‘When our bodies have been politicized, targeted and defined for us, there’s power in the simple enjoyment of that body. When women are supposed to be small and inoffensive, taking up public space is a radical act. It’s unladylike. Dance,OBR reminds us, is both free and freeing.’ One Billion Rising.
It’s unladylike to say vagina in front of people, but because I am saying it in front of these people for a reason, it becomes something that breaks down that need to keep my communication within the lines set down for me. There’s a line in ‘my mother slapped me’-that speaks about how after she got her period, she became a good worker, ‘never talks’. The pressures to stay silent have always been pertinent to how I construct my personality, and I’m partly doing the vagina monologues to challenge that silence.
When I’m reading My Short Skirt, my hands move to punctuate my sentences, and someone afterwards asks me if I’m rapping or dancing or both, and this reminds me of my sister Suzie, who dances on cruise ships and is going to Australia. Dance for her is opening doors to different places. Allowing yourself to dance, to express ‘simple enjoyment of that body’. It’s a gesture towards ownership of yourself.
We end the session with trying to assign orgasm noises in the group, and as the fake orgasms slip and slide from our mouths I laugh so hard, I bend over and press my hands to my face to keep it in check, as if it could overspill and I could fall over with it.