Giving GV a voice

Courtest Photo / Brittany Dernberger
Cecelia Wambach, a That Takes Ovaries workshop leader

Courtesy photo

Courtest Photo / Brittany Dernberger Cecelia Wambach, a “That Takes Ovaries” workshop leader

Tyler Steimle

On Monday, the Women’s Center will host “Leading a Bold Life,” an open mic night that will feature a reading from the play “That Takes Ovaries!,” which will be performed at GVSU in February.

The event will afford attendees the opportunity to interact with someone from the “That Takes Ovaries!” organization, hear dramatic readings from the show and to share their own stories.

“(The play) offers an exciting collection of real-life stories from women and girls about the gutsy, outrageous, courageous things they have done,” said Brittany Dernberger, assistant director of the Women’s Center.

The open mic night will offer students, faculty and staff an additional opportunity to share stories of empowerment beyond those included in the performance.

“Imagine if every woman out there refused to be quiet and shy, refused to be tentative and hesitant, refused to tolerate other women being mistreated, abused or date raped,” said Rivka Solomon, who co-authored the play with Bobbi Ausubel. “The world would be a different place. (It would be) a better place.”

Cecelia Wambach, a “That Takes Ovaries!” workshop leader who has led women’s empowerment workshops across the U.S., will speak at the event. Ausubel was originally slated to speak but was unable to participate due to an illness.

“The stories are multicultural, funny, sassy and touching true tales of estrogen-powered deeds,” Dernberger said. “Sharing stories is a powerful way to educate others and create social change.”

In the spirit of the past productions of “The Vagina Monologues,” “That Takes Ovaries!” will make use of activist theatre to raise funds and awareness for local and international women’s rights organizations and will rely on student activists for leadership. Over a decade, performances of “The Vagina Monologues” at GVSU raised more than $100,000 for organizations that support women and girls.

“The message is one of celebration,” Solomon said. “We celebrate gutsy women and the bold and brazen things they have done all as a way to encourage more women and girls to lead bold lives.”

In addition to performing pieces from the play, February’s production will also feature stories written by members of the GVSU community.

“This event is important for all students, regardless of gender identity, to attend/participate in,” said Dernberger. “This affects everyone. We need both men and women to be partners in advocating for gender justice and women’s empowerment.”

“That Takes Ovaries!” events have taken place at hundreds of colleges in the U.S. and internationally for 10 years. Both women and men have gone on stage to tell tales of their own acts of courage, or those of important women in their lives.

“We find it very fulfilling work,” Solomon said. “People leave our events feeling transformed, feeling like they, too, can go out and lead a braver and bolder life. That is what we mean when we say courage is contagious.”

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