When I was in college I attended a Jesuit University where the Vagina Monologues were banned.
Yep. That’s right. Banned.
I remember thinking how ridiculous it was that we were fighting for the right to put on a play which had been written years before, I in fact thought it was absurd that we needed to fight for it.
But we did.
Because on that campus, the Vagina Monologues were relevant. We needed a venue in which to talk about sexual violence and sexual assault. Our Take Back the Night event ever year was widely attended, and the room where it happened was always packed to standing room only. (A conversation to be had another time…)
But out here in the real world, outside the confines of a conservative Catholic environment, where the sexual assault policy was toothless and hurtful – does the Vagina Monologues have relevance?
My gut says no.
I think we need MORE.
And so do others.
The intersection of violence against women and the very fact of being more than just woman is important to recognize. The issues of violence against women in Native communities is one of the sections which has been critiqued by Andrea Smith, and I suggest you just go read that.
Women with disabilities are not, as far as I can recall, represented in the Vagina Monologues. As I’ve written previously on this site, people with disabilities are one of the most at risk groups when it comes to sexual assault.
Rape is a problem which affects everyone, and it does so all over the world.
Where are the stories of transpeople who have been raped as a form of gender correction?
Where are the stories from people with disabilities?
We need diversification.
That’s why I’m really pleased to hear about pieces like Nirbhaya – a play exploring issues surrounding the gang rape & murder of a woman on a bus in Delhi in 2012. The play is performed by an all Indian cast, and plays at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival through August. I heard about it from a friends mother who attended the show, and she described it as “beautiful and devastating”.
This is what we need. We need theater that explores these issues through truth. We need more inclusive, more compassionate theater.
We need intersectional theater.
These are the stories that should be told, NEW stories that reflect a generation of rapes that resonate in the souls of our peers.
The time for the Vagina Monologues is past. We need something that includes more of us. More survivors. More stories. MORE.
I hope, now that the Vagina Monologues can be performed at my alma mater, that new and more resonant pieces can be performed. I hope we find those pieces of theater and share them all across the globe.