Loyal readers will know that my friend, Rachel Held Evans, has been pressured by her Christian publisher, Thomas Nelson, to remove the word “vagina” from her forthcoming book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband Master. The publisher, it seems, fears that Christian bookstore will not stock the book if it contains that word.
The problems with this are too numerous to enumerate. Among them:
- Many Christian (read, conservative evangelical) bookstores won’t stock her book anyway, because they’ll consider it “feminist.”
- Even if they do, they won’t sell many copies.
- Wait, there are still Christian bookstores?
- Wait, there are still bookstores?
I could go on. But there are lots of other GREAT reasons for Thomas Nelson to reconsider this decision, and they’re being posted on an Amazon petition. Like the fact that “vagina” is the least offensive term for that body part, and that speaking about the sexual organs euphemistically (“private parts”) leads to more patriarchy and more misogyny — not to mention is exacerbates evangelical fear of human sexuality.
UPDATE from Rachel here.