Last year’s directors of the Vagina Monologues, Jessica Perelman ’17 and Eileen Connor ’18 have taken some time to write about why the Monologues won’t be happening on our campus this year.
This post comes as a way to continue conversations about the main subject of the Vagina Monologues- womanhood. As there have been continuous discussions in recent years about whether the Monologues should persist, this post comes not as a defense to “why” or “why not,” but mostly just to inform the wider campus community.
I don’t think it is too difficult to find the problems with the Monologues portrayal of womanhood, as it equates being a woman to having a vagina, a notion which is widely understood to be false. If this idea comes as new to you…. ??¿?¿¿?¿ The discussion of the Dialogues on this campus have also culminated in the creation of a more accepting and accessible version of the Dialogues called the Shmagina Dialogues. But of course, the fight for equity is still ongoing.
In general, this is a conversation we can all continue to learn from, and use to understand gender and sexuality in larger social contexts.
Find the previous directors story below:
The Vagina Monologues, a 1996 play by Eve Ensler, has been performed annually on our campus around Valentine’s Day for the past 10+ years. Typically, the directors pass down the show to three actors in the cast, who then direct it the following year. This year the show will not be performed on our campus. As two former directors, we wanted to explain the rationale behind this change.
In recent years, The Vagina Monologues have been met with increasing push-back around the show’s content and structure in many college communities, including our own. While directing the show last year, we made an effort to open a dialogue with cast members and other Wesleyan students around these critiques. Based on the feedback we received and our own reflections, we realized it was important to rethink the tradition of passing down the show, which we discussed with the cast. The show often sparked campus-wide conversations about sex, gender, and sexuality, which we believe are especially important at this time. We want to acknowledge the show’s absence this semester in the hopes that it will invite further critical dialogue and creative exploration of these issues.
If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to reach out to Eileen Connor (econnor[at]wesleyan[dot]edu), Jessica Perelman (jperelman[at]wesleyan[dot]edu), and Meg de Recat ’17 (mderecat[at]wesleyan[dot]edu), who co-led the student forum Beyond The Vagina Monologues with Jessica in the fall.