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Cast Member Corrects Criticism

February 17, 2020
Emmetsburg News

To the Editor:

I am a performer in the Emmetsburg community theater production of The Vagina Monologues and I feel like I need to respond to David Perata's letter to the editor.

My impression is that Mr. Perata is very right about one thing: he does not understand, and he is wrong about nearly everything else about the production.

First The Vagina Monologues is not porn. The definition of pornography is "material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings". There is nothing in The Vagina Monologues that is designed to arouse anyone. If you are aroused by vivid descriptions of child rape or genital mutilation please do not come. This performance is not meant for you.

Mr. Perata is also wrong in his statement that we performers are being made to "act as whores". The Vagina Monologues is written by a woman, directed by a woman, and is performed entirely by women for an audience that is likely to be almost all women. None of us are coerced. We all love this piece for our own reasons. Whores perform sexual acts for the pleasure of men. Again not the point of this show.

Most of the criticisms I have heard about The Vagina Monologues are from people who have watched pieces of it on YouTube. They see those pieces as "making fun" of women. If you watch the show in its entirety you will see that it is not doing that. Yes, there are parts of it that are funny. Have you ever had a situation that is very painful or difficult, maybe an embarrassing moment or even something very serious like a death or an illness, and then suddenly there is a moment of humor and you laugh and you feel just a little better? That's what this performance is about. It doesn't have a mocking tone like Mr. Perata's letter. It has a shared experience tone. If you go to this show and you are a woman you will find parts of it that you relate to and parts that you do not. We aren't all alike. Although we share some experiences, we are all unique people.

If you are a man and attend, you might not relate to much of it. But you can still come and try to understand someone else's point of view. Or not. The Vagina Monologues is not about you.

(signed) Lori Hebel

Emmetsburg resident



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