Michigan Vaginas


I’ve been thinking for awhile that I might want to attempt to get involved in the University of Michigan production of The Vagina Monologues as a stage hand or web designer or whatever they could use me for. Yesterday, by complete chance, I picked up a copy of the Michigan Daily for the first time. In it was a letter to the editor, which made me very sad. It seems that this year, the organizers of The Vagina Monologues are looking to have an “all women-of-color” cast, at the total exclusion of white women.
My reaction to that is the same as the author of the letter — striving for diversity is a wonderfully noble thing to do, but this is not a show about race. Excluding all white women means excluding other women who might also be a minority of some kind that generally benefit from this show: lesbians, lower income individuals, and, most importantly for this play, women who have been victims of sexual violence.
I’ve tried to contact the Michigan campus coordinator to see if perhaps this is all a misunderstanding and they are merely trying to increase the diversity of the cast. To make my stance clear — I’ve never intended to audition for the show here, as I’ve had my opportunities to be in the show (twice) at MIT. Thus, I don’t feel that I am personally being slighted. But it does anger me to think that women I have known who have greatly benefitted from being in the show wouldn’t even be allowed to audition here.


3 responses »

  1. Hmm. I kind of feel like if the local Vagina Monologues scene was very saturated, then this wouldn’t be so bad… like if such a performance existed but there were other groups nearby open to the same community that didn’t have this policy. I dunno though.

  2. To my knowledge, there aren’t any other such events open to University of Michigan students. There is an event in Ypsilanti, MI at Eastern Michigan University, but as it’s a college campaign, I think the rules state that they must draw from their own university first.
    I did hear back from the Michigan producer and they are working with the V-Day people to make sure that their policy falls within the official guidelines. I may ultimately disagree with them, but I guess I have to respect that they are at least trying to go about this the right way.

  3. hmm. maybe what i meant was more like: as a *performance*, this seems like a perfectly fine idea.
    but as a community collective creative experience or whatever, this is exclusionary and lame.

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