By MAMAMIA TEAM
The covers of 4000 copies of Honi Soit (the University of Sydney student newspaper) are about to be guillotined.
Why? Because there are pictures of vulvas on the front. You know, the body part that approximately 52% of the population has. Because OFFENSIVE.
Here’s the cover:
And this is just the censored version. If you want to see the uncensored image click here. (Warning: clicking this link is certainly not safe for work . And FYI, Mamamia would put that same disclaimer if we were showing a photo of a penis).
Here’s how the whole saga went down.
The editorial team at Honi Soit decided to publish a cover featuring a composite image of 18 different vulvas.
The cover was intended to be a protest against the inaccurate depiction of vulvas in the mainstream media. The average vulva that you see on television or in print is smooth. It is hairless. And it is labia-less. (Thanks for that, porn.)
The result? Most of us women haven’t ever seen a real vulva (other than our own).
Enter: pesky meddling student politicians with their big fat law textbooks.
The student newspaper was informed by the Student Representative Council (SRC) that they couldn’t publish the images inside the magazine – let alone on the front cover – at all. The reason? Because censorship laws in Australia say that the publishing of ‘indecent articles’ is illegal. And ‘indecent articles’ apparently include vulvas. (For more on censorship and vaginas and vulvas, click here.)
A lawyer informed the President of the SRC that publishing the pictures of vulvas was a criminal offence under section 578 of the Crimes Act and that it was punishable by up to 12 months in prison. So Honi Soit went ahead and published the cover you see above – with opaque, black boxes over the ‘indecent’ articles in question.
But due to a printing error the black boxes were not as opaque as intended, and some parts of the vulva could still be seen. And so on the Sydney University campus this afternoon it was decided that even placing, sheer black boxes over women’s non-sexually explicit body parts wasn’t ‘decent’ enough. So thousands of copies of the magazine have been pulled from shelves around campus; the covers will be guillotined.