Williams College students have a problem with Eve Ensler and The Vagina Monologues

This past week, numerous Williams College students protested a lecture being given by Eve Ensler, playwright of the infamous Vagina Monologues, because her play allegedly . The lecture, titled “Ending Violence Against Women: The Next Rising Years,” occurred last Thursday April 23rd, amid concern from students.

Since its initial debut in 1996, The Vagina Monologues has been translated into 48 languages and been performed in over 140 countries. The play recently came under fire at Mt. Holyoke College for not being “inclusive” enough to individuals who identify as women.

According to The Williams Record, students held an event titled “There’s a Problem with Eve Ensler” in order to have an open conversation about the controversial Tony Award winner.

The description for the Facebook event states that the event was for “[a]ll students who are committed to anti-racist, anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist activism, and all students who are committed to learning more about the critiques of Eve Ensler.”

The Williams Record reports that the students’ concerns included “perceived racism, cissexism, transmisogyny and appropriation of indigenous women’s experiences, among other issues, present in Ensler’s work”.

Kate Flanagan, a main orchestrator of the event, prepared a 19-page pamphlet containing multiple criticisms of Ensler, which was distributed online and on campus. Flanagan and other students insist that their goal is not to change minds but to instead highlight criticisms of an individual who is not well-known on campus.

Flanagan noted on the “there's a problem with eve ensler [sic]” Facebook page that the event and pamphlet “advocate against "free exchange of ideas and civil discourse." In fact, the intent is the exact opposite: to promote a fuller discussion of the many criticisms of Ensler's activism, advocacy, and writing, so that students can engage in whatever ways they see fit.”

“MONOLOGUE is just a fancy word for one person talking,” says the page’s description, “and that’s pretty boring. Let’s hear from some other voices.”

Kate Flanagan and Eve Ensler could not be reached for comment before publication.

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