Is Dr. Mike Adams on the School Board or Something?

Because concern about his incredible shrinking dick is about the only reason I can see for forbidding a bunch of high school girls from using the word “vagina” during a reading of “The Vagina Monologues.”

The students, all juniors at John Jay High School, stood by their actions, saying everyone should be comfortable with the word and the female sexuality it invokes.

“We had no doubt in our minds that we were willing to be ‘insubordinate’ to do the right thing and get this word out there and we were willing to take whatever consequence,” said Hannah Levinson. The press conference was held in Levinson’s living room where all the girls were accompanied by their parents.

“It just doesn’t make sense for an administration to expect me not to talk about my body – it’s mine,” added Megan Reback.

The controversy centers around a stanza from Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues,” a book that was written in 1996 and has since been translated into 45 languages. The stanza reads: “My short skirt is a liberation flag in the women’s army. I declare these streets, any streets, my vagina’s country.”

Whoops! They said it. Now everyone will know that vaginas exist!

What really gets me is that this is going on in Katonah, not too far north of where I’m sitting. Maybe the good folk of Katonah like to pretend that if they don’t say the word “vagina,” then the girls won’t figure out they have them.* Because if they know they have them, they might use them! They might get on the Metro-North train and go into the city and who knows what kind of decadence they might get up to there!

OTOH, I do have some experience with the kind of blinders affluent parents put on when it comes to the behavior of their little darlings. Ask me sometime about the death threats my family got for going to the cops and calling parents after our house got wrecked during a high school flash party. The only parents who admitted their kids were even there, let alone involved in the destruction, were the ones who lived in welfare housing in our affluent town. The only people who said anything to me at school about it were the Madonna Wanna-bes, who were widely considered to be “bad girls,” and a kid who had a long history of being in trouble (and later raped and killed some goats at a local petting zoo). And none had been involved in the damage.**

Amusingly, the principal, in his own press conference, said that he wasn’t trying to censor the play by forbidding mention of a rather prominent word in its title, oh no!

School officials this afternoon also defended the decision to suspend the girls. They say the punishment has nothing to do with censorship, but rather is based on the students agreeing to omit the word from their presentation and then failing to honor that.

At a press event held after the girls’, Principal Rich Leprine said the school “recognizes and respects student freedom of expression,” but that the freedom is not unfettered, especially when an activity or event is open to the general community.

Here’s a hint, Rich: the play is called “The VAGINA Monologues.” You knew that. You could have said the whole thing wasn’t appropriate; you could have said that this particular excerpt wasn’t appropriate and please choose another. Instead, you tried to bowdlerize the thing and drain it of all its meaning. Because without the word, it’s just about a fashion choice.

Also? They know they have them. What might be nice is if the adults around them didn’t treat that as something shameful and something to be suppressed and something to be ignored rather than something to be owned and be proud of and to be put to one’s own uses rather than the uses of others.

Which, again, is the ENTIRE POINT OF THE PLAY.

Doofus.

Amanda and Samhita have more.

__________

*I can recall knowing what a vagina was from an early age. If I’m not mistaken, that was one of Dr. Spock’s things, giving the proper names to body parts, and my mother read Dr. Spock. Plus, my grandmother was a nurse and very no-nonsense about stuff like that.

** None of the people who apologized to me at school, that is. One of the kids whose parents did not just shut the conversation down when my mother called was caught running out of my parents’ room, which had been utterly trashed (all the contents of the drawers and closets on the floor, picture frames broken, shit left on sink). My parents wound up dropping it after the insurance company paid for the damage. And after one too many firebombing threats.


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28 comments for “Is Dr. Mike Adams on the School Board or Something?

  1. March 7, 2007 at 10:54 am

    Makes me want to wear a t-shirt that says “VAGINA” in giant sparkly letters with an arrow pointing down.

    Or something.

  2. tzs
    March 7, 2007 at 11:39 am

    Vanessa, you’ve got a great idea for a new t-shirt….anyone interested in designing something for one of those print-on-demand places, with the benefits going to Feministe?

  3. Linnaeus
    March 7, 2007 at 11:42 am

    “Vagina” is an anatomical term. I really don’t get what’s so scary about that.

  4. D
    March 7, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    Linnaeus: Its teeth.

  5. Laurie
    March 7, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    Mmmmm, I’m thinkin’ “Vagina On Board” actually. Sort of a parody of the “Baby On Board” T-shirts. :)

    Re: scary
    It’s the Latin. ‘Cause you know, us good ol’ homeboys/girls can’t possibly use correct anatomical terms for anything, y’know, *SEXUAL*. ‘Cause it’s just too embarrassing and makes us all laugh and shit.

    OK, now I have to go wash my brain. AGAIN. *sigh*

  6. Linnaeus
    March 7, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    Hmmm…I guess I’ll have to watch out for those teeth. I’ve been lucky so far.

  7. March 7, 2007 at 12:22 pm

    Linnaeus: Its teeth.

    You’re very lucky I hadn’t just taken a sip of my iced tea. You would have owed me a new keyboard.

    That aside, this whole situation is dumb.

    I remember, as a very little girl thinking I had a penis, not a vagina. Why? I thought it was the word for “That region down there where I pee from.”

    My aunt quickly corrected me. With the PROPER terminology.

  8. March 7, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    Mmmmm, I’m thinkin’ “Vagina On Board” actually. Sort of a parody of the “Baby On Board” T-shirts. :)

    o/`Vagina on board
    How I adore!
    That sign on my
    Shirt’s left side sleeeeeeve o/`

    I just wrote my first gold record!

  9. March 7, 2007 at 12:55 pm

    What next? Every time the word” breast” is written in a text, it needs to be replaced with “dirty pillow?”

  10. micheyd
    March 7, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    A great way to create unintentional hilarity is using the “find and replace” function to replace all instances of a word with another in a document. It then results in phrases like “chicken dirty pillows” for “chicken breasts” :)

    Also, every time vagina dentata is mentioned, I feel obliged to link to this.

  11. March 7, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Lesley: Haven’t you heard about the new Chicken Funbags special at KFC?

  12. randomliberal
    March 7, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    micheyd:

    Fucking hilarious. Especially since i’ve spent the past three days with the original version stuck in my head.

  13. March 7, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    micheyd:

    Thank you, that’s going to be my new wallpaper as soon as I get home.

  14. Mark S.
    March 7, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    and a kid who had a long history of being in trouble (and later raped and killed some goats at a local petting zoo)

    WTF?

  15. DDay
    March 7, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    They say the punishment has nothing to do with censorship, but rather is based on the students agreeing to omit the word from their presentation and then failing to honor that.

    I’m sure it would have been fine then for the girls to never “agree” to the censorship in the first place. Sure.

  16. March 7, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    Lesley: Haven’t you heard about the new Chicken Funbags special at KFC?

    Oh man, that would be so awesome. Would it come with a toy?

  17. Magis
    March 7, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    Since no one else has said it; I will. You never change an author’s words without their permission (or the current owner of the property). Come to think of it, you shouldn’t do it even if it’s in the public domain. Very, very, low rent.

  18. Frumious B
    March 7, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    scrotum.

    I’m reminded of a moment from my bio of sex class when the teacher was saying we teach little kids the names of all their body parts except their genitals, and saying that this was rediculous. The whole “kids might hear it” excuse is just a canard which presupposes that there is some problem with kids reading “scrotum” or hearing “vagina.” I knew both those words when I was but a wee lass. This makes me tired. Yay for those girls.

  19. Bolo
    March 7, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    Holy sh*t:

    Ask me sometime about the death threats my family got for going to the cops and calling parents after our house got wrecked during a high school flash party.

    I’ve never heard of a “flash party” before, but I guess its something similar to a flash protest? Someone texts other people to all show up somewhere at some particular time?

  20. zuzu
    March 7, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    This was 20 years ago, so I’m not sure how word got out so fast, but a small group of my brother’s friends turned into over 100 with a quickness. I was barricaded in my room with my youngest brother and the pets, and someone lobbed a glass through the window that hit my brother in the head. We couldn’t use the phone because it was busy all night, and my sister’s attempts to call the cops from work (she was at McDonald’s, and people were coming through the drive-through telling her about people pissing on the living room rug and such) were fruitless, since the cops hadn’t gotten any complaints from the neighbors.

    In retrospect, while it would have been better for the house had the party gone outside, we were lucky it rained, because surely someone would have fallen through the rotted deck rail and sued.

    Interestingly, this party was something of a turning point in parental perceptions in town. People started waking up to the fact that their kids weren’t always such angels, and the next time there was a housewrecker, the pendulum swung hard the other way.

  21. March 7, 2007 at 8:47 pm

    The principal says on the school website that the problem is that they would be uttering the foul word in front of *whispers* small children.

    My girls are 6 and 2. They both know they have vaginas and are not afraid to say so.

  22. March 7, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    and my sister’s attempts to call the cops from work (she was at McDonald’s, and people were coming through the drive-through telling her about people pissing on the living room rug and such) were fruitless, since the cops hadn’t gotten any complaints from the neighbors.

    That’s actually kind of weird, considering that my brother once successfully called the cops on his own party. The cops were a little nonplussed, but they still came out and broke things up.

  23. Lesley2
    March 7, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    I just heard one of the women interviewed by the CBC and couldn’t believe my ears. Of course the suspension will be overturned now that story is halfway around the world and the authorities are being mocked to the gills.

    “The Hoohoo Monologues”…just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  24. Kat
    March 7, 2007 at 11:07 pm

    They said that since I wasn’t actually there, I didn’t know what was going on and so they couldn’t act on it. And this was all before cell phones, so I had to keep leaving my post at the drive-thru to use the company phone to call. The boss was not pleased by this. I could not call to the house, because it was off the hook.

    I may be getting my dates mixed up here, but this incident happened before or during the time when they finally starting taking domestic incidents serioulsy in Connecticut. There was a time when if things were going on inside the house or within the family, the cops would look the other way.

    What was that case I’m thinking about where the CT woman got beaten by her husbnad while the police looked on and did not intervene?

    Cops in that state took a much more hands on approach after that landmark case.

  25. zuzu
    March 7, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    Tracey Thurman. That was in 1983. I don’t know what year the Thurman law went into effect, but I imagine it was right around the time of the party, which was in 1986 or so.

  26. March 7, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    They said that since I wasn’t actually there, I didn’t know what was going on and so they couldn’t act on it.

    Ah, okay. That makes more sense.

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