Two Winona, MN Students Suspended for Wearing Vagina Monologues Buttons
There has been very heated debate over this matter for the past two days. I've been suprised by the lack of support--particularly from people who align themselves with liberal causes.
The buttons have been called pointless, disruptive, vulgar, and a cry for attention. First of all, there is a definite point to the buttons. Women are taught from a young age to fear their vaginas. Women are encouraged by corporations and by society to hide their periods--feminine products keep getting smaller and they are even making the wrappers 'silent' now. Heaven forbid another women in a restroom hear the familiar sound of a tampax wrapper! The point is, having your period and having a vagina is natural. There is nothing gross or disgusting about it. Why are women taught to be uncomfortable about their own genitals?
Perhaps more importantly, why is a button that is counteracting such negative body image being seen as so inappropriate in a high school setting? Relatively recently, mainstream media has paid attention to the fact that teenage girls have low self-esteem and that low self-esteem can cause all kinds of problems. Teenage girls also suffer from body image issues (a direct result of media that shames the female body). Why is a teenage girl letting other teenage girls know that she loves her vagina--perhaps the most controversial and passively despised part of a young girls body--so wrong?
Because it is disruptive? People learn about vaginas in various high school level classes. The fact that women have vaginas shouldn't be a suprise to anyone in high school. People have alleged that such a button is inappropriate in a high school setting because high schools are full of horny boys. The very simple fact is that young women and girls need to deal with the fact that they have vaginas and boys don't need to be out-of-control balls of hormones.
The teenage drive for sex is due, in part, to hormones. Girls go through this too. The fact is that our society teaches young men that being sexually active and showing that you have a libido is masculine--a mark of 'true' manhood. It makes sense, given this knowledge that teenage boys, who are entering or new to manhood, would be driven to prove themselves. That doesn't make it right.
There is nothing vulgar about the word vagina in and of itself. As a matter of fact, there is nothing vulgar about sex, female desire, yeast infections, or menstruation. These are all facts of life. Vagina is not a profane word.
These girls are not treating this incident as a cry for help. Every interview has shown them to be intelligent, eloquent, and genuinely interested in the Vagina Monologues. What gives?
If a button that says "I (heart) my vagina" isn't appropriate in a high-school setting--I think the reasoning behind such a decision warrants explanation.
Granted, I do understand that Supreme Court precedents have said that public schools can control what a student can and cannot wear. Schools have a right to deem certain things obscene and deem other things acceptable. But where is the reasoning? Perhaps if someone would provide a straight-answer about why this is offensive, vulgar, or inappropriate I would be satisfied. Just because a school has the power doesn't mean they are in the right.