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01/23/2015 01:58 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2015

Why 'The Vagina Monologues' Isn't Exclusive To Women

Mount Holyoke College probably didn't know it was going to spark a national debate about "The Vagina Monologues" and womanhood when a theatre group at the all-women's school decided to cancel a performance of the acclaimed play for not being inclusive enough, specifically of transgender people.

But Laurie Essig, the director of gender, sexuality and feminist studies at Middlebury College, argued that "The Vagina Monologues" is more inclusive than some may interpret during a Thursday conversation with HuffPost Live.

"I think 'The Vagina Monologues' speak to lots of people even as they don't speak to everyone," Essig said. "I think it's important to think about they were never meant to be about what women are or even about the complexity of genders, but rather about vaginas."

Eve Ensler, the Tony-winning playwright behind "The Vagina Monologues," wrote in a Time magazine piece on Monday that she was "surprised" by Mount Holyoke's decision and reasoning because the play was "never intended to be a play about what it means to be a woman. It is and always has been a play about what it means to have a vagina. In the play, I never defined a woman as a person with a vagina."

Monica Anderson, the founder & CEO of Spectrum Queer Media, told HuffPost Live the "honoring of the vagina" isn't an exclusive practice.

"All of us came from a vagina, and the amount of violence that's targeting on vaginas is something that should concern everyone. What this play does is it elevates the conversation," Anderson said. "I feel like at Mount Holyoke, they have the right to create another monologue that really fits the spirit of who they are. I also feel like 'The Vagina Monologues' are still necessary."

Watch the full conversation about Mount Holyoke canceling The Vagina Monologues here.

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