The Wellness Resource Center’s annual student-run production of “The Vagina Monologues” was canceled due to concerns over a lack of inclusivity of all races, sexualities and genders. The play, originally written in 1994, features the experiences of more than 200 women — who are mostly heterosexual and cisgender — with topics like sexual abuse and sexuality.
“If there were potentially people that weren’t feeling included by it, then it’s not something that fits in the WRC,” Alison McKee, the director of the WRC, told The Temple News.
We commend the center for its consideration of diversity and LGBTQ students. Still, we wonder if the WRC could’ve taken a different approach by making the play more inclusive, instead of canceling altogether.
One of the WRC’s former events, Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, which is an international men’s march to raise awareness for sexual assault by walking in red heels, faced similar critiques for its lack of inclusivity. The center responded by renaming it “WalkTU: Engaging New Voices in Ending Sexual Violence” and inviting anyone to walk — straying from the event’s previous cisgender, male participants.
Perhaps WRC could’ve made the same effort to reimagine “The Vagina Monologues.” The WRC could’ve recruited a more diverse cast than in previous years. Sophia Wnek, a junior public relations major and the director in past years, said the cast mainly featured cisgender, white women.
The center did apply student feedback for “The Vagina Monologues” when it organized LoveTU, a new event where students will perform music, dance and spoken word poetry. But it hasn’t detailed how this event addresses past concerns about a lack of inclusivity.
A space for women to express themselves is futile if women of color and LGBTQ people can’t see themselves in it. But losing that space without an effort to adjust it to be more inclusive is a loss to the Temple community as a whole.