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Explaining ‘Vagina’

Observer Viewpoint | Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Ah, Notre Dame. The place where children toss footballs with their fathers on Saturday football game days, donning Irish jerseys way too big for some football players. The place where young boys and girls from the South Bend community come, their heads pointed upward in amazement at the beauty that is the Golden Dome and the gorgeous landscape.

Notre Dame, the place where family and friends visit to see their darling sons and daughters and brothers and sisters. Notre Dame, the place where you sit down at a dining hall table to see the word “VAGINA” in 42-sized font capital letters, reminding us it’s “time to COME again.”

Yep, the Vagina Monologues are back in town. And conveniently, so will my 10-year-old brother.

I can’t wait to show him around campus, let him see the JACC and then take him to eat in one of our dining halls.

Oh wait, I can’t.

Why not? Perhaps because my 10-year-old brother, a week after witnessing Janet Jackson’s star-studded breast on national TV, can’t help but notice the red, eye-catching advertisement with “VAGINA” text in front of his very eyes.

(“Oh, it’s okay Sean, they spelled China incorrectly.”)

(“It’s the name of a famous performer, Sean.”)

This is Notre Dame, the place where, for class business projects, students must run by any and every idea for advertising past the Student Activities Office.

If I wanted to sell shirts around campus with a beer logo, I couldn’t — too suggestive of underage drinking. If I wanted to sell shirts with lewd or sexual slogans across them, I couldn’t — too indecent.

And that’s why it all makes perfect sense why our Department of Gender Studies can issue an advertisement in our own dining halls luring us to “come” and celebrate the highly uncontroversial issue of a woman’s genitals.

Hooray, everyone say “VAGINA!”

Join in, Sean. It’s okay, I know you’re 10, but sooner or later everybody will be doing it. Why pursue decency, Sean? One of the most respected Catholic institutions in America doesn’t.

Our administration has done a fantastic job of maintaining the old “family environment” feel – let’s give them a raise. And oh yeah, Sean, tell your alumni parents to contribute an extra dollar, too.

Ricky McRoskeysophomoreKnott HallFeb. 4