The Center for Gender Equity (CGE) hosted its showing of Eve Ensler’s, “The Vagina Monologues” on March 8. This was after receiving scrutiny for their controversial event flyer, portraying a naked woman with a vagina symbol covering her genitals. The depiction resulted in the removal of many of the posters around campus causing an uproar from various groups at Pacific University. Who removed the posters has been left to heavy speculation, as rumors have pointed fingers at both students and administration for censoring the advertisement.
Honestly, it is a disappointment the CGE had to succumb to this type of brash censorship because it appears the person who took these posters down failed to realize the meaning behind the play in the first place. Are we so afraid of our sex organs that any portrayal of them is considered offensive? What about art?
The Statue of David vividly depicts a man’s penis, yet people glorify it. There are multiple historic paintings, which involve women’s breasts, and we do not question them for their lack of purity. Plain and simple, sex happens. It is the reason we all exist today. Unfortunately, our society has a very gender specific slant when it comes to discussing sex and that is why the play is very popular because it portrays sex from the woman’s perspective as well as discuss issues such as sexual violence and body insecurities.
Another reason why the posters were supposedly taken down was because they portrayed the “ideal” woman’s body, which could be seen as contradictory to the play’s premise. However, I highly doubt the individual who made the poster thought about this while creating it. They probably felt their idea was creative and the image selected was one that would work well in the poster outline. To believe someone chose an image with the intention to shame other people on campus is completely far-fetched, especially a member of the CGE.
I also find it comical this was the illustration that offended so many, considering our campus hosts a vibrator and sex toy show in the University Center every Valentine’s Day. And earlier this year there was an event titled “Noods + Nudes,” which involved students drawing pictures of half-naked models and eating pasta.
If we allow these events, what is so wrong with a risqué advertisement for this very popular annual play? If CGE is hosting the event, they have every right to express their production in the way they see fit. Limiting their advertisement was an extreme violation of their freedom of expression and undermines the open-minded nature of our university.