Vagina Monologues this year silence some women

To the Daily:

I received an e-mail regarding the upcoming production of the Vagina Monologues and quickly noticed the additional subtitle: “A Colorful Production.” As it turns out, this year’s show will consist of an all women-of-color cast, based on a belief that it is time “for women of color to have a place center stage.”

Now, I am hardly an essentialist, believing that women can come together through supposed “sisterhood,” and be united on the sole connection of their gender. Instead, I completely respect and understand the complexity lying within intersections of race and gender. I could never associate my experience as a woman to that of a woman of color, as I have an amount of undeniable privilege that comes with being white in this society. It would be offensive and ludicrous for a white actress to present any monologue intended to represent women of color.

However, there are several monologues within the production that discuss the actual biological implications of having female genitalia. These monologues, I feel, are racially anonymous and should be cast as such. Further, there are some monologues that reference several women’s personal statements about vaginas. The answers included in the monologue intend to represent a multitude of female voices, speaking about the multitude of female experiences in the world. To silence some is providing an inauthentic representation of womanhood. Lastly, there are other monologues that speak to lesbianism and rape, both of which affect women of any color. Race is not the only issue involved in removing white women from the Vagina Monologue’s cast. In actuality, you are also silencing lesbians, rape and domestic violence survivors, women of varying socioeconomic status and others who all have a stake in defining and shaping the perceptions of gender.

I ask the producers of the Vagina Monologues to reconsider their decision in casting only women of color for this year’s production. Good intentions aside, gender does not solely intersect with race, and your actions implicate such. Please consider how you are silencing numerous voices that could work in cooperation with women of color in providing a well-rounded portrayal of female experience. Thank you.

Erin Cosens

LSA junior


Affirmative action debate could stand to be more civil

To the Daily:

There has been much debate recently on this page on the issue of affirmative action. I don’t feel qualified to even present an opinion on such a contentious, nuanced issue, but I am confident in my qualifications to reject the argument presented in Nathan Broyles’s letter (Majority of affirmative-action opponents are racist, 11/01/05). His letter seems to be written at the level of name-calling. I have a few points to make.

First, being opposed to affirmative action does not imply that one is in favor of legacy admissions. As a student whose college admissions chances were most likely harmed by both of these policies, I can vouch for this personally.

Second, if Broyles really is the “first to admit” that affirmative action is flawed, why does he bear no share of the onus of developing a superior alternative? “It’s the best we got” isn’t a very good reason to support something.

Last, if the intent of affirmative action is to remove the racial divisions in our society that have been left by an ugly past, why must we continue the ugliness into the present? I am not quite naA_ve enough to think that racism doesn’t exist, but I don’t think that people who oppose affirmative action should be automatically labeled as “racist.” This is simply evidence that whether one is for or against affirmative action, it is a subject that inherently breeds controversy. There probably is no way to avoid this controversy, but there might be a way to be a bit more civil about it.

Dan Bertoni

LSA junior


Football crowd fueled up with a bit too much energy

To the Daily:

In light of the current concern about energy, one is entitled to wonder how many gallons of gasoline it takes to assemble a crowd of approximately 100,000 for a University of Michigan home football game.

There is no recycling of energy. You get to use it only once, and supplies are limited.

Is the energy required to assemble the crowd morally and ethically justifiable?

John Tanton


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