As a woman who believes Vagina Day is an awareness action to fight violence, I completely disagree with what went on this past week where the word ‘vagina’ became a huge topic among students at Grover Cleveland High School and was censored by Principal Bob Marks.
Vagina Day is an organized response against violence toward women. The goal is to help serve victims of rape and domestic violence in the San Fernando Valley.
The four-page V-Day edition caused pandemonium at this high school because of the reality that high school students can think at that level and be open about it. “Have a Happy Vagina Day!” read the headline, accompanied by a diagram of a vagina on the front page of the paper.
To protest their rights, staff writers entered campus with T-shirts reading “My Vagina is Obscene,” which then resulted in the involvement of teachers and parents.
Whether the word was vagina, breast, penis, heart, skin, or eyes, the fact is that the reason behind the issue was to bring awareness to a problem that should be talked about.
In the article, the students’ objectives were to inform everyone on the issue that women get raped or abused and need help. One of three women will be raped or abused in their lifetime.
Censoring the word vagina is like going back in time to the 50s where families would not even speak about a woman’s period. The purpose of Cleveland High’s newspaper was to spread awareness of its importance without being sexual and vulgar.
At this high school, was it that young students could not deal with the issue of the female anatomy, or was it the administrators could not deal with young students being that aware? We all have to be realistic of the times we are living in. We will not be able to change these times, we do not have to convert to these times either, but somehow you have to meet in between and be open to all the possibilities. Those possibilities include new ways of bringing awareness, as Vagina Day does.
Some parents and teachers supported the students’ Vagina Day article, while others condemned it. It really does come down to us humans having the right to have a choice and a voice.
Staff Writer Rachel Reyes’ mom was called to the high school, where the Dean tried to convince her to make her daughter wear the shirt inside out, but the mother responded with, “it’s her choice.” Reyes wrote the front page article.
Teachers are supposed to teach their students to be open minded and inform themselves, so what can we say about these teachers who hid the publication from students and condemned the word in school? They really did not give a logical excuse to why the word should have been censored due to its content. The issue was about Vagina Day, not sex, but teachers were ranting on how it did not go with what they stand for, which is abstinence and safe sex.
Fortunately, there were those teachers who realized the purpose of the publication and read the publication to their classes out loud.
Students are very aware and open about the reality of their lives and that involves talking about sex or the reproductive organs, even when it means they will not be lewd and sexual, which believe it or not, some students can handle to have open and productive discussions of the vagina.
Whether at school or anywhere else, people just have to respect the views of everyone and give everyone the chance to be heard. The word vagina is not a bad word, it is not dirty or vulgar and it is part of an issue that people need to get informed about. Like Reyes said, “The word still exists. My vagina is still here, everyone still has their vagina. Just because you take the paper away, (the word ‘vagina’) is not going away.”