Why I Won’t Do the Vagina Monologues

By Guest Blogger
2

I am the President of my university’s Feminist Student Alliance. Though ‘tis the season, we aren’t resuming the tradition of performing Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues.

Among the issues surrounding Vagina Monologues, I agree that it remains a hegemonic narrative of the “penis or vagina” binary. Humans are complex and we have complex expressions of reproductive organs and genitals. We each deserve a platform to talk about our unique experiences with them. It’s true that we are divided by the social hierarchies involved in sex/gender relations, which always include ethnicity, race, religion, class, and many more intersectionalities therein. The copyrighted scriptedness of the Vagina Monologues disempowers us from telling our own experiences within these social hierarchies, within our own bodies, and in our own words.

The Vagina Monologues have a great history in the feminist movement, but as movements are want to do… they move on. It is our duty as feminist scholars to be critical, even and especially of ourselves.

We need to queer the Monologues. This means rewriting the script.

My suggestion is that groups and organizations on college campuses should write their own Monologues to perform on V-days. All of our narratives are valid and unique— not just those in the societal & Vagina Monologue script. We must be our own advocates on stage in front of our peers. Let our communities know of our struggles.

2 comments

  1. “The copyrighted scriptedness of the Vagina Monologues disempowers us from telling our own experiences within these social hierarchies, within our own bodies, and in our own words.”
    The Vagina Monologues is a book and a play, so yes, there is a script. However, there are optional monologues to be performed each year, one of them being They Beat The Girl Out of My Boy Or So They Tried, which discusses the trans* politics. The Vagina Monologues is also open to ANY female-identified folk and encourages men to be involved.
    Yes, there is a script, as with any production, including those that might be considered feminist, but I cannot agree that this is a negative thing. It tells the stories of the women FROM the interviews- over 2,000 of them. It is a show created by those women’s stories. So, sure, if you want to tell your own story, you should. Put on a show, like the benefit night my VDay organization is putting on, where there is an open mic and you all talk about your experiences, but understand that the show itself is to explain where feminism was when this show started back in the 90’s. It shows movement- OUR movement- and it shows us what still prevails.
    It is not meant to tell every vagina’s story. It’s meant to open up the closed doors and get us talking, which, apparently, it has done.

  2. Hello Britni,
    I agree with what you, and I am glad that you posted this. Coincidentally (I guess sometimes its a small world even on the internet) I have been in the Vagina Monologues for three years at the FAU Jupiter campus, from 2008-2010. Especially during the last year, similar issues came up and actually prevented several students from participating due to the fact that they did not feel represented by the play. This is a HUGE problem, and it’s not where I personally want to see feminism going. C’mon we’re all about bringing marginalized voices to the center, not trying to speak for each other!!

    Having said that, we were able to raise $1,700 that year to benefit the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network, the City of Joy in the Dominican Republic of Congo, and the V-Day Haiti Rescue Fund (each got 1/3rd of the profits). I’m sure the fact that “The Vagina Monologues” is a big name played no small role in our fund raising efforts. People also trust it because their money is going towards a nationally recognized non-profit organization.

    We should start (well actually…ahem…I’m pretty busy but someone should start) a non-profit organization that was organized similarly to the V-logs but with more fluidity to the script. I’m sure there are a couple of famous, juicey, vagina-clenching monologues out there that don’t have copyright infringement policies. Throw a couple of those in there and write a couple more individually and as a group. Getting certified as a nonprofit is a big more complicated but it is doable. Perhaps it could be called “The Snatch Soliloquies”. It might not be a household name, but at least it will be a reputable place to make a donation.

    Anyway since you are at FAU I have to give you the contact information for Dr. Njambi (Jam-bee, it rhymes with zombie). She is the women’s studies professor at the Honors College, and one of my favorite people ever. You might have to email her a bazillion times before she responds. wnjambi@fau.edu

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