A liberal arts college in an affluent suburb of Austin, Texas has canceled a campus production of “The Vagina Monologues” because students have concluded that the play places too much emphasis on the vaginas of white women.
The site of the flap is Southwestern University, home to about 1,500 undergrads. The annual cost of tuition, fees and room and board at Southwestern is $50,090.
The complaining students say playwright Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” fails to capture the “reality of womanhood” because it predominantly presents “the white woman’s experience,” reports Campus Reform.
Instead of “The Vagina Monologues,” students at Southwestern will produce and star in another play called “We are Women.”
Southwestern sophomore Rachel Arco is organizing the substitute play.
“In creating a performance that speaks to the woman’s experience, I felt that limiting women to only Eve Ensler’s work was doing a disservice to both the women performing and to the audience at large,” Arco told The Megaphone, the campus newspaper.
“The Vagina Monologues” is a series of soliloquies designed to be read by women. Initially, Ensler performed the entire show herself. It is now common to have a number of women perform the monologues. Participants choose their monologues, so each piece isn’t necessarily used in a given production.
A sampling of the monologues on offer includes “My Angry Vagina,” “The Woman Who Loved to Make Vaginas Happy” and “The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could.”
Southwestern’s “We are Women” will be a different kind of vagina-focused theater performance, Arco explained. It will take up similar subject matter but highlight minority women as well as social justice issues.
“The monologues will include themes of race, sexual identity, menstruation, the connection women have to their vaginas and the ways in which society has attempted to make women feel shameful of their bodies,” Arco told The Megaphone.
On her Facebook page, Arco’s likes include Michelle Obama, Million Hoodies for Justice, The Rachel Maddow Show and Bernie Sanders — but also National Review.
“The experience of womanhood is not exclusive to white women and, unfortunately, the media tends to portray ‘white feminism’ as the entire essence of feminism,” Arco told Campus Reform in an email. “This is simply incorrect.”
Productions of “The Vagina Monologues” at American colleges and universities end up in the news pretty frequently.
In October 2013, a joint staging of the episodic play by Columbia University and Barnard College outlawed the vaginas of white students because, organizers said, white women and their vaginas had been overrepresented in past performances. (RELATED: White Vaginas Banned For Ivy League Production Of ‘Vagina Monologues’)Also in 2013, members of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority chapter at the University of Wisconsin-Madison allegedly disrupted a performance of the play by banging on windows and making at least one impressively bawdy gesture. (Wisconsin Sorority Girls Disrupt Performance Of ‘The Vagina Monologues’)
In 2014, no fewer than seven faculty members and other employees at a community college in New Jersey complained after they were forced to sit through a faculty member’s rendition of part of the play at a staff-wide event. (RELATED: Community College Staffers Forced To Watch ‘Vagina Monologues,’ File Complaints)
In 2015, all-female Mount Holyoke College became offended and stopped producing the play because it doesn’t include transgender students.