Is The Vagina Monologues an Anti-Feminist Play?

Jeremy Garson, Class of 2017

People who advocate for The Vagina Monologues are sending a bad message. They stand on the graves of sexual and domestic abuse victims in order to advance a political agenda. This is wrong. The play also suggests a crude message that women are an extension of their genitalia and nothing more. While it may have been written with the intention of empowering women, the production that occurs on college campuses across the country every year bizarrely thwarts these efforts by reducing women to vaginas. My mother trained and worked as a speech pathologist before dedicating her life to raising me and my four brothers. She empowered her mind with education.

Most, if not all, people will attend this play with good intentions. As an American, free speech is an important value to me, so I am excited that the actresses will have a chance to spread their message. I, too, have every right to encourage people not to go because I think the play perpetuates a narrative of helplessness that is uncharacteristic of the strong females I know. The play also demonizes men, which escalates, instead of reduces, tensions between genders. 

The worst thing that The Vagina Monologues does is masquerade as a feminist voice. It beguiles women into supporting its prose because it supposedly identifies with their cause. It does not identify with their cause. It hinders feminism and pushes it backwards. Colgate, and others who put on the play, are capable of raising money and recognizing sexual and domestic abuse in an appropriate way that empowers the totality of women. 

The bottom line is that some people will disagree with me not on the basis of facts, but by taking the stance of a bully. They will label me as sexist for expressing my stance. They will not, however, be able to show how my stance is sexist in intent – because it is not. Women and men alike are deceived by this play into thinking that it rebukes rape and sexual violence. This is anything but the case. 

The original text of this play included a scene by the author in which a woman seduces an adolescent girl with alcohol and this was not labeled as rape, but instead celebrated as empowerment. This scene, titled “The Little Coochie Snorcher that Could,” has since been edited by author Eve Ensler to remove some of the more controversial elements of the scene; but one must question the double standards she laced into the original work. 

There are alternative ways to raise money for sexual and domestic abuse that do not ironically contradict feminist agendas. The reality is that women, like men, are a sum of their entire experiences. They are not reducible to a purely sexual dimension like this play unfortunately would have you think. Finally, standing on the graves of sexual and domestic abuse victims in order to promote a political agenda is wrong, sad and disrespectful to victims.