Controversial play written by Eve Ensler. It debuted in 1996 on Broadway, at Westside Theater. It's pretty much Exactly What It Says on the Tin, being a bunch of monologues that connect the vagina to different themes, such as love, rape, sex, menstruation, genital mutilation, birth, masturbation, orgasm, and slang terms for the part.
The monologues include:
- I Was 12; My Mother Slapped Me: A piece all about periods.
- Hair: A woman whose husband wanted her to shave despite her objections.
- The Flood: An older woman who was ashamed of the area "down there" and how it functioned in her youth.
- The Vagina Workshop: A woman details her experiences with learning how to love her vagina.
- Because He Liked To Look At It: "This monologue was based on an interview with a woman who had a good experience with a man."
- My Angry Vagina: Rant against tampons, douches, and OB/GYN's.
- My Vagina Was My Village: A collection of interviews from women in Bosnia that were in rape camps.
- The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could: The most controversial out of the set. A 13-year-old girl who was violently raped by a man as a child is seduced by a much-older woman and she sees the latter experience as positive, saying "if it was rape, it was a good rape." The age was changed to 16 after the most severe criticisms were made.
- Reclaiming "Cunt": Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Six-Year-Old Girl: A six-year-old girl is asked about her vagina. One of the more controversial pieces due to the subjectively sexual nature of the questions.
- The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy: A story about a lesbian dominatrix sex worker who loved making women moan. Comedic in that the performer(s) simulates different types of moans/orgasms.
- I Was There in the Room: Eve Ensler's personal account of her granddaughter's birth.
- Under the Burqa: Added to the original performance in 2003. It's about women in Afghanistan under the rule of the Taliban.
- They Beat the Girl Out of My Boy: A trans woman's experiences.
- Crooked Braid: An American Indian woman's experiences with abuse.
- The Memory of Her Face: Women faced with acid attacks.
It has since become the cornerstone of the "V-Day" movement, which aims to raise awareness of rape and violence against women. As such, the play is frequently performed by colleges every year around Valentines Day.
Clean the sand out of your vagina and tell us the tropes this play uses!
- Author Avatar, Self-Insert Fic, Author Tract: In the early days, Eve Ensler would perform the play mostly by herself.
- Beautiful All Along: The main character of "Because He Liked to Look at It".
- Black-and-Gray Morality: In "The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could," a thirteen-year-old girl (aged up to 16 in some versions of the script) is seduced by a twenty-four-year-old woman. This is clearly statutory rape (and acknowledged as such by the narrator). However, after a girl that young has been subjected to the horrors that this girl has (rape, assault, injury), anything that could let her learn to love her body and feel pleasure can be considered an improvement.
- Chewing the Scenery: "My Angry Vagina" tends to be played this way.
- Chromosome Casting: Hardly unexpected, given the title. note
- Does Not Like Men, The Unfair Sex, Lifetime Movie of the Week: Those critical of this play blast it as Straw Feminist, invoking these tropes in the process.
- Double Standard: "Coochie Snorcher" really stands out.
- Double Standard: Rape, Female on Female: Guess which one?note
- Exercise Excuse: One of the characters gets a call from her mother in the middle of losing her virginity. Her mother asks why she sounds so out of breath, and she responds that she has been "exercising."
- Lousy Lovers Are Losers: Inverted in "Because He Liked To Look At It". This monologue is written from the POV of a woman who, thanks to an attentive lover she initially dismissed as a loser (he hates spicy food, wears khaki, and does not like Prince, to her horror), stops thinking of her vagina as ugly.
- The Immodest Orgasm: The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy is full of this trope. The performer rattles off a bunch of different moans and shows a bunch of different orgasm styles.
- Mood Whiplash: At the heart of "My Vagina Was My Village". Half of the monologue is about the positive way that the speaker experienced her body before being raped, half is about the assault itself and the damage it left her with, and the monologue is formatted as a repeated back-and-forth between the two. Done correctly, it really serves to drive the point home.
- N-Word Privileges: All the monologues use this trope to some degree, but "Reclaiming Cunt" is the big standout.
- Pink Is Erotic: The Vagina Monologues is about various discussions about the vagina (related to sex, menstruation, pubic hair, etc). Promotional images for the play often feature a lot of red and pink, evoking imagery of the body.
- Rape and Switch: Implied about the main character of "Coochie Snorcher."
- Unusual Euphemism: "Coochie Snorcher" (as used frequently in the monologue with that name) for "vagina".