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Why are we so afraid of the V-word?

By APRILL BRANDON
Jan. 18, 2011 at 8 p.m.
Updated Jan. 18, 2011 at 7:19 p.m.


Hoo-ha. Sni-Snoo. Foo-Foo. Fifi. Nunu. Pee-Pee. Pootie. Poontang. Pooh-nanny. Biscuit. Cookie. Twinkie. Muffin. Va-jay-jay. Vazzle. Vadge. Notorious V.A.G. Downtown. Down there. Down under.

Why can't we just say it?

Vagina.

Say it with me.

Vagina.

First of all, it's just a word. A noun, to be specific. Second of all, it's just a word that happens to be the correct anatomical term for our lady parts "down there." And yet, just like how the Eskimos have a ridiculous amount of words for snow, modern society has come up with hundreds of slang terms for our (insert hushed whisper here) "mimi."

Oh sure, I'll grant you that "vagina" doesn't typically come up often in our day-to-day conversations (unless you're in a very specific line of work). But when the occasional need does arise, we often shy away from using this word. In fact, we're more likely to use an even cruder alternative rather than the v-word. Or, worse yet, some cutesy, annoying name that should be reserved for a shivering, hairless dog that has been stuffed into a Louis Vuitton by some vapid socialite.

And, it's not just men. I know women who refuse to say it. They'll tell you in graphic detail all about their latest surgery or medical malady, ("then the doctor said to put the ointment on the rectum scabs twice a day"), but if you even attempt to say "vagina" in front of them, they'll hurriedly shush you like you just screamed a profanity.

But that's the thing. It's not a profane word. It's not a curse word. It's not a dirty word. Or, at least, it shouldn't be. I mean, you don't want your gynecologist coming in and saying "Your foo-foo has a boo-boo."

It's a body part women use rather frequently. In fact, regardless of your gender, it's a body part that at one point we were all intimately familiar with as we emerged from the womb.

And yet, we're still skittish around the word. Take, for instance, the popular play "The Vagina Monologues." Since its debut 15 years ago, performances have been protested all over the country. While it's the content that many people oppose, the title itself also makes many people uncomfortable.

I say it's time we reclaim the word. Stop shying away from it. Stop being embarrassed of it and what it represents. Stop thinking of it as a word that needs to be said in hushed tones.

Vagina.

It's just a word.

Aprill Brandon is a columnist for the Victoria Advocate. She may be reached at 361-580-6514 or abrandon@vicad.com.

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