite #turningpainintopower

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • My Marvelous Mentors

    My Marvelous Mentors

    Jim Anderson pens a farewell to readers
    • Aug 26, 2020
  • Santa Uncensored

    Santa Uncensored

    A retired mall Santa shares some of his most bizarre (and moving) experiences
    • Dec 18, 2019
Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Soul in Motion Online Gathering

Soul in Motion Online Gathering

Wed., June 23, 4:15-5:30 p.m.
Submitting an event is free and easy.

Newsletter Signup

Get Central Oregon daily news
directly in your inbox

Get Social

Latest in Local News

  • Source Weekly Update June 21 2021

    • Jun 17, 2021
    A proposal for a pedestrian zone in downtown Bend and details on the DA's new program for juvenile offenders More »
  • Six Years, Walking the World

    • Jun 16, 2021
    Bendite Angela Maxwell spent over half a decade walking everywhere from New Zealand to inner Mongolia. More »
  • Pedestrian Avenue

    • Jun 16, 2021
    A proposal from Downtown Bend Business Association could change Minnesota Avenue into a walkable plaza More »
  • More »

More by K.M. Collins

  • Gear Up

    Gear Up

    If You're New Here: Tips to prep for summer in Bend
    • May 26, 2021
  • Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day

    Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day

    If You're New Here: How to float like a local this summer
    • May 5, 2021
  • Rain Check

    Rain Check

    Will La Niña's failure to deliver bolster wildfire season?
    • May 5, 2021
  • More »

Want to advertise with us?

For info on print and digital advertising, >> Click Here

© 2021 LAY IT OUT INC | 704 NW GEORGIA AVE, BEND, OREGON 97703  |   Privacy Policy

Website powered by Foundation