Mob invades The Terrace in support of “The Vagina Monologues”

Story by Carolyn Tiry

When freshman Abby Frawley walked into the Terrace cafeteria in Davies Center, she was expecting a quiet lunch and good conversation with friends.

What she got instead was a loud and rambunctious display of song and dance from members of the V-Day Campaign. She was the victim of a flash mob.

“I thought it was a fire drill at first,” she said.

The flash mob was a publicity stunt put on by V-Day campaign to raise awareness about “The Vagina Monologues” and the fight to end violence of all types against women. It was the first of its kind to be performed at UW-Eau Claire.

Dana Abel, co-president of the UW-Eau Claire chapter of the V-Day Campaign and coordinator of the flash mob, said one of the main goals of the stunt was to publicize the show to freshmen and sophomores because they were less likely to have heard about the show.

Freshman Melanie Meister, who was having lunch with Frawley when the mob occurred, said she thought it was very effective and it got people’s attention.

“I really wanted to get up there and do the dance with them,” she said with a laugh. “I tried to memorize the moves on the fly, but it didn’t really work.”

Abel agreed, saying she was relieved that the reaction seemed positive.

“I’m so happy that it’s over, in the sense that it’s over and it went well,” she said.

The planning process went very smoothly — even more than Abel expected. She said Charles Farrell, the director of University Centers, was very supportive of their effort.

“It’s kind of amazing how on board with this they’ve been,” Abel said. “I could not have asked for a better place to plan (a flash mob).”

“The Vagina Monologues” started out as an underground play in New York City, according to Random House’s website. It is composed of excerpts from more than 200 interviews of women of all ages and was compiled by Eve Ensler.

The show has been staged at Eau Claire for several years. Abel performed in the show her freshman year and joined V-Day the following year. She said her time here hasn’t been the same since.

“It’s just this community and this sisterhood,” she said, “and we just all get together for the same cause and put on an amazing and hilarious and powerful show.”

V-Day has been trying to limit the stigma that may be attached to the show and the campaign, Abel said.

“When a bunch of women get together and do something, it tends to get this ‘man-bashing’ reputation,” she said, “and it’s not a man-bashing show; that’s not what it’s about.”

Junior Kayla Stier, who has attended “The Vagina Monologues” for the past two years, said she likes to take people who haven’t seen the show, just to watch their reactions.

She added that she has always had a good time when she attended the show.

“I always walk out of there feeling like, ‘Yeah, I’m a woman, and I have girl power!’”