The Vagina Monologues is known for bringing support to women and is a creative outlet for women who want to share their experiences, positive or negative, about their journey of womanhood.
While the play has many supporters, there are some who do not agree with it. A number of colleges such as Mount Holyoke have even recently banned the play altogether.
A panel of four women led a discussion at Eastern Michigan University Monday concerning the controversy surrounding The Vagina Monologues.
The arguments against The Vagina Monologues ranged from simple feelings of discomfort with the performance to passionate opinions claiming that The Vagina Monologues does not equally represent all women.
The biggest problem voiced concerning The Vagina Monologues was that while the performance does represent those women who have a vagina, it does not equally represent the struggles of women who don’t, including transgender women.
Olga Savina, a second-year student from Washtenaw Community College in attendance of the discussion said that The Vagina Monologues needs to broaden its target audience.
“Maybe it’s just too geared toward women,” said Savina. “We need to broadcast these views to other groups of people too.”
Others were not so sure. James Keller, a political science major at EMU expressed his concern about broadening the stories in The Vagina Monologues.
“Women and men play specific roles in society,” said Keller. “Heavily trans stories could intimidate or take away from the women’s experience.”
Feelings of plain discomfort with The Vagina Monologues were expressed too. Some recalled specific parts of the production, which they found awkward.
It was further expressed, though, that the discomfort is part of what makes the performance so moving. Beth Currans, a professor of women’s and gender studies at EMU put an emphasis on the importance of the awkward feelings, which The Vagina Monologues incorporates.
“Discomfort can be the basis of thinking and exploring the world differently,” said Currans.
Most importantly, the panel discussed what could be done to improve The Vagina Monologues. While there were a number of suggestions discussed such as making the production more inclusive, it was ultimately concluded that before The Vagina Monologues can be changed, we must ask ourselves what exactly we want from it.