Students share stories at Womyn with a Y
“I think people should come see this play because it’ll make you really uncomfortable,” said senior Jocelyn Foshay.
Foshay was a director and performer for “Womyn with a Y,” a series of monologues performed by Guilford College students to share the stories of different women. The monologues addressed topics such as relationships, beauty ideals, sexuality, transgender experiences and sexual violence.
“They’re hard to hear, harsh realities and different voices. Though it’ll make you uncomfortable, I think it’ll really open your eyes to things you had no idea existed.”
In the past, students performed “The Vagina Monologues” by Eve Ensler but changed the title and monologues this year to be more inclusive.
“I do feel like the whole purpose of the Vagina Monologues is opening up a space for women,” said Foshay. “How good of a job are we doing that if some women don’t feel safe?”
The title was also meant to encourage more people to hear the stories.
“It was The Vagina Monologues, which I think is one of the main reasons that pushed people away,” said sophomore Jeniffer Gonzalez Reyes. “We can say ‘arm,’ we can say ‘leg,’ why can’t we say ‘vagina?’ I guess it frightened people. And not all women have vaginas, so I’m glad they changed the name to Womyn with a Y.”
Gonzalez Reyes’ monologue revolved around a young, Latina woman revealing the sexual violence against all the women in her family and her desire to protect her five-year-old daughter from the seemingly inevitable horror.
“‘We were sitting on my twin bed in a room covered with glow-in-the-dark star stickers,’ that’s one of the quotes from the monologue,” said Gonzalez Reyes.
“The reason that I really liked that quote is because of my room because I had glow-in-the-dark stickers, and I had times where I had to sit with my mom on the bed and have deep conversations about a lot of things. That instantly was a connection and I know how that feels.”
Other monologues addressed the plethora of feelings that accompany romantic relationships.
“The name of my monologue is ‘Boys,’” said senior Chloe Williams. “It’s basically talking about (my character’s) experience with boys. To me, it’s sort of like her growing up and her learning about herself, her sexuality and relationships through telling her stories about relationships with these boys.”
The diverse stories put into perspective how many women could be challenged by the problems presented in the monologues.
“I’ve never heard of something like this before,” said first-year Maria Peralta. “To have these stories, although they’re maybe not mine, makes you think about all the other stories out there.”
The performances also had an impact on attendees.
“I thought it was really moving,” said senior Katie Kaltenheuser. “And I’m grateful all these people took the time and courage to perform for us.”
The common thread among the monologues performed was to create awareness about the problems women face but also to build confidence for women who felt burdened by societal standards.
“My value as a woman is not dependent on how many men want to fuck me,” said Foshay in her monologue.
Students interested in performing for “Womyn with a Y” can audition during fall semester for next year’s performance directed by sophomore Terry Daniels. For those interested in combating the issues presented in the monologues, Guilford provides many opportunities to get involved through organizations such as Sexual Assault Awareness Support and Advocacy.