High school is a place where students are still growing up and maturing, but they should not be restricted from freedom of speech and subject to sexism.
At Grover Cleveland High School , the school newspaper was confiscated because it had a diagram of a vagina on the front page to accompany the article on V-Day, which is a day dedicated to spreading knowledge of abuse against women. The day was created so women would not feel ashamed of their bodies and would be able to protect themselves against attackers and abuse.
Either the school’s principal, Bob Marks, has never seen “The Vagina Monologues,” or he does not understand the importance of a day like this for women.
Why should a body part be obscene? Women of all ages know about their body parts, as well as men. Students have diagrams of vaginas in their textbooks as early as fifth grade.
It’s understandable if this was an elementary school, or even a middle school. Yet, this was at a high school, with students as young as 14, and seniors nearing age 18.
What if a student wants to become a doctor one day, and their high school is telling them that medical terms are obscene? Will he or she always be afraid of saying that word in their profession?
It would be understandable as well if the issue was about sex, but it wasn’t. It was about action against abuse among women today. If any girl at Cleveland High felt ashamed about a past sexual experience, then her school’s actions will make her feel more shame and also discourage her from talking about it, which could lead to permanent trauma from the incident.
It is time to stop trying to “protect” teens from exposure to the world outside of the locked fences that surround them or, in this case, themselves.
We should not be teaching girls that they should be ashamed of what they are. We should be teaching girls to be confident and aware of their bodies. The diagram was perhaps helpful to young teens who did not yet even know about the complicated parts of the vagina.
If this newspaper issue was completely about men, would it have received the same rash response? Would a diagram and use of the word penis be considered “obscene” to a male principal?
The reason why there is not a “Penis Day” is because men do not fall victim to abuse and harassment nearly as often as women do for their gender.
Cleveland High did not want to look bad for their accreditation, but by partaking in drastic actions to do so, they look even worse.