Mount Holyoke College, an all-women school in South Hadley, Mass., is retiring its annual performance of “The Vagina Monologues” after deeming the play insufficiently feminist, Campus Reform reports.
Performing Eve Ensler’s controversial play, which is comprised of several monologues revolving around women’s issues — and lady bits — has become an annual Valentine’s Day tradition for feminists around the world. When the play has drawn criticism, it has usually been from social conservatives who object to its lurid sexual content, in particular one monologue that positively portrays a 13-year-old girl’s rape by an older woman.
What caused the play to run afoul of Mount Holyoke’s feminists? Oddly, the fact that it revolves around vaginas.
“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,” the school’s Project Theater Board said in an email.
Replacing the play will be a new set of monologues written by students, designed to be more inclusive of transsexuals and “other identities,” such as racial minorities.
“We can’t present a show that is blatantly transphobic and treats race and homosexuality questionably, when one of the conditions of getting the rights to the show is that you can’t critique it or alter it,” one student argues on the Holyoke Confessional, an anonymous online discussion forum for the college.
How to handle transsexuality has been a major issue at women’s colleges in recent years. Last year, Mount Holyoke announced that it would begin accepting applications from biological males who identify as women, a reform that has also been adopted at several other schools.
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