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ISSUE 117 VOL 13 PUBLISHED 3/12/2004

By Melanie Meinzer
Contributing Writer

Friday, March 12, 2004

Dear Mess Editors,

There was a booth selling chocolate vaginas outside Stav Hall last week. I immediately understood that a feminist group was behind this, but their message was not so recognizable. Who else could sell chocolate vaginas outside Stav and get away with it? Who in their right mind would advertise these chocolates with the phrase, "If you can't get some, buy some? I believe that with the most recent Vagina Week advertisements, the St. Olaf feminists have given their target audience the worst view possible of feminists and their goals. The Vagina Campaign, spurred on by the production of the Vagina Monologues, clings to shock value to attract an audience for the show and who will listen to their opinions. I understand the argument that this is the best way to gain listeners for what many people may write off as a clichéd argument for women's rights, but the only product of a poster plastered with the words cunt and vagina is a desire to know what titillating thing is going on at St. Olaf. To reference one example again, the posters used to sell the vagina chocolates also said, "melts in your mouth, not in your hand." If alluding to oral sex and being able to "buy some" vaginas attracts an audience, I would argue that you have attracted the wrong people to seriously talk to about equality. The immediate message from a walk around campus is one that enforces gender boundaries and further alienates people who might support this cause. An in-your-face sign at a table does not give me an understanding on the myriad of phallic symbols in culture, the unfair meanings attached to cunt, or the lack of knowledge females have about their body parts. It makes me categorize the people behind that table as obnoxiously vulgar, even though, after researching, I realized I was in full support of their cause.

Or maybe the campaign has worked; did you notice how many times I said vagina in this letter? Are we now more comfortable with the word, or just enjoying another excuse to openly mention sex, everybody's favorite thing to giggle about? The campaign would destroy the stigma attached to the words vagina and cunt, but for now that stigmata still exists and a more diplomatic presentation is necessary.

 Grant Randall 07

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