February 17 2017
via Heat Street
by Jillian Kay Melchior
This weekend in Atlanta, theatergoers can see not only Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues but also The MANologues, a new performance about “toxic masculinity.”
“The MANologues will explore themes such as masculinity, white male privilege, everyday sexism, war, patriarchy, socialization to gender and race, intersectionality, bystander intervention, allyship, PTSD, porn addiction, mansplaining, police brutality, and more,” according to Atlanta’s Creative Loafing.
HuMAN UP, an “intersectional feminist” organization focused on gender-based violence and men, is producing the performance along with the Atlanta chapter of One Billion Rising, which was founded by the Vagina Monologues author.
Once hailed as a feminist masterpiece, the Vagina Monologues has come under fire in recent years, especially on college campuses. Critics have complained the show is insufficiently inclusive of transgender people.
For example, one American University student said last autumn that the show was problematic because it suggests “that in order to be a woman, you must have a vagina.”
Often when the Vagina Monologues is performed now, it is accompanied by new monologues about gender and sexuality. The MANologues apparently draws on that trend, discussing not only women’s bodies but also masculinity and manhood.
HuMAN UP, one of the organziations behind The MANologues, declined Heat Street’s request for an interview but said the show was “full of heart and perspective.”
On its Facebook page, HuMAN UP advertises an “intergenerational all male cast” that will “give men tools to address the micro aggressions of everyday sexism and to respectfully call out their brothers and deal with hypermasculine culture, as well as other oppressions patriarchy fosters—from racism to homophobia.”
The organization posted videos taken during rehearsals for The MANologues.
In one of them, an actor describes a fictional movie where a salesman named Mark Manstrong “says the magic words ‘Man-Up’ and transforms into the Five O’Clock Shadow, the massively muscled, deep-voiced” superhero who defends the world from “I don’t know! Feelings?”
In another video, an actor sits under a latter, berated by an unseen narrator for his lack of manliness.
The MANologues will play all weekend at the Switchyards Downtown Club in Atlanta.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.