The University of Sydney is dealing with an X-rated controversy caused by its student newspaper, which deliberately printed pictures of 18 students’ vaginas on its frontpage cover on Wednesday.
The student government, which officially publishes the paper, had learned about the planned cover ahead of time, and asked the editors of Honi Soit to censor the vaginas — the labias and clitorises, at least — by drawing black bars over them. Australia’s obscenity laws prohibit the publication of indecent images.
But the bars weren’t dark enough, and the printed covers left little to the imagination. (NSFW: Censored and uncensored versions of the cover can be found here.)
Honi Soit’s editors said the entire project was intended as a protest against the idea of the vagina as an indecent image.
“Here they are, flaps and all,” wrote the editors on the newspaper’s Facebook page. “Don’t you dare tell me my body offends you.”
The editors also described the obscenity law as “ridiculous,” in an online editorial.
The 18 women who participated in the cover shoot were all students at Sydney. Letting the newspaper take close-up shots of their vaginas and then publish the pictures was a liberating experience, the women said.
“It was a big ‘fuck you’ to all of the ideals, all of the shame, all of the hurtful lies that we are told about ourselves day in and day out,” said an anonymous student who posed for the cover.
Whether the university or the government will take action against Honi Soit is currently unknown.
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