Letter to the Editor: Tacklng taboos

Hatchet readers never fail to surprise. In a recent letter to the editor (“Off-color advice,” Feb. 5), GW graduate student Rania Awwad took the newspaper to task for printing “vulgar sex advice” in its new advice column. The advice in question (“Burying the Hatchet,” Jan. 25) concerned women’s orgasms and specifically, how to achieve them. The anonymous Hatchet columnist suggested several ideas, including practice via masturbation and sex toys.

Apparently, this information turned Awwad “red in the face” and spurred the letter chastising the staff of The Hatchet for poor editorial judgement. Awwad posed the question: “Is this really necessary information for the GW community to know?”

I believe it is. In as much as we recognize that The Hatchet provides different information for different types of readers, what is important to one need not be important to all. For example, I have never found much use for the sports pages, but my friends assure me they are critical. In the case of the advice column, surely far more than a handful of typical GW readers would find information on sexual matters both helpful and relevant.

As for the charge of lewdness, the evidence eludes me. The Hatchet caters to a primary audience aged 18 and up. Certainly, the great majority of its readers are mature enough to handle material of a sexual nature. They are certainly old enough to know they can turn the page and disregard it if they wish.

Finally, student journalists are frequently compelled to write about sex in far more offensive circumstances including situations of rape and sexual assault on campus. It pains me to think that instances of violence should be the only circumstances under which sex and sexuality are discussed in a college newspaper.

In running its sex-related advice, The Hatchet handled a taboo but meaningful subject with sensitivity. Its editors should be praised, not vilified.

-Gayle Horwitz

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