An unknown student or students have been taking down and throwing away posters on Pacific University’s Forest Grove campus for the upcoming Center for Gender Equity (CGE) play “The Vagina Monologues.”
The play premieres March 8 in Taylor Auditorium in Marsh Hall. Jacob Coleman, a professional director who has worked with Pacific before, is directing the production.
“We’re very lucky to have him,” Martha Rampton, director of the CGE said of Coleman. “I’m really excited to see Jacob’s rendition of this.”
The poster for the play, which shows a naked woman of color with a censored vagina, has been criticized for sexualizing the female body and fetishizing people of color.
The posters, barred from university graphic boards, have been causing discussion around campus.
“We think the discussions around this poster are really important, and they will lead to philosophical discussion about free speech,” Rampton said. “As a culture, sometimes we’re offended by things, but that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be there.”
The picture featured on the poster was uploaded to the media-sharing website, WikiMedia Commons, by its subject, who invited people to use it however they wanted, according to Rampton.
Despite the controversy, Rampton wanted to be clear that the poster is not being censored by the university.
“The administration has been really cooperative,” Rampton said. “They have really taken bullets for us so many times.”
“The Vagina Monologues,” now being run at Pacific University for its seventh time, features a number of cast members who have never acted before.
“It’s more of an act of activism than it is theater,” Rampton said of the production that is fully managed by CGE.
This is the first year that the production will take place in Taylor Auditorium, chosen for its closeness to the audience.
“It’s not on a stage, it’s right there,” Rampton said.
Even though the play is titled “The Vagina Monologues,” Rampton wanted to make clear the play applies to more than those that have the titular genitalia
“We at CGE, like to talk about human beings.” Rampton said. “It’s a show about human rights.”
“The Vagina Monologues” will run on March 8, 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. and on March 11 at 2:00 p.m.
Entry is free upon presentation of a Boxer ID card at the door.