A crowded J. Lee’s welcomed several students on Wednesday for The Body Monologues, a Women’s Center and Delta Phi Epsilon co-sponsored event.
The Body Monologues, inspired by the Vagina Monologues, is part of the Women’s Center’s Love Redefined Campaign that began in February, providing a platform for students to share their personal stories, struggles and experiences with body image and the acceptance of individual beauty.
“We are trying to redefine love to include self-love and healthy love because it’s so important,” said Erin Healy, a junior and host of the event. “When people hear the word love, they don’t often think of loving themselves, but of loving other people-and loving yourself is just as important.”
With J. Lee’s serving as a safe space, students were encouraged to perform original monologues or pieces from previous years that are easily relatable.
Donna Elazar, a junior, was one of several students who chose to perform a pre-existing monologue that she was able to relate to.
“The piece that I picked out [to perform] was called ‘First Time.’ It was a little comical, but truthful, and I felt like I could relate,” said Elazar. “It described women’s insecurities and how we kind of beat each other up in the head by putting thoughts in there that aren’t true.”
Insecurity was a common theme across the monologues. Several students performed monologues that dealt with unattainable conventional standards of beauty, especially for women.
“Insecurities are ingrained in women from when they’re young girls who are made to feel insecure and made to think that they are never going to be enough-which just isn’t true,” said Healy. “This event was intended to encourage people to share their stories and experiences with their bodies, so they see how they can relate to other people and the struggles that others go through.”
The event promoted self-love, with several students finding comfort in hearing that their peers have all experienced similar societal pressures and have struggled with the same kinds of body image issues and lack of confidence.
“It was nice to know that a lot of other people struggle with insecurity who are our age,” said freshman Diana Colgan.
Many students agreed that their peers’ honesty and sincerity throughout the event is what kept them interested in listening to others’ monologues.
“I like hearing other people’s stories with their struggles,” said Jasmine Thaxton, a senior. “No matter how different we are, we still have the same problems to deal with.”
Overall, the event and discussion that followed helped to fulfill The Body Monologues aim at cultivating body positivity, helping to create awareness and dialogue about individuals’ personal experiences in their bodies.
“I feel like I’m a little bit closer to the women in the Ramapo College community,” said Elazar. “I feel like everyone was very accepting after hearing all the different stories, ranging from funny to more serious, and I definitely think it aligns with the Love Redefined Campaign’s mission for sure.”