Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Vagina Monologues Include Women of Color

I have a piece up at Campus Progress today about The Vagina Monologues:
The Vagina Monologues has been performed all around the world. This year, there will be more than 3,500 productions in 70 different countries. The production has raised millions of dollars for local domestic violence groups and taken on projects for women in war-torn areas of Africa and the Middle East.

But feminists haven't always greeted The Vagina Monologues warmly. As Ashwini Hardikar pointed out in Campus Progress last year, “the show’s monologues are delivered almost exclusively through the lens of a white, upper-class, Western female perspective.” Some of the monologues Ensler added to the production, which appear in the back of her newly-released 10th anniversary version of the book, are the most violent and hardest to read. There are clues in the text that indicate the more violent roles are supposed to be played women of color: a Native American, a woman in Ukraine, a Latina, a female wearing a burqa, and a male-to-female transgender individual. Because so few women of color audition for the roles, Hardikar said, “The message to audiences was clear: Only privileged women enjoy their vaginas.”

In response to these criticisms, Young started a tour of the Vagina Monologues that is cast entirely with women of color—and extremely high profile women at that: Star Jones and Sherri Shepherd, former and current member of “The View”; Vanessa Williams of “Soul Food”; and Denise Dowse, who starred in Ray and Coach Carter. The tour begins at the Lincoln Theater in Washington D.C. this weekend and will make stops in Nashville and Detroit.

I also encourage you to read Ashwini's original story contesting that TVM are about white, privileged women.

1 comment:

La Savantress said...

Enjoyed your article today, but you failed to include the dates and times for this weekend or where to find the information! I would love to forward to more people! Thanks so much.

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