Thursday, February 08, 2007

I Have a Vagina and I Know How to Use it!

Aw hell, this is another girl-talk post, so if you're not of the girly persuasion, run far far away. I'm opening up my own can of Whup-Ass right here and right now.

Maybe it's because I'm an adoptee from the Secrets and Lies era, but those who try to impose a false sense of shame on others really piss me off.

They piss me off with sprinkles on top.

I guess I can blame RootieToot over at Because it's Personal, that's Why!

Well not really. But sort of. She's been making me think about a lot of stuff lately.

If you aren't a regular reader of Rootie's blog, I highly recommend it. She's not afraid to mull over her own warts, and I can't tell you how often her truth as a woman, a wife and a mom has reared up and slapped me in the face. My admiration for her is boundless.

In the last couple of months, Rootie has been dipping her toe into uncharted waters and reading some more radical feminist blogs. As a highly-educated woman who made her own decision to stay at home and raise a family instead of pursuing her chosen career, she fairly compares her choices and has written extensively about it. If you've got the time, go there and read back----she's a fabulous writer who gets to the quick of things without any falderal!

That said, she recently wrote a post called Rootie, Housewife and Proud of it about women tearing each other down. Near the end, she wrote a call to action for women to support each other. This has been sticking in my mind:

"So, ladies, how about this. I propose that we, as a feminine collective, use our awesome power to, o...I each other up?"

You Go, Girl!

Last night I read an article that struck a nerve.

In Atlantic Beach, a driver was offended by seeing a marquee on a theater that announced the showing of the acclaimed play "The Vagina Monologues". Apparently her niece, who was in the car with her, asked what "vagina" meant, and she raised a huge stink about it.

When an employee from the theater asked the woman what she told her niece, she said, "I'm offended I had to answer the question".

So the theater changed the marquee to say "The Hoohaa Monologues".

Ok, the theater admits that they found this complaint weird and funny and did this partially because publicity doesn't hurt, but also because they didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. The play was a charity fundraiser.

But I'm wondering about the driver, and the other parents who said they "applaud the change".


In my opinion, if the kid is old enough to read the word "vagina", she is old enough to know that she has one.

What in the world have they been calling "it" at her house? Why is teaching a girl-child the correct terminology for a potentially joyous and life-giving part of her body a taboo?

I love my boys. I love being a mom to my boys. One thing we've tried to teach them is to be respectful to others. My husband sets a fabulous example. He is a gentle and courteous man who would never try to demean me or any other being.

The guys know the clinical stuff. To quote the movie Kindergarten Cop, "Boys have a penis, girls have a vagina!"

Well yes, yes we do. And it's nothing to be ashamed of. It's how we are made.

Over the years, my guys have come to me, asking for explanations for terms they heard at school and didn't understand.

Mom, what's a tw*t? Am I allowed to say that?

We've had discussions about how certain words are used to be hurtful to others, and how they don't like it much when others use hurtful words to describe them.

The other day, while searching for a particular word (I admit it---I was searching for an alternative to the word "b*tch"), I typed "euphemism" in my search bar.

One of the top results was "Muffy's World of Vagina Euphemisms". I'm not going to link the site, so if you want to see it, you can Google it yourself.

After reading this article, I went back. Inside are over 450----yes I counted---words used to describe a vagina. The majority of them are pretty nasty. And not one of them is the actual word.

I lost count at "festering wound" and then at "cum dumpster". I just couldn't read any more.

I wrote a post last year called My Very Own Vagina Monologue about a couple of women I thought felt a little TOO comfortable with their own personal parts, and somehow expected others to be as well.

In my opinion, there's a nice wide zone between feeling shame about our bodies and putting it all out there.

I think if that aunt really cared about her niece, she would have started a dialog with the girl and her parents when she took the kid home instead of complaining to the theater for "offending" her.

It's their job to help that girl-child grow up with a healthy respect for her own body and all of its parts.

There is nothing shameful about having and correctly naming the equipment. Or do they expect her to call it her "Easy Bake Oven" for the rest of her life?

Sheesh! Some people!


Myron said...

Okay, so I don't have one. But what you said applies to those of us you may consider vagina-challenged as well. It's all about respect. Respect for ourselves and respect for others as human beings, not respect for our worldly achievements or lack thereof.

Mamma said...

You're a wise, wise woman and I couldn't agree more!!!

I don't understand people who feel the need to shroud their body in the vernacular or worse.

You could get me started off on a whole other rant I've been working up on our need to act like sex doesn't exist as it oozes out of every unhealthy pore of our society.

Beth said...

Fabulous post. I too have boys and I was the parent who had the "sex-ed" talk with each of them. (Not sure why my husband wimped out - he's been great ever since.) Actually, I'm glad the talk came from me - from a female point of view. I think it was a plus in terms of them learning respect for a woman's body. They learned the proper names for everything. I knew they'd hear the slang later.
That poor little girl. What an great opportunity lost to answer an important question. Instead, big time publicity in town.
I'm going to check out that link - but I'm not gonna Google for the 450 slang terms.

carmachu said...

I may not have one, but have to go with you there. if their old enough to read the word, their old enough to get the explination. It doesnt have to be a long one, but it has to be done.

I like the kindgarden cop anology. Sarah knows it. She knows the basic idea of all the parts.

they'll learn the slang at a later date.

Brenda said...

It freaks me out at all the names folks can come up with to get around saying THE correct name for body parts. Being the grandma of 7 little girls I hear plenty of those off the wall terms. I'm forever getting "tootie" and "bootie" mixed up but the 3 yr old sets me straight. I hate the vagina word but dang, that's what it is, right? I gave my kids a good, Christian, book that told them all they needed to know about sex and then told them to ask me questions if they wanted but not to ask their father (who didn't even know that lesbians are also homosexuals. Who knows what they'd have grown up calling things if I'd left it up to him)

Kristen said...

I call mine a hoo ha, but for comedy, not to avoid saying what it really is. My almost 2 year old calls it her "beep beep" but I do plan on teaching her the correct terms as soon as I'm sure she won't go around saying vagina for no reason lol. I swear the only reason she doesn't know the word now is that I'm quite sure she would just scream vagina in the middle of Target- and with her already knowing the word f*ck, we'll leave it at that for now lol. ; )

Ben said...

Let me ask you this....

What's the theater going to do when the next 8 year old girl drives by with mommy and asks her what a "hoohaa" is? I mean, seriously, which term would you rather explain?

Some days, I wish it were legal to shoot totally ignorant people in the head. Other days, I'm glad people can't shoot me in the head for being totally ignorant.

Annie Drogynous said...

I completely agree. My son and daughter have known about their penis and vagina since they were little and all the proper names that go along with that.

Uch...there's nothing worse than hearing a grown woman tell me she had to go "tee-tee"!

Miss Litzi said...

Hi Attila,
Euphemisms for certain anatomical parts and bodily functions were de rigueur when I was growing up in the 50’s. I was taken aback that in this day and age of “tell it like it is” and “bare it all for everyone to see” that people are still inventing words and phrases for the genitalia. Maybe we “haven’t come such a long way, baby”….

Thanks for this fantastic post!

Anonymous said...

ok-I've been lurking for awhile...and you finally got me stirred enough to post. BTW-love this're my Calgon.
What I DO not understand is why in the 7 hells people feel the need to speak publicly of their genitalia! I mean, really? I'm offended by the IDEA of the Vagina Monologues...not the word. Would Shakespeare have referred to 2 men speaking together as The D**k Chat? What we have lost in this society is class.....simply class.

Nightmare said...

I AGREE and I have a PENIS! go figure!

OneEar said...

I must respectfully disagree. I used to advocate public displays of genitalia, but, now with the ubiquitous cell phone cameras, I advise modesty and restraint.

Thank you for enlightening me as to the term "cum dumpster."

Attila The Mom said...

Thanks everybody for your comments on my little rant. LOL

Apparently the director of the play showed the theater the licensing agreement and they had to return to the original title. ;-)

To anonymous: Thanks for dropping in!

Thailand Gal said...

Came here for MILF... but found a great treat of writing. I'll definitely be back. You make sense.



Terri said...

Here Here

Ben said...

Anonymous should really see the play, since she clearly doesn't "get it."

It was some of the best money I've ever spent, and I'm a dude. I coulda spent that money on beer and nachos.

Ma Titwonky said...

I didn't know I had a vagina (I mean that what I possessed had an actual name) until I was in high school. I remember my sex education teacher being horribly uncomfortable with having to name the parts accurately. I think she'd have been much more comfortable with Coochie Snorcher. Actually I found it much easier when talking to my own kids to use proper names. Just seems to make sense to me.

Stinkypaw said...

I know what you mean! I've been told I'm too "explicit" because I use the proper term and not the "it" "weewee", etc. It's sad that people get offended for the "proper" terms!!