Thursday, April 21, 2005

I'm So Tired of the Vagina Monologues

I have to agree with Kimberly's post--I don't want to hear about it!

Women, you are so much more than your vaginas. And truthfully, if you're not, then what is your worth as a person, anyway? If all you are is a vagina, and we all know what a vagina is for, what's wrong with treating you like a sex object?

Back in my naive younger days, I actually thought that the women's rights or women's equality movement existed to advance women's opportunities and correct inequities. Now I see that its purposes aren't so noble--to convince women they're victims, promote a left-wing ideology, and hate men.

But on to the subject of Kimberly's post. Should girls at school really be wearing "I heart my vagina" t-shirts or pins? If so, what would truly be wrong with boys wearing "I heart your vagina, too" t-shirts? The girls are not being "empowered", they're objectifying themselves--something they'll then complain about. And the boys rightly see that they're being taunted by such shirts, and respond accordingly. For those of you who disagree that the boys are being taunted, would you think that liberal students would feel taunted and inspired to respond if a number of students wore any of the shirts listed on this page? Of course you would.

I'm not convinced that the vagina pins and shirts are appropriate for wear in public, much less at school. Notice I said appropriate, not legal. And given sexual harassment laws, which often criminalize the slightest language, word, or contact, isn't a pin glorifying your vagina crossing the line? I think that schools could reasonably assume that shirts/pins which discuss sex organs would be disruptive--but more than that, they contribute to incivility as mentioned above. Is it too much to ask that we try to create a reasonably civil atmosphere at our public schools?

Of course, we can expand the topic. Last week held the Day of Silence:

Students from more than 4,000 schools signed up for the 10th-annual National Day of Silence, organizers said. The event encourages students to take a vow of silence and to hand out cards explaining how their silence highlights the bias that often silences lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, students.

This has inspired a counter-protest of sorts, the Day of Truth:

Irked by the success of the nationwide Day of Silence, which seeks to combat anti-gay bias in schools, conservative activists are launching a counter-event this week called the Day of Truth aimed at mobilizing students who believe homosexuality is sinful.

Participating students are being offered T-shirts with the slogan "The Truth Cannot be Silenced" and cards to pass out to classmates Thursday -- the day following the Day of Silence -- declaring their unwillingness to condone "detrimental personal and social behavior."

Much like the Education Wonks, I wonder: Was there ever an era when American students viewed their high school years as a time to acquire academic skills in order to prepare themselves for college or work?

I'm not convinced our schools should be full of walking billboards for every possible viewpoint. Obviously there can be reasonable limits on the attire worn at schools. Could we all agree on no alcohol/cigarette/drug advertising, nothing which advocates violence against any person or group, and nothing that constitutes sexual harassment? I hope so. Then we'll have to negotiate over the limits of "nothing that denigrates others"--there are lots of funny shirts out there that someone could take offense to, politically or socially. Let's get some concrete rules.

But unless you want to hear me bragging about my penis, don't tell me about your vagina. Modesty and decency dictate (pardon the pun) that we keep some discussions behind closed doors.


Anonymous said...

"Women, you are so much more than your vaginas"

And the problem I have with this whole situation is that if you, or I, had a t-shirt printed up with that on it, and wore it to that school, the "empowered" girls would probably have a fit and insist that we were being demeaning/sexually harassing.

They want the right to talk about their vaginas, but I seriously doubt they want to know what everyone ELSE thinks about their vaginas. So the school should either ban the buttons or declare it open season on v-related topics!

Anonymous said...

"Just carry a ruler with your length prominently marked. Just don't lie if anyone around can challenge you."

Is it wrong that I'm actually considering this?

(On Wednesday block, mind you. Let it never be said I'm not considerate of the sensibilites of those I'm surrounded by, Mr. Miller. :-) )


Joking aside, that was... fairly all-over-the-place. Or maybe I just miss the point of the Day of Silence/Day of Truth portion because of the fact that the Baptist church has successfully made me hate humanity just a litte bit more (every time I hear anything about homosexuality being immoral I feel the need to burn an Old Testament).

As for the main point, yes, obviously there need to be some logical, hard and fast rules as to dress code in schools, and furthermore, I don't think anyone who would actually bother to put any thought into it beyond knee-jerk sentimentalism would disagree. And, for that reason, I don't really understand the point of the article (or the reason why you directed my attention toward it).

Perhaps the use of the word "vagina" that many times in a blog post has scrambled my fragile 15 year old miiiiind.

(Alright, no more, before I really embarass myself with nonsenical rambling.)

Darren said...

Much like spoken language, written and displayed language should meet some minimal level of decorum in public. I mean, what's next, "God hates fags" t-shirts? That's where I was heading with the Day of Truth.

Perhaps we shouldn't (literally) wear our beliefs on our sleeves.

EdWonk said...

As classroom teachers, our job just gets more and more difficult as we are held accountable but students and parents keep getting free passes.

I couldn't resist a post pointing back to R.o.t.L.C. and Number 2 Pencil.

Anonymous said...

This is a very good topic but the problem is that I have never seen or heard very much about this, especially at rio. Maybe I just haven't been looking hard enough. Oh well, I guess that I'll just have to keep a sharp eye out for it.

Anonymous said...

I've not seen these pins either, but I've heard of them. I think that personal expression, no matter by what means, is always appropriate. That has nothing to do with how uncomfortable certain expressions may make me, though.

Now, I'm not trying to be Mr. Liberal Tree-Hugging Commie here (even though I am ;)), but I must say that I have a serious problem with participants in the Day of Truth. The Day of Silence was not an attempt by LGBT students to lash out at any particular group or their beliefs. It was a day for them to express themselves, and to try to give other students a summarized window into their world. I am beyond disgusted by the fact that anti-gay students were so closed-minded that they had to view this day as an attack on their 'morals.' Since when is persecution moral? (I know you're not anti-gay, just want to make that clear.)

As for your "God hates fags" idea...
Well, I've heard in the past a couple of interesting quotations:
"God is dead."
"Nietzsche is dead."

You can probably see where I'm going with this...

I wish the fanatics would have taken the day as a learning experience, as it was intended, instead of another opportunity for them to contradict themselves. Darn it! When I get this upset, I don't sound my best. I'll go.

Darren said...

Spencer, in your opening graph you said that personal expression, no matter what the means, is always appropriate. Then you go on to slam the "Day of Truth" people. This sounds very much like "free speech for me, but not for thee." Don't worry, though; that's a very common belief amongst the liberal tree-hugging Commies!

I don't think all personal expression is always appropriate. Threatening someone isn't appropriate. Dropping the f-bomb in public isn't appropriate. Yelling fire in a crowded theater isn't appropriate. There need to be *reasonable* time and place restrictions placed on free expression or else civil society cannot function.

Anonymous said...

I hope that you didn't miss my point about the "Day of Truth" folks. I wasn't trying to slam them, and I suppose I wouldn't have as large a problem with them if I thought they were actually trying to express themselves instead of carry out the word of a being of questionable existence. As I said, they didn't understand the point of the Day of Silence. That's the problem I had. The media recorded the Day of Truth as a couterattack to the Day of Silence; but the Day of Silence was not an attack, so how can it have a counterattack? That's what my problem is.

All of the things you mentioned are appropriate, some just aren't polite. I don't think that politeness and appropriateness are at all the same. We can't say that everyone is allowed to express themselves, as long as it's polite. Nazis have rights too - you may recall the ACLU defended case to which I am referring. The ACLU fits perfectly here for my defense - though you may dislike them as many republicans do, they defend the rights of all the people. Though I certainly don't agree with all of the cases they take, I applaud them each time for making no exceptions. It must be a tricky job to have. But I do understand where your selective allowances for expression come from - they teach you that in the military ;).

Darren said...

I'm impressed that you're so familiar with what we're taught in the military. NOT.


EdWonk said...

Strangely, I've never heard of the ACLU defending anyones Second Amendment rights. If so, I would like to see the citation.

At my place, I've been debating a female commenter who is actually attempting to justify the girls disruptive behavior.

The lady homeschools, and is pretty cavalier about making an argument that educators shouldn't shut-down free speech in the classroom.

Darren said...

Grant that I may not criticize my neighbor until I have walked a mile in his moccasins, eh EdWonk?