Why is this still going on?
At least 10 Catholic colleges and universities will be hosting productions of The Vagina Monologues or have officially recognized student groups that are performing the play in 2014, The Cardinal Newman Society has learned. Many of the institutions with connections to the play in 2014 have reportedly hosted the play in past years, and students from at least one institution are advertising 15 years of performances.
The Monologues seriously distorts human sexuality and celebrates sinful behaviors, including lesbian activity and masturbation. One scene even declares a lesbian rape of a teenage girl her “salvation” which raised her into “a kind of heaven.” The play’s production on Catholic campuses has been criticized by several bishops.
While many Catholic institutions have not allowed the play on campus, Fr. Stephen A. Privett, S.J., the President of University of San Francisco, defended the showing of the play in a 2013 interview and seemingly compared it to a nativity play.
When asked why USF allows performances of the Monologues when other Catholic universities have banned it, Fr. Privett reportedly said: “As I tell our students, the Vagina Monologues has all the appeal of the annual grammar school Christmas pageant. It’s the same old thing year after year.”
While critics of the play have acknowledged that it is often used as a fundraiser to support women’s shelters or AIDS research, they have cited the inappropriateness of using the play as a fundraising vehicle, especially at Catholic universities.
The Newman Society has closely monitored showings of the play on Catholic campuses for several years. In 2003, the number of campuses with performances of the play reached a high of 32. The Society has discovered that at least 10 Catholic institutions are hosting or have recognized student groups performing the Monologues in 2014.
The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., confirmed to the Newman Society that the Jesuit institution will host the Monologues from February 18-19.
The Georgetown UniversityWomen’s Center in Washington, D.C., is advertising the Monologues as a “powerful performance that raises awareness about violence against women and girls.” Performances run from February 6-9. University spokesperson Rachel Pugh confirmed to the Newman Society that the performance is being sponsored by a student group called “Take Back the Night.”
DePaul University in Chicago, Ill., will be hosting the Monologues for the 15th time this year, according to a Facebook post. There will be three performances from February 14-16. On the final day of the show there will be a question and answer period with the cast about the show.
The Facebook page of the Office of Multicultural Affairs at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky., is advertising performances of the play from March 28-29. The post states that the performance is independently sponsored by the performers, but the play will be held on campus. “Each year this dynamic play is performed at Bellarmine to raise awareness and to raise funds to end violence against women,” the post states.