A lot of girls and women have body image issues. As much as they wish they didn’t, they do. And most of the time, these issues revolve around one main thing: la panza – the belly. There are all kinds of different panzas, the size doesn’t make a difference, and for some reason a lot of people just aren’t okay with the way their panzas look. This is something that needs to be fixed.
The Panza Monologues, a performance based on a collection of stories written by Virginia Grise and Irma Mayorga, looks into the lives of Chicanas who have some sort of experience involving their own panza or the panza of someone they love. Despite the continuous humor throughout the performance, all of the stories connected into one central theme: The panza is life. If you are suffering, your panza is suffering.
All throughout the performance, the three actresses – Florinda Bryant, Deanna Deolloz, and Eva McQuade – played out the stories of different women whom Grise and Mayorga wrote about. The performance opened up with a prologue that explained how a performance like this was created, and ended by the three women chanting, “VIVA LA PANZA!” This automatically got the audience excited and amped up. The energy within the audience remained this way up until the very end.
The Panza Monologues is an eye opening work of art for both men and women. After the performance, Florinda and Eva allowed the audience to ask any questions about anything they wanted, mostly in regards to the show itself.
A few members of the audience asked about a couple of the stories, mostly concerning why some of the women did not save themselves from their abusive relationship or take care of themselves, and how their story really had anything to do with the panza. The takeaway was that the panza is hardly ever the reason for someone’s pain. Even after losing your panza, you might not be healthy. Being thin doesn’t mean you’re healthy. Mental health is more important in most cases.
Some people lose their panzas because they aren’t eating and aren’t healthy – this is an effect of bad mental health. It’s always important to take care of yourself first. According to Eva, “we are all contradictions within ourselves,” and “you need to be positive, you need to love yourself.”
Victoria Humphrey, a junior at Texas State University, attended the last showing of the performance and thought it was phenomenal. In one word, she said it was, “realistic.” And she says there were two things that she really learned from this performance, “Love your body, it’s the only one you have,” and, of course, “VIVA LA PANZA.”
At one point during the performance, the women explained about the panza plyers – plyers used to help pull up the zipper of jeans that might be a little too tight. During the Q&A, a male in the audience asked if the plyers were “for real.” Eva’s only answer was “Dude, c’mon!” Needless to say, the entire audience burst into laughter, most knowing all too well of the panza plyers.
The final comment was from a woman in the audience, which left everyone, including the actresses, with the sense of happiness. “Panza llena, corazón contenta”(roughly translated, that means “full stomach, happy heart”).