On February 24, in honor of "V-Day," the National Council of Jewish Women's Seattle office is co-sponsoring two performances of the Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues at the Museum of History and Industry. To publicize the event, the group produced a print ad for placement in the Seattle Times, among other publications. But, much to the group's chagrin, the Times declined to run it unless the sponsors altered the artwork (pictured above) -- which they refused to do. "The artwork was something we didn't feel was appropriate for our audience," says the Times' VP of advertising, Mei-Mei Chan.
I don't know, could be the clitoris -- but that didn't stop publications like the Weekly or, tamer yet, the JT News (another of the event's sponsors) from running the ad. Nor did it stop Temple B'nai Torah and several area synagogues from prominently displaying a poster with the artwork in question in their places of worship.
"The artwork was created by a member of my congregation," says Rabbi Yohanna Kinberg of B'nai Torah, which is located in Bellevue. "We have it hanging in several places in our Temple. I was just very disappointed that the Times didn't share our appreciation for what I consider to be tasteful and beautiful artwork. It's okay for a house of worship -- I know it's hanging in many other synagogues and Jewish institutions. I have a lot of respect for the Seattle Times, so it was really surprising."
Kinberg sits on the board of directors for the local NCJW chapter, whose executive director, Lauren Simonds, says the Times' refusal to run the ad "really goes against what the Vagina Monologues is all about. It just makes [the vagina] more taboo."