Tuesday, 29 November 2005

Don't take your vagina to the supermarket

You might be banned. Or something.

I know this is completely off topic for this blog, but I just had to post a link to this, an article about how US supermarket chain Albertson banned teen magazine Seventeen for having an article in it about vaginas.

For those of you who haven't had the luck to be initiated to Seventeen, suffice to say that it is a magazine which is so clean cut that it was allowed into the library of my school.

And my school was largely populated by fundamentalist Baptists who were pulled out of English Lit class because the books there contained too much sex. It is not on the dirty side of girls' mags by any means.

The two-page article in question, as you can read in the above article by the Guardian, is simply a straightforward article about vaginas, illustrated by an anatomical drawing and two pictures of different-sized labia.

Albertson, the supermarket chain, is a completely normal specimen of its kind. I used to shop there when I lived in the US.

I knew Americans were uptight about their bodies when people had problems saying 'vagina' out loud during a performance of The Vagina Monologues (by the way a pathetically tame play about female genitals which could only cause Western controversy in the US), but this is ridiculous.

One mum is quoted as saying "well, once their innocence is gone, it's gone." Yes, knowing what your own genitals look like is bad. Best hide all hand mirrors from curious teenage girls. Teenage pregnancies and STDs for under-seventeens (who are of course the main target market for the mag) is much better. Or at least the Bush administration appears to think so.

And it is not just tragic for a whole generation of teenagers who are raised to become walking targets for infections and single motherhood, it is tragic for women in general. This whole ordeal clearly signifies that society thinks female genitals are something people should be afraid, and possibly ashamed, of. What does that say about the US view of women in general?

It has only been banned in 12 states. Is this because Albertson's only has supermarkets in 12 states, or because people are only in denial about their daughters' (and own! teens were protesting the article too! arrgh!) vaginas in those states? Who knows. It's sad. Sad, sad and wrong.

I guess it's good that they keep on going in this direction so that the UK won't be all alone up there with it's outrageous teenage pregnancy rates. Which are obviously caused by social deprivation as much as anything else, but surely a little quality sex education wouldn't hurt.

I know I haven't said anything in here that sane people didn't know or think already, but I just had to vent.

Rant over.

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  1. I enjoyed my visit here, again.
    I wanted to stay longer, but I really do not have time. I am leaving for California (San Diego) tomorrow and I still have to finish packing!!
    I will be visiting again, once I get there.
    Hugs, Marie

  2. amen sister! i am sure Albertsons is only in 12 states. most supermarket chains in the US have regional limitations. Care to guess how many female executives Albertson's employs?


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