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back to article Trio suspended for putting 'vagina' into Monologues

Three high school students in the US have been suspended from school for saying "vagina". This sounds silly, but gets even sillier when you learn that they said the word during a reading of "The Vagina Monologues". The John Jay High School in New York state says that the girls have not been punished for using the word, but …

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Typical yank stupidity

I wish I could say I was even surprised but the USA is a nation obsessed with sex and a hypocritical morality based almost exclusively around the issue.

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Bronze badge

It's not quite as simple as that...

I was ready to send this article to my daughters, both of whom have produced this play at uni. But then I thought I'd look into it a bit further....

It was not a performance of the play. It was an "open-mic" evening, in front of an audience with several young people in it. The girls had been told that the reading that they had proposed was inappropriate (which it was - the play is definitely an adult play, and not suitable for children). They agreed not to do the reading - and then did it anyway.

I think that a day's suspension for deliberate disobedience of a principal's reasonable request is not that unreasonable.

It's not a matter of free speech. It's a matter of appropriateness at school in front of a young audience.

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Unsurprising

I have promoted (the official) Vagina Monologues in the UK and it is a marketing nightmare. Apparently it's virtually impossible to even put on a performance in the USA, because nowhere will allow you to put up posters...

The posters aren't too much of an issue here, but try sending an email mailing about it... or getting radio coverage or advertising... perhaps Eve Ensler should have called it the Woo Woo Monologues or something equally banal.

Damn good show though... or so my female friends tell me.

Still, I take it a certain word beginning with C is considered less offensive in the USA than it is here, maybe they should use that instead!

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USA, the land of the free.....

Suspended for mentioning a body part in the context of reading a play to a High School and older audience?

What was the principle's problem, was he worried that the women in the audience may realise they have one or that the guys in the audience might want one?

It must be wonderful to live in "The Land Of The Free."

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WTF?

Vagina, vagina, vagina!

Are women's genitals considered dirty and taboo by Americans?

Clitoris, Grafenberg spot, labia, urethra, perineum to the lot of them!

Nick - female lover

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Uh-huh.

Principal Richard, putting the letter ‘R’ in Retarded.

Maybe he’d confused the play with Macbeth…

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God Forbid

As a Canadian from pioneer stock on both sides I grew up well versed in the ways of my American cousins. My mother's people landed at Ellis Island, traveled west, dropping off a horde of German immigrant farmers in the Dakotas before turning north into Canada. Following upon 9/11 I stopped visiting the U.S. The neocons used the attack on the Towers to declare a War on Terror (for the children) that gave them nearly unfettered political power. The evangelical Christians that propagate the patriarchal, sexually perverse crusade against free speech have gained an unhealthy, disproportionate amount of political clout. As a child of the left leaning, cultural mosaic that imbues Canadian political life I no longer consider it prudent to travel in the U.S.

Freedom of expression in the U.S. has struggled against a mentality that in the 40's and 50's proudly branded 'pornography', exemplified by works such as those of the American expatriate Henry Miller, as 'Banned in Boston'. For two decades in the 60's and 70's America struggled to embraced freedom of expression. Regan in the 80's began the neocons push to reassert the righteous fear of human sexuality. Bush in the White House is the culmination of that power grab. Attorney General John Ashcroft perhaps best portrayed the state of affairs when he asked that the partially nude, female statue of the Spirit of Justice be covered. It's fascinatingly funny that the world ending military might of the U.S. and it's government seems to run in abject fear of a woman's nipple. Manly men stripped down to shorts proudly strut across the screen saving the world from terrorists, gangsters and alien invaders, and it's deemed well and good every red blooded American boy should soak it all up; but show a woman's nipple and the rating on a film goes from OK for the kids to borderline pornography.

The stone age treatment of women by Islam is curiously aligned to the U.S. neocons' fear of a women's nipple and genitalia. Perhaps in terms of the two patriarchal antagonists joined in the War on Terror the U.S. might revisit Pogo's insightful comment: "We have met the enemy and he is us."

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Anonymous Coward

US Bashing

With a population of over 300 million(recorded) and an area of

9.6 million sq. Kilometers, this is more than likely indicitive of one of the many diverse communities in the us. Having graduated over 10 years ago, I can say that vaginas were alive and healthy in my school. In fact, they were alive and healthy in 1950's Public Health reels in theatres. The beauty about our country is when a group of like minded individuals congregate together in a town, they are able craft their own local sphere of reality. In this case that of an oppressive puritanical most likely paedophelic uncle. This will teach the girls however what the system is like, and that they should shave their heads and move to new york to protest said system.

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Read the statement before criticising.

"Suspended for mentioning a body part in the context of reading a play to a High School and older audience?"

No. Suspended for going back on their word and springing possibly inappropriate material un unsuspecting pre-teens.

Read the announcement. You're just as bad as you claim the Americans are, otherwise. Smug, self-righteous bigotted cynics.

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Silver badge

In other news...

An entire English Literature class was suspended for violating the school's no-tolerance policies towards threats of dismemberment, self-mutilation and insensitivity to amputees everywhere. It seems that the offense occurred during a class assignment to read "A Farewell to Arms".

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you people are retarded

first of all, i think its great how you people are so fast to demean an entire nation over the actions of a single school official, in one state, out of 50 states, 50 states that make their own laws... i really love how this article was so quickly twisted by one reader and turned in to something about 9/11, WTF?

Second, the only real criminal in this whole ordeal is the reporter / author of this story, if anyone should be held accountable for their actions, its should be the media, for reporting half truths and twisting stories to suit their agenda.

And lastly, if those girls made an agreement not to read that play due to you children present, prior to the event taking place, in my eyes, a one day suspension is letting them off easy, their actions show that have no respect for school officials, or for the people and their young children attending the play. i would have given them an entire week off for it.

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Hold On A Minute...

First of all, how many pre-teens are going to understand what a vagina is? Anyone remember the old Bugs Bunny and Road Runner cartoons with all the inuendo? When we were young, all that stuff just flew right over our heads. It wasn't until we grew up that we got it and giggled wildly over it.

Secondly, don't judge all of us here in the USA by the actions of one idiot. This principal does not represent even all principals here, let alone all citizens. (Same goes for the president-select, btw.) Some of us - hopefully many of us - have more sense and recognize that this incident is stupidity unrestrained.

Then again, this is the country that got bent out of shape over seeing Janet Jackson's nipple during a "costume malfunction" and said nary a word about the stage violence that precipitated the incident. *sigh*

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Anonymous Coward

Hack journalism

This is hack journalism at its worst. Having looked into the details of what happened, Martin Benson is quite right.

You have half-reported and twisted this story simply to try and make Americans look stupid (and I'm British, by the way).

It's very unprofessional (and while I'm here, it's "playwright", not "playwrite").

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Sanity please

For gods sake ! This is just rebellious/naughty adolescent behaviour.

Regardless of any 'American' attitudes to sexuality, these are a couple of girls who did the usual ' lets rebel' thing that teens everywhere do. In twenty years time they will be pushing their rugrats round the mall just like all their classmates. We all did the rebel thing and we all made arses of ourselves in the process. Its called growing up.

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Anonymous Coward

Return to the Dark Ages

I have three young children who have vaginas.

I assume said High School principal would rather I kept my children in the dark on the subject of the proper names for their biological components.

And presumably I should be teaching them "creationist science" while I'm at it?

My Dark Secret: I have banned US TV shows in my house - I aim to censor gratuitous violence from my children's lives as much as possible........novel idea, I know......

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Anonymous Coward

The [insert your evil demon here] is in the details?

The youngest people in the audience were high school freshmen. Add to that the fact that "another student wasn’t challenged for using the “F word” during his reading the same night" and one begins to wonder why this guy got his panties in a twist over vagina. How can Dick ask the girls to refrain from saying vagina 'for the sake of the chitlin in the audience' and not another act to abstain from the use of the word fuck? Last time I checked, the latter verb typically involves of the former noun.

The question revolves on what happened, if it was a promise that was broken, then welcome to the real world Principal Dick, sometimes promises are broken and wishes don't come true. If the promise was solicited ahead of time, he should be ashamed, if not dismissed, for having a sexist bias or being negligent and not soliciting the same promise from "F word" boy.

That said, it seems there are an awful lot of radicals here that to easily paint with a broad brush on both sides. I don't recall reading anything about Ashcroft in the article nor did I see any of the reporters using that broad brush.

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Thanks for the true story

Big thanks to Martin Benson for actually bothering to find out the truth behind this story, it's nice to see someone actually bothering with facts!

And to Lucy, you should he ashamed of yourself for writing such an article. Stories that badly researched belong in The Sun or Daily Sport, not on the reg. Over many years readying the Register I've come to expect a decent level of accuracy with the articles I read, but this just lets the side down. There are many sources of information on the net, where if I see something written I'll go and check the facts elsewhere, but the Reg isn't normally one of them. Perhaps I'll have to change that now, and start treating things I read here with the same level of trust I give to Wikipedia.

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