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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Author of "The Vagina Monologues" to support suspended girls

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Author Topic: Author of "The Vagina Monologues" to support suspended girls
-Lauren-
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http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=2939945

Three 16 year old girls were suspended from school for using the word "vagina" in an excerpt from "The Vagina Monologues" they recited at a school event last week after previously agreeing not to. The girls maintain they did nothing wrong, and that the school is overreacting to them naming a body part.

School officials maintain that it isn't because the word itself is vulgar, but that the girls were being insubordinate by using the word when they agreed not to.

Eve Ensler herself is set to talk to the school board this week, and then give a presentation with the girls at the school.

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ladydexter
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If the word in itself isn't vulgar, why did they make the girls agree not to use it in the first place, I wonder.
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plain milyeh
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is it wrong that part of my initial reaction to this was jealousy that in all my years of getting in trouble for being an ornery drama student, a world-famous playwright has never leapt to my defense?

maybe if i did that one joan mcleod bit where the girl goes on about her hymen for a while...

anyhow. yeah. this was pretty ridiculous. it's like telling a drama group they can perform "macbeth" on the condition that they don't utter the protagonist's name, 'cause, you know...curse.

[ 03-17-2007, 03:39 AM: Message edited by: plain milyeh ]

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dailicious
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(Actually, in theater lore, uttering Macbeth is only cursed if you say it while not during a production of the actual play. Sorry, theater geek here [Razz] )

To toss around a bit of other theater knowledge, really, if the school was NOT okay with the girls using the word "vagina" on stage (which we've already assessed is just plain silly), they shouldn't have been okayed to do the piece at all. As far as I know, per what is and is not allowable when it comes to performing liscenced works, any changes made to a script or in a performance (that are not left up to alteration within the script) NEED to be cleared BY the copyright/liscence owner. So, in leaving out a key word in the monologue (which, I'm sure, Eve would have never okayed being left out of her work or replaced, due to the nature and intention of the work in the first place), the monologue should have not been performed for those copyright reasons.

Really, though, the school just needs to get over themselves. Oh, heaven forbid some young children hear a correct medical term for their genitals.

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plain milyeh
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hee. curse rules can get very confusing, though. for example, does "in a production of the play" include casually reading bits of it out loud in an english class that also happens to be a theatre? i'm still not sure, although i think we remained curse-free in the end...anyhow, i did know that one is allowed to speak the name in the context of the play itself, but i felt that this vagina business was more along the lines of banning it altogether, while still having the production.

there's a lot of messed up stuff here. firstly, that they're freaking out this hard over a simple anatomy term. secondly, that they'd approve a reading of a piece while insisting that the key concept be ommitted. thirdly, from what i've read, it's not clear that the girls agreed to the request to omit the word before being given permission to perform the piece. fourthly, seriously, why can't somebody impressive come to my school and scold my principal for me some time?

the moral of the story is, schools need to either stop being so uptight about theatre stuff, or take some special classes in dealing with theatre students in a way that does not cause the school to look all mindbogglingly impaired all over the news. or a bit of both.

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ladydexter
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The point I was making, albeit in a vague, sarcastic sentence, was they didn't object to the word vagina, but they clearly said to the girls "sure you can do the production, just take that word out, okay?"

The hypocrisy has me in bits. Really. I think if some of these people had their way we'd have fannies and willies for the rest of our lives. I think even my 8 year old niece knows what a vagina is and she's not scarred for life by it.

Do they go round tippexing out the word vagina in all the biology textbooks too? I'll bet they don't. If they had such a problem with the word, they shouldn't have agreed to let them do the play at all, rather than this double-standard they've done.

Hurrah for the author getting on the soapbox, I say!

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Alice
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Yeah, I don't think the author is too keen on changing the name.

Remember this: http://www.ananova.com/news/story/sm_2194540.html?menu

[Eek!] I mean, seriously. Maybe she should have pointed her niece in the direction of scarleteen instead of trying to cover her eyes so she'd never find out what the dirty word "vagina" is.

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Heather
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The irony with any of these scenarios is that this is exactly WHY Ensler wrote the piece in the first place, because people had such a ridiculous hard time even SAYING the word vagina (which is SO clinical, so it's really so darn silly -- even vulva, the correct name for the whole female genitalia, sounds a whole lot sexier).

And this is part of why the licensing issues with the Monologues are even stricter than with many plays: not using the word vagina basically doesn't allow the play to do what the playwright intended the piece to do, very specifically.

But, of course, I'd not generally expect people who can't deal with anatomical terms or find them somehow scandalous to recognize/appreciate irony or even know what the heck it is. : [Roll Eyes] :

[ 03-17-2007, 01:37 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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mellygirl
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I can't help but wonder if this is a school where sex education is taught. My middle school taught it to us, but I moved just before 9th grade, and my new high school thought it was a scandal that I knew the word vagina. If sex ed should ever become a requirement (PLEASE!!!), what will this school do? What are they going to teach their students? They obviously can't teach them the word vagina, let alone menstruation, semen, or penis... (little bit of sarcasm here) [Roll Eyes]

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*Melanny*

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ladydexter
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My sex ed consisted of a video of a (drawn) bloke putting a condom on, and putting a condom on a banana when I was 15. Periods? Vaginas? STIs? Don't be silly!

...By the time I was 15 half my year in school were already up the spout. Methinks that was a little late...

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mellygirl
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I'm sorry, ladydexter, but I don't know what "up the spout" means... can nyou explain it to me please??

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*Melanny*

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mizchastain
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So what the hell were they supposed to call it? The Reproductive System Monologues?

quote:
I think even my 8 year old niece knows what a vagina is and she's not scarred for life by it.

I knew the word by the age of six, because my mother left her copy of "Birth To Five" lying around and it had a vivid comic-strip depiction of fertilisation. Granted, it said nothing about the actual act of sex, and that resulted in me thinking sperm were randomly secreted from the inside of the vagina until I was nine, but ... No wonder I grew up strange [Roll Eyes] But my point is, knowing the WORD didn't warp me at all. I wasn't actually all that interested in the whole thing.

Mellygirl, "up the spout" is presumably a term for being pregnant.

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mellygirl
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Ahhhh, okay. Thanks [Smile]

Like you said, knowing and saying a word doesn't mean anything but that people are informed. I wonder what would happen if someone in this school had some sort of reproductive cancer... would they be allowed to say it then?

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*Melanny*

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ladydexter
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Melly: yes, up the spout is one of the several thousand ways of saying pregnant. ^.^;;
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Irm
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quote:
So what the hell were they supposed to call it? The Reproductive System Monologues?
Thanks a lot, Miz Chas: you caused me to spew juice all over my keyboard. Didn't anyone ever tell you to hold off funny comments while people's mouths are full of liquid? :p

Anyhow- the hypocracy of this entire case is so dreadfully obvious. The lie that the punishment is based purely on the girls breaking a promise and not on the "vulgarity" of the word is entirely transparent: the school even posted a letter on their website stating that "young children were in the audience that night"! Yes, and? It doesn't matter, right? Because the word "vagina" isn't vulgar. The girls are juuust being punished for turning on their agreement. PLEASE.

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TAB
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What were they supposed to refer to it as? The *wink wink* Monlogues? The *clears throat* Monologues? The Hoo-Hoo Monologues?

Seriously, why are the adults the ones with the red faces? I thought giggling and becoming embarassed over the word 'vagina' was reserved for middle school.

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mizchastain
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quote:
the school even posted a letter on their website stating that "young children were in the audience that night"!
Am I being oldfashioned or fussy when I say that I don't think a play which talks at great length about rape and violence against women is a good thing to take small children to in the first place? It's not the language, it's the concept. Maybe I'm just overprotective of the numerous kids in my family, but I know I'd have been freaked out by it. Heck, I'm seventeen and I'm still freaked out by that sort of story. Oversensitive, possibly, but we all have our squicks. (Please don't take this to mean I'm against the play in any way. I'd say it's making a good point about difficult issues, and the girls had every right to perform it.)

I don't care about the use of the word "vagina" in front of the kids, though. They have to learn the word someday.

[ 03-24-2007, 04:29 PM: Message edited by: mizchastain ]

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