Thursday, October 4, 2012

The "V" word

"VDAY in New Orleans 2008" event. Sm...
"VDAY in New Orleans 2008" event. Smiling woman with "I (Heart symbol) My Vagina" shirt. Photo by Jes Richardson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So is it free speech or vulgarity for a high school student to wear the word proudly?

Brianna Demato, Bisexual Queens High School Student, Sent Home For Wearing 'I Enjoy Vagina' T-Shirt

To be fair, it's more appropriate for an adult woman to proudly proclaim "I love my vagina" on her shirt than for a teenage girl to wear a shirt saying "I enjoy vagina," but either way, a word is a word.

Are you in need of a no-no word for every letter of the alphabet? I've always been one to make friends with words so I find it curious when news reports multiple issues with the same word (please see this previous post). So the word again today is "vagina." Let's everybody say it together "va-gin-a." Whether or not you happen to have one, get comfortable with the word. This is supposed to be the less connotatively-charged word, but still people get offended.

The interesting part of the article is, of course, the comments. So this is an issue of adolescent sexuality and sexual orientation and, apparently, just the fact that this girl owns such a shirt makes her mother bad??? Hmm... Is that true? Does the shirt say "I enjoy having indiscriminate sex with girls and my mother encourages me to do so?" Because that is how people are reading "I enjoy vagina," it is, without question, too distracting a shirt for the school environment.

Having gone through adolescence, I can say without hesitation that sex is not for adolescents, and that the hallmark of adolescence is ignoring the most sage advice. But, that is not really the issue here.

What is the problem with the word "vagina?" The word represents a part of a whole being. A whole being sometimes enjoys expressing what it means to be a sexual being. That may include sexual activity, but it might be just wearing a shirt that makes people laugh. To be more realistic, if I owned a sexually expressive t-shirt it would say "I enjoy minds." Would you be offended by that?

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