Sorry, feminists: your plays are too cisgender for the new generation and not inclusive enough.
According to Campus Reform, “students at Carleton College recently hosted an ‘all-gender’ rendition of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ in an effort to eschew the play’s roots in a ‘cisgender lens.'”
Despite being a feminist staple of college campuses since debuting in 1996, “The Vagina Monologues” has been routinely criticized for lack of diversity, especially with regard to transgenders. In response, Carleton College alumna Kat George created “Stripped,” which will include all genders (male, female, genderqueer, etc.) and focus on issues of social justice, microaggressions, sexual violence, domestic violence, abortion, and body image.
The show has entered its third year at Carleton College.
Speaking with Campus Reform, the show’s creator recalled her first performance of “The Vagina Monologues” and how she “didn’t see myself in it, and I didn’t see my friends in it.” She also uses the pronouns they/them a lot.
“It claims to be about celebrating vaginas, but then a lot of trans people are excluded,” said George, alleging it “portrayed a lot of white, cis, upper-class white women and it conflated women with vaginas but not all women have vaginas.”
George said the lack of representation in the show mirrored the lack of representation on campus. She created “Stripped” as part of her senior thesis project to create a show that focused on “bodies, not vaginas.”
“There’s a lot of frustration with Carleton being a predominately white institution,” said George. “As a queer person of color, non-binary, trans, I absolutely felt I wasn’t being represented in other events put on at Carleton.”
George returns to Carleton College every year to consult on the show and has been pleased with the results she sees.
“This sounds selfish, but as a low-income, first gen, non-binary, queer, neuro-divergent, afro-latinx person from New York City it feels super rewarding to recreate Stripped each year because I am finding out that I am not alone … and that there are people out there who are struggling in similar ways,” George said.
Until students come up with a more inclusive show, George will return every year to help the production of “Stripped.”
“Once the school and the student body feels like there isn’t a need for it anymore, or doesn’t want it to be around, I’ll back off. But until that happens … as long as people are supporting the work I do … I’ll continue to do it,” George said.