Update: 'Vagina Monologues' author says students are wrong, play still relevant

  • The author of the Vagina Monologues has rebuked an all-women's college for retiring the play for not being feminist enough.
  • In a statement to The Guardian, Eve Ensler, the play's feminist author, said the play is not "outdated."

After Mount Holyoke College students decided to discontinue their annual production of The Vagina Monologues because it allegedly was not inclusive of transgender women, the author of the popular play is speaking out against the students’ accusations.

Eve Ensler, the play’s feminist author, explained her thoughts on comments made by students at the all-women’s college that led to the plays “retirement,” as originally reported by Campus Reform

“It was a play about what it means to have a vagina. It never said, for example, the definition of a woman is someone who has a vagina."   

“I would like to believe the play is outdated but sadly it isn’t,” Ensler told The Guardian. “It was a play about what it means to have a vagina. It never said, for example, the definition of a woman is someone who has a vagina…I think that’s a really important distinction.”

On Monday Ensler wrote an opinion piece about the incident in Time, where she confirmed her thoughts behind the play’s statement on womanhood.

The Vagina Monologues never intended to be a play about what it means to be a woman,” Ensler wrote. “It is and always has been a play about what it means to have a vagina. In the play, I never defined a woman as a person with a vagina.”

Since Campus Reform broke the story, there have been varying views on campus from students and alumni. One alumnae, Sarah Gawn, shared her dismay over the cancellation of the performance on Mount Holyoke’s Facebook page.

The Vagina Monologues is a problematic show for many reasons,” Gawn said. “But still an important one, and one that belongs at a women's college. The Vagina Monolouges is less about vagina's and more about the experience of being a woman, an experience that trans women understand.”

Mount Holyoke released statements on its website and in the comments section of the original article on Campus Reform.

“The College Reform [sic] story incorrectly states that a video about Mount Holyoke’s policy on the admission of transgender students was circulated by the College,” the statement posted on Campus Reform said.

Mount Holyoke President Lynn Pasquerella appeared in the video, which was noted in the Campus Reform piece, voicing her views on what it means to be a woman. The video was also shared and promoted via social media by many within the school’s administration.

The college also says that it had no role in promoting the retirement of the play or in any of the actions reciprocated by the student group.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @y_mdbailey

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