So, three high school honor students were suspended for uttering the word "vagina" at a school talent show. It seems the administration felt it would be traumatic for the attendees to hear this word, despite the fact that about half of them were carrying one in their pants that very night. So in anticipation of the event, the school told the performers they could do their reading from The Vagina Monologues, but they couldn't say the word "vagina." They said it, and they were suspended.
According to AP, "Principal Richard Leprine said Tuesday that the girls were punished not because of what they said but because they disobeyed orders not to say it." Oooooh, OK then. Dick Leprine (may I call him Dick? I think I may) is clearly a legal genius. If only he'd been around during those pesky Vietnam protests that culminated in Tinker v. Des Moines - see, the students aren't being punished for saying something - nonononono, that would be suppression of free speech. They are being punished for disobeying an order not to say the word, so everything is peachy keen with the Bill of Rights. Is this George Orwell High School?
I guess we're all just lucky the girls didn't offer a different portion of Eve Ensler's show, in which she intensely repeats, "Cunt . . . CUNT . . . cuuuuuuunt."
In related news, a theater in Florida (where else?) changed the title of Ensler's play to "The Hoohaa Monologues," after receiving a complaint from a passing motorist. Get this: the woman said she drove past the sign, and her niece asked what "vagina" meant, and that she was offended she had to answer that question from the child. Hell yeah, I'd be offended, too - offended that a kid old enough to read, and in possession of a vagina herself, didn't know the correct word for it. But clearly that is not the source of this phobic ninny's complaint. She evidently thinks no one should talk about such a dirty, evil, disgusting organ.
All this hysteria (new spin on that etymology!) ties in well with a little movie we just rented, This Film Is Not Yet Rated. It's not a fantastic movie, but it does highlight the fact that the MPAA, the de facto gatekeeper of movie distribution, seems to really hate vaginas. Well, really the whole related area, and its most popular use. You can show people having their brains blown out, being eaten alive by zombies or monsters, getting hung on meat hooks or having their nipples ripped off, and get an R rating. But, if you show female pubes in a sexual situation, you get an NC-17, and your movie makes no money because few theaters will show it. HEAVEN FORBID you should show someone going down on a girl, and the girl liking it. If people under 17 see such things, our civilization will collapse. It's a well known fact that kids do everything they see in movies, and we don't want our children having good sex. Please confine their viewing to shootings, stabbings, chainsaw massacres, and flayings. Heterosexual rape is OK as long as it's clear the victim is not enjoying any sexual pleasure. In this way, our children will remain innocent, and our girls will remain virginal until marriage, which is the most important thing, after all.
Seriously, what is going on with this weird phobia of the human body, never mind human sexuality? People have parts, and they have names. Are we so infantile as a culture that we can't bear to say "vagina" without at least giggling, if not outright fainting? Or is it indeed a perverse desire to keep teenagers from knowing about sex, in the patently stupid hope that then they will never have sex? And if so, why is the very word "vagina" so verboten? Sure, sex often involves vaginas, but plenty of vaginas exist sex-free. Most of us came through one to get here, for Pete's sake! Can we not simply acknowledge their existence, using a legitimate biological term? Apparently, many people still can't, and that's both frightening and sad.