Podcast: Yoni Ki Baat – The South Asian ‘Vagina Monologues’

Yoni Ki Baat

A Yoni Ki Baat performance in Chicago. (Photo: Tyler Core/tylercoreshootspeople.com)

In this Feet in Two Worlds Podcast, Indian-American reporter Aswini Anburajan interviews Vandana Makker, one of the founders of “Yoni Ki Baat,” on the importance of exploring women’s sexuality through a cultural and immigrant lens. 

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India may be the original home of tantric and other exotic Eastern practices but the subject of sexuality in everyday life is still taboo.  Yoni Ki Baat, a performance series conceived by South Asian immigrant women, has attempted to change that dynamic through a series of staged vignettes that are modeled after Eve Ensler’s “Vagina Monologues.” Like Ensler’s famous set of stories that tackle subjects ranging from women’s sexuality to rape and domestic violence, the stories of Yoni Ki Baat go from erotic to humorous to thought provoking.

Yoni Ki Baat, which literally translates to “a gift” in Hindi, was born out of the South Asian Sisters collective in San Francisco, a group of second generation South Asian women who were inspired by Ensler and wanted to put a specific cultural spin onto the Vagina Monologues.  The first performance occurred eight years ago and since then Yoni Ki Baat has transformed into a grassroots movement, performed by South Asian women across the country.  Other ethnic groups have also embraced the idea and created their own set of stories connected to women’s sexuality and a specific culture, be it Italian or Middle Eastern.

Fi2W podcasts are supported by the New York Community Trust and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundationwith additional support from the Mertz Gilmore Foundation and the Sirus Fund, and are produced in association with the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and CUNY-TV.