Friday, March 09, 2007

Using the word "Vagina"

I saw The Vagina Monologues for the first time last night. I read the play a few years ago, but had never seen it performed. During the play I laughed, I cried, I felt vulnerable and I felt empowered. I left the play pondering why or how the word "vagina," a body part, can evoke so much emotion and controversy. I also wondered if a play were performed about any other body part, would it have the same effect?

So, I thought it was ironic, or timely perhaps, that this morning on the Today Show there was a segment about three girls who were suspended from their high school for using the word "vagina" in an excerpt from Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monolgues during an open mic night at their high school. Check out the video for the whole story.

New Moon dealt with similar controversy when we printed “Break the Silence” in the September/October 2006 issue. In the article, Carrie Rethlefsen tells how she was suspended from her high school for wearing a pin that said, “I ♥ my vagina.” We received a lot of negative comments about the article and in response to those comments; we created this post on our blog.

However, we want to keep the conversation going.

Have you seen The Vagina Monologues? How did the play make you feel?

Do you use the word “vagina”? Why? Why not?

Why do you think “vagina” evokes so much emotion and controversy?


Use your voice and send your comments to blog@newmoon.org!

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

i think that nobody should say vagina OR penis

Anonymous said...

I use the word Vagina and Penis and I think there is nothing wrong with that.

Anonymous said...

I truly think it's an innopropiate word. Why would those girls use the word if the school had told them not to? And it is an inappropriate word. It's the exact same as Penis, it's not to be said in public.

Thanks for listening

Natalia said...

Hi, New Moon!

I read Melanie's post about The Vagina Monologues on the blog today, and I wanted to respond to her great entry.

I saw the play for the first time a few weeks ago, around Valentine's/V-Day. My initial reaction was amazement--I was amazed by how bold the play was, by how heartbreaking it was at times (especially the pieces about rape and genital mutilation in war and genocide), yet by how empowering the play was. Most of all, I was sad that the play even has to exist; it's sad that we live in a culture where there is so much humiliation and pain behind a simple body part is terrible. And the fact that a play about a female body part can have the ability to be so "controversial" says so much about our culture's ideas about women's "private parts." If male body parts are symbols of power, the vagina is, in our culture, too often associated with shame, embarassment, and secrecy. Why else would there be such strong reactions to a play that simply tells women's stories in an honest, unrestricted way?

Thanks so much for being willing to create a forum for discussing this issue. It's a brave thing to do.


Natalia

Anonymous said...

I did not enjoy the play.

Anonymous said...

I think it is a bad word.

Anonymous said...

Why should I use that word? Boys NEVER use the opposite!

Anonymous said...

I don't use that word.

Anonymous said...

I've seen the play, and I think it is a bit weird for people.

Anonymous said...

Hello those of you reading!

I think that saying "vagina" or "penis" in public is a bit strange and its propaly best not to. But with your mom, dad, or guardien is perfectly fine. And with your friends too.
Thanks for reading.
Sydney

Samadi said...

I think that the whole subject of that play is good for girls to know about just in general, because all the vagina is, is just another part of the human body for a female!! What does it really matter if someone wants to where it on a tee-shirt or a pin??

Black Rose said...

I think saying vagina is ok
because all it is, is a body part.

Anonymous said...

It's just a part of your body... merely a scientific world. I think it has become a bad world because our society is very private and people don't here it often, making it strange. I wouldn't scream "VAGINA" in public, but I might use it in a quiet conversation. But I wouldn't scream "EYEBALL" either. It is all relative.