© 2010 Karen Van Fossan
It's not the worst thing that ever happened to me – or “The Group That Opened the Box,” as a matter of fact.
Still, the girls in “The Group” were shocked. Disappointed. Angry.
They had planned to share pieces of the play we wrote together. They had planned to tell stories of teenage sexuality, BFFs, pregnancy, and sexual orientation – all with a glimmer in their eyes.
But then I got the call.
Our interview on “The Flag,” AM 1100, had been cancelled.
In fact, all the guests who'd been invited to reflect on women's lives and women's struggles – they were uninvited, too. No more show on women's issues. No more show on girls' desires.
Cancelled. Uninvited. These are euphemisms I use for the real situation:
We were censored.
By now, this is old news. It happened last Friday night, the evening before The Group's rousing performance at MSU-Moorhead.
I'm late getting the word out because of an unrelated event.
Our beloved family cat, Butterfly, died on Sunday morning. I mention Butterfly now, not because I'm asking for your compassion (though, if you have some, we would welcome it). I mention this because her death has shown me the nature of censorship itself.
In mourning the death of Butterfly, we long for many things – to feel the sweet coarseness of her fur again, to see her mottled face again, to hear her scrappy voice again.
Because our cat has died, we can no longer hear her voice.
To the living at least, the dead appear to be voiceless.
When we hear each other's voices, we affirm that we are alive. But when we are censored, when our voices are made voiceless, something within us dies.
“Ignore it, and it will go away,” as the saying goes. Ignore us, and we die, at least a little.
It is long past time for girls' voices to be revived.