Student newspaper editor defends vagina cover

Student newspaper editor defends vagina cover

The editor of University of Sydney student newspaper Honi Soit has responded to yesterday’s news that it had to destroy thousands of copies of its latest cover following a printing error.

The image on the cover showed the genitalia of 18 women. They were supposed to be covered by black bars (following the insistence of the Student Representative Council), but a printing error meant the blocks appeared transparent.

All 4,000 copies had to be removed from the newsstands and the cover destroyed.

Editor Hannah Ryan has a column printed in today’s Sydney Morning Herald.

She writes: “Honi has a proud history of radicalism. It is uniquely placed to run interesting, edgy material because of its student audience and the fact that it is published by a student-run organisation. We wanted to use this opportunity to do something positive for women.”

She adds: “The cover’s purpose was to help women relax. By presenting 18 different vulvas, we hoped to show our (young) women audience that their own vaginas were normal.”

Ryan describes the move to destroy the covers as “reinforcing everything we were fighting”.

“Censorship is frustrating because it gets in the way of us confronting this larger problem,” she concludes. “The intention of our cover was not to cause a stir. A vulva should be no shocking thing.” 

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