The Gender Equity Center hosted the seventh Original Womxn’s Narratives (OWN) on April 23, where performers presented original pieces revolving around womanhood.
The “x” in woman allows people to reflect on communities that have been excluded from womanhood and “it represents the unknown, the futures and imaginations that can exist beyond systemic oppression,” according to the OWN pamphlet.
This year, OWN featured 10 poems centering around varying aspects of womanhood experiences and identities, including domestic violence, misgendering and cancer. One of these poems, titled “Patent Poems #3077812: Staple,” was written by English lecturer Katrina Prow and discussed the topic of miscarriage.
Liberal arts and engineering senior Analisa Viloria performed the poem as the character Molly, who was her interpretation of the piece.
“I personally have not been through the experience of having a miscarriage, but I imagine that piece describes the grief, the process of handling, like processing [the] emotions and experiences that come with having a miscarriage,” Viloria said.
Viloria had been a part of the OWN cast for three years with this year being her first time doing it in-person. She performed another piece –– “Four Part Poem” –– with fellow cast members Zeya Longid and Kelly Mok. The piece was written by Cal Poly alumna Caprial Koe and talked about anti-Asian harassment and sexual harassment.
“It touches on [Asian and] Asian American history and the stereotypes that Asian and Asian American women have fallen into for the past hundreds of years and how that history has affected us now,” Viloria said. “And then also, at least in my section, the very last part touches on our connection with our ancestors and really honoring what they’ve done and the work that they’ve done to get us here.”
OWN Co-Director and mechanical engineering senior Chloe Chou also wrote a piece titled “words (or lack thereof),” which was performed by liberal arts and engineering junior Kelly Mok.
“It’s about my girlfriend, who I have been dating for over two years now,” Chou said. “It’s a culmination of all the times I’ve tried to write a poem encompassing how much she means to me, something I’ve honestly struggled with despite being a contributor to OWN in the past.”
Chou had co-directed the virtual OWN 2021, but this was her first time directing “such a large scale operation,” she said.
“I’ve had many members of the community reach out and tell me how appreciative they were to experience an in-person OWN again and how powerful this one was,” Chou said.
Soil science junior Sarah Ramirez was one of the many who attended the show. She believed the cast and production team “did a really amazing job in encapsulating so many different issues, but they did it through multiple lenses and made it super diverse.”
“I feel like everyone in the audience connected in some way to one of the performances today,” Ramirez said.