Vagina Monologues cancelled at Southwestern because it only offers 'white woman’s experience'

Anthony Gockowski
Investigative Reporter

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  • The annual production was cancelled after students complained it didn’t capture the “reality of womanhood.”
  • The show will be replaced with a performance of "We are Women," which focusses on "women of color."
  • Southwestern University cancelled its annual production of the “Vagina Monologues” after students complained it didn’t capture the “reality of womanhood” since it only offered “the white woman’s experience.”

    In its place, the university will host a performance of “We are Women,” which will consist predominantly of works performed by “women of color.” Consequently, organizers allege, the play “will be more representative of the experience of women.”

    “In creating a performance that speaks to the woman’s experience, I felt that limiting women to only Eve Ensler’s (author of the “Vagina Monologues”) work was doing a disservice to both the women performing and to the audience at large,” student Rachel Arco, organizer of the event, told her school’s newspaper. “In doing so, it will be more representative of the experience of women, rather than only offering the white woman’s experience.”

    A description of the production in The Megaphone describes it as an adaptation of the “Vagina Monologues” that focuses on similar themes “while emphasizing women of color.”

    “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 said.

    “We are Women” will also have a social just flair to it, according to Arco, who said the performance will address issues such as “social justice on campus” and “the importance of intersectionality.”

    “This event addresses issues of social justice on campus, for it brings to light the importance of acknowledging the dangers of gender construction, the importance of normalizing women’s bodies, the importance of intersectionality, and the cyclical violence women experience throughout their lives,” she said.

    Campus Reform reached out to Arco to ask if any white women will be allowed to perform in the show.

    "I believe that 'We are Women' more accurately portrays the experience of womanhood because it is not Eurocentric," she said in response to Campus Reform, but did not address questions about whether or not white students will perform. "The experience of womanhood is not exclusive to to white women, and unfortunately, the media tends to portray 'white feminism' as the entire essence of feminism. This is simply incorrect. Feminism must be intersectional for it to have meaning." 

    This isn’t the first time that the “Vagina Monologues,” a play about female empowerment and sexual liberty, has been kicked off a college campus for not being inclusive enough.

    Mount Holyoke College retired its annual production of the show last year because it was not inclusive of transgender students. The school’s theatre board apparently didn’t feel comfortable “presenting material that is inherently reductionist and exclusive.”

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AGockowski



    Anthony Gockowski

    Anthony Gockowski

    Investigative Reporter

    Anthony Gockowski is an Investigative Reporter for Campus Reform. He has previously worked for The Daily Caller, Intercollegiate Review, and The Catholic Spirit.

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