I can’t believe this is even a thing that I have to deal with. I have a son, and it never occurred to me that this would come up.
When my son was a baby we called his penis his “winky”. It was just a cute name that I didn’t think much about. It’s like calling his toes “tootsies”. I eventually taught him that it was a penis, but in regular conversation we call it a “winky”. Not a big deal.
Then my son was 3. He came in the bathroom with me and for the first time noticed that mama didn’t have a winky. He asked where it was. I explained that girls don’t have them… but then I froze. I didn’t know what else to say. It’s called a vagina. But I couldn’t do it. I was raised in the 80s when that was a dirty word. I felt like saying that to him would be like teaching him a curse word.
It is ridiculous. He was young and just kinda forgot about it. Last week he came in the bathroom after I got out of the shower and he commented on my “butt”. That is what he decided to call my vagina since I never gave him a name for it, and let’s face it.. from his perspective they look the same. He’s never seen inside one.
I feel like this is an example of why women are treated like second class citizens. Men are completely comfortable with their body parts. They are proud of them. Women have been taught that for some reason our parts are dirty or wrong.
In the last year vagina has been in the press along. Our president admitting to “grabbing pussy” when ever he wanted. People started talking about pussy in everyday conversation. But the word “pussy” has a porn connotation. I feel like using that word to describe what he did makes people, especially men, feel like the woman who’s parts he was grabbing was some how asking for it. Men don’t think of their moms and daughters as having pussy. They think of slutty hags as giving their away.
I feel like we need to take our vaginas back, and before I get a bunch of comments about how it’s not called a vagina and only one section of it is, it’s the name that is colloquially known to be the main part. The penis has different parts too, but no one fights about it.
I saw a quote attributed to Betty White, “Balls are weak and sensitive! If you really wanna get tough, grow a vagina! Those things take a pounding!”. Now whether or not she actually said it the quote has a point. We are not the weaker sex. We are not dirty. We are not less than.
To quote JK Rowling, “Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” The fact that men have trouble talking about anything female proves the point. We need to use this. We need to talk about ourselves as whole. We shouldn’t hide our femininity. We shouldn’t be ashamed that we have periods. We should hide when we breast feed. We shouldn’t be afraid to use the word vagina. We are women. We give birth to humans. We have no fear.