AU revamps Vagina Monologues to avoid 'gender binary'
- American University is changing the name of its annual Vagina Monologues performance because referencing the female anatomy implies “that in order to be a woman you must have a vagina.”
- According to one of the event's organizers, the play promotes an "antiquated way of viewing gender," and will be replaced with a new version based on student input.
American University is changing the name of its annual Vagina Monologues performance because referencing the female anatomy implies “that in order to be a woman you must have a vagina.”
The school announced the change in a campus-wide email obtained by Campus Reform, which explains that the infamous Vagina Monologues portray an “antiquated way of viewing gender.”
“The VM were revolutionary when first performed in the ‘90s, but our campus community has a more nuanced understanding of gender and sexuality than we did five years ago,” writes Kendall Baron, a member AU’s Women’s Initiative, which hosts the annual event.
Baron goes on to note that the Vagina Monologues impose the gender binary on women and uphold a definition of the human person that assumes people are nothing more than their body parts.
“The VM represents a binary representation of gender, implying that in order to be a woman you must have a vagina, which is an antiquated way of viewing gender,” she writes. “People are more than their sexual organs and have varied and personal relationships with their bodies.”
She then invites her peers to submit a monologue to be performed during the revised show, which will be called the “Breaking Ground Monologues,” saying she hopes that the modified event will “continue to make this space a place for all bodies, regardless of gender identity.”
Regarding the criteria for proposed monologues, Baron explains that the only expectation is that students discuss some subject involving their bodies, which can relate to any context, including sexuality, trauma, and even food.
“We’re asking that all monologues be written about some subject in relation to your body, in whatever way that means to you,” she continues. “Be it how you feel about your body in relation to food, or your gender identity, sexuality, or trauma. There is no right way to write this monologue.”
Campus Reform reached out to Baron for comment on the matter, and is currently awaiting a response.
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