This play still has something for everyone to hate.
For nearly 20 years, people have been offended by “The Vagina Monologues.” There have been so many objections to the play that protests have long since stopped making news.
Playwright Eve Ensler wrote the much-loved, much-hated series of short monologues after interviewing women about sex, love, birth and violence. It shocked many theater-goers with its intense focus on such an intimate part of the body; some found it feminist, thought-provoking and liberating, others found it crass and demeaning.
Now it’s got some feminists offended, too.
As first reported in Campus Reform, a theater group at a women’s college says it will stop showing the play – forever.
The decision to end an annual Valentine’s Day tradition was debated on campus at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., as are so many things about female identity.
The student-run theater group’s leaders asked the dean of students to send out an e-mail asking whether they should continue to run the play, according to Julia Ferrante, a spokeswoman for the college, and then another e-mail this week announcing the results of the survey. Because of students’ concerns about offending transgender people, the theater group canceled the play.
School officials recently redefined what it means to be a women’s college, explaining their admission policy for transgender students:
“Mount Holyoke remains committed to its historic mission as a women’s college,” the policy reads, in part. ” Yet, concepts of what it means to be a woman are not static.” It clarifies which students can apply:
*Biologically born female; identifies as a woman
*Biologically born female; identifies as a man
*Biologically born female; identifies as other/they/ze
*Biologically born female; does not identify as either woman or man
*Biologically born male; identifies as woman
*Biologically born male; identifies as other/they/ze and when “other/they” identity includes woman
*Biologically born with both male and female anatomy (Intersex); identifies as a woman”
And which cannot:
*Biologically born male; identifies as man.
For those “biologically born male; identifies as man,” this decision may be something to grapple with. But it makes sense at Mount Holyoke, where, as at many women’s colleges, these conversations are evolving.
Messages left for the theater group were not immediately returned. But Campus Reform quoted an e-mail sent from a student leader of the theater group to the campus community: “At its core, the show offers an extremely narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman … Gender is a wide and varied experience, one that cannot simply be reduced to biological or anatomical distinctions, and many of us who have participated in the show have grown increasingly uncomfortable presenting material that is inherently reductionist and exclusive.”
Students at Mount Holyoke will create their own, trans-inclusive version of the play, according to Campus Reform. (More of a dialogue?)
Meanwhile, Ensler has her own new play: “O.P.C. (Obsessive Political Correctness).”