Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.
Mayday, Mayday — apparently saying the word vagina can come with some major repercussions. Substitute teacher Allison Wint knows this too well as she was fired from her job at Harper Creek Middle School in Michigan for saying this exact word. Even though it is the nomenclature for the biological female genitalia and, you know, what nearly 50 percent of the population in the United States has. The deeply rooted fear of vaginas is so sad at this point that it's laughable.
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Wint was teaching an art history lesson to a group of eighth graders about the 20th-century artist, Georgia O’Keeffe. O'Keeffe's work is known for it's suggestive feminine imagery, so it was only fitting that Wint used the term vagina when giving her lecture. But that was enough to land her out of a job as the school’s principal, Kim Thayer, said Wint needed previous approval to use the word, due to the school's rule on the type of language being used.
“She said there are a thousand other ways to teach controversy, and that it was inappropriate,” Wint recalled to the Detroit Free Press.
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The shame that we place on the female anatomy is outlandish, to say the least. Placing censor on the body, especially that of women, is nothing new — #freethenipple, anyone?
Shielding the youth from what is natural doesn't help them, it only hinders their ability to learn. We've created such a stigma around this word that people are literally getting fired for using it — how crazy is that? We shouldn't have to feel like we need a code name for vaginas out of fear that someone will hear us and find us lewd. The hyper sexualization of women's biological body parts is one that society's created and now demonizes if other people dare talk about it. There is nothing offensive about this body part and I think that it's time that we reclaim the word for what it is: A vagina — it's just a vagina, folks.