In 1998, the internationally-recognized movement known as V-Day was born from Eve Ensler?s Obie Award-winning play, ?The Vagina Monologues.? This weekend, Ensler, recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship Award in Playwriting, will be visiting the University in order to inspire women across campus to embrace their strengths and address the community on the violations that women regularly endure throughout the world. The V-Day campaign will commence tomorrow, coming in conjunction with the traditional Valentine?s Day ?holiday? (The ?V? in V-Day standing for Victory, Valentine and Vagina). On Sunday, two student-run performances of Ensler?s play will conclude this year?s campaign.

Ensler first performed ?The Vagina Monologues? in small towns and communities across the nation after hearing of the firsthand accounts of the emotional and societal consequences of sexual abuse from over 200 women. These stories of rape, incest and battery moved Ensler to form V-Day ? a creative force aimed at proactively urging women to take pride in their sexuality while also generating a consciousness of the atrocities women face.

In the five years since ?The Vagina Monologues? was first produced, the play has been translated into 22 languages. Wrapping up a tour in Mexico City, the monologues will now come to Ann Arbor ? a city noted for its progressiveness, yet one that arguably still contains the same trials for women that any other community possesses. Hopefully, this year, ?The Vagina Monologues? may allow students to fully understand the tribulations that women face at every strata of society, in every culture.

Directed by Johanna Schuster-Craig, a student in the School of Music, this year?s local showings of ?The Vagina Monologues,? in the tradition of being completely campus sustained, will be performed solely by University students. The theme of this year?s campaign is ?Until the Violence Stops: Envisioning a World Without Violence Against Women,? and for the first time ever, will feature a monologue delivered by a male. This aspect of the performance reflects the all-inclusiveness of this year?s Ann Arbor V-Day campaign and dismantles the negative stereotype many have of feminism. This past year?s Men Against Violence Against Women White Ribbon campaign served as positive indicator of the community?s growing awareness.

Members of the community proudly voice their passion for her hugely influential movement: ?This campaign is about raising awareness about the unfortunately timeless issue of violence against women. The point, however, is that this problem does have active solutions and active responses and things can change. First, however, it needs to be recognized as a problem and as one that people are working to change,? says Megan Shuchman, an RC sophomore and co-producer of this year?s V-Day.

LSA sophomore and fellow producer Alycia Welch feels similarly strongly. ?Most women have not yet come to terms with their own sexualities. The V-Day campaign aims to erase the objectification of women and promote a healthier view of females in this society and throughout the world.?

The proceeds from the play on Sunday will be donated to various worldwide grassroots organizations working to end violence against women.

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