I know you have your position to maintain as a patriarchal consumerist toy but I know this is the real book you would have written if you could have:
Lots of love
I know you have your position to maintain as a patriarchal consumerist toy but I know this is the real book you would have written if you could have:
Lots of love
Okay time to put my hands on my heart and fess up. I’m feeling a complete twazzock now for writing Dear Feminism1, Dear Feminism2, Feminism Lite I’ve come so far in my feminist thinking that I can’t imagine ever not thinking it is important to be a feminist. In my defence though human rights have always been massively important to me, with women’s rights an important part of that but I never really specifically focused much of my attention or energy on them, having other battles to fight, but then I realised part of my other battles would be so much more sucessful if included feminism in my armoury which will probably only make sense if you know me personally so I will leave that bit there for now.
There is often talk in feminism about a lightbulb moment, and whilst my light has been flickering for a while now its only recently that it got properly switched on and is burning bright. I’m not sure why it took me so long, maybe it’s because as a white middle class well educated cis-female who has not really experienced a glass ceiling to her career, and being 30 I grew up as part of the generation that thought that the woman’s liberation battle had been fought and won, and therefore wasn’t as important? I know now I was naive, even as a teenager and in my early twenties when I experienced sexual violence and I brushed it off as just “something that happened to girls”, one boyfriend even strangled 14year old me until I told him I loved him. How did I not know this was wrong, why did I not shout and scream about how wrong it was?!
But yes the lightbulb is well and truly switched on now and I am angry, no I am RAGING that my daughters are growing up to be disadvantaged in jobs, by the maternity policies which need to be so much better,to have constantly have to fight to not be taken less seriously because of their gender, To suffer self esteem/body image issues because of the continual objectification of women. To be likely experience sexual violence at some point in their lifetime. I’m furious that there are renewed attempts to reduce my daughters rights to abortion if they need one, that their friends may experience female genital mutilation and this country is seen as not doing anything about it, that if they experience sexual violence it is unlikely that the perpetrator will be bought to justice and some people will think it was their fault for getting assaulted, for being drunk or dressed provocatively.
So fuck the badge and the jute bag I wanted in Feminism1- pass me a placard a balaclava and the chains and padlocks. This woman is getting angry strident and serious about her feminism.
For my daughters. For me. For Females.
Bring it on.
P.S and I’m really sorry it took me this long to really and truly properly get it. Will be ensuring I bring my girls (and any future boys) up to understand how important feminism is, so they reach this page before 30!
Dear Modern Man Versus the Feminist Housewife,
This is a letter to both of you. Firstly Modern Man, you often make your feminist “housewife” look bad as you do nearly all the cooking and more than your fair share of the cleaning and childcare as well as working fulltime. This means that Feminist “Housewife” is actually outed as the complete lazy arse she cleary is. Irritatingly you will also sometimes have both kids for the day and somehow manage to tidy the entire house so when Feminist “Housewife” returns to the family home she is greeted with a spotless house and gleaming children (who have also been baking/crafting/painting and other stimulating activities) and the “I don’t know why you find it so difficult!” F@*!?&@*. Also Modern Man- you are bloody lovely but you are a bit enabling as instead of discussing/negotiating what needs to be done, you often just get on and do it and this is letting Feminist “Housewife” get away with doing less than her fair share. She knows she is an adult and part of a team but she has also gotten very used to and comfortable in the status quo, so you probably need to shake that up a little and stop doing so much for her- even though she adores you very much for it. (She also knows her Mum is now completely lost without her Dad who also used to do so much for her, and sometimes that level of dependency can be dangerous if it means suddenly unexpectedly you are on your own and unable to cope)
Secondly Feminist “Housewife”- you really are not cut out to be a housewife, we all know this. You are desperate to get back to work and have been working sporadically part time since both your babies were tiny to “keep your hand in and your brain sane”, you even managed to recently achieve a MAHOOSIVE promotion in the work you do- unpaid but still awesome. You are proud that your children will witness non-stereotypical gender roles within your marriage however you are also aware they may cotton onto the fact that this isn’t necessarily actually because you are a feminist but it’s actually because you are very very lazy (at home anyway- at work you can be a completely passionate driven workaholic). You are counting down the days until going back to work in September for two days a week and Modern Man is hopefully going to go part time and do 1days childcare and 1day business development and hopefully you can afford just about afford the childcare. You adore your job and want to do well in it and think it is very important for your girls to see you working, passionate and fulfilled rather than at home, bored and a bit miserable. (You are in complete awe of SAHM’s who enjoy it, and whilst you do adore your children you personally do need the adult work environment to stay sane).
Now dear Feminist “Housewife” admittedly you are getting very little sleep bedsharing with a baby velcroed to your armpit and breastfeeding all night, and feeding her or trying to get her to sleep for much of the day, however you do have a cleaner, and your toddler is at nursery for 3days a week so would it really kill you to do a little bit more around the house? Personally I think part of your reluctance to do your share of the housework is because you are very reluctant to temporarily embrace a “housewife” identity as your very soul screams against it, but I also I reckon you are pontificating too much and really just don’t want to admit to being a lazy fucker when it comes to the housework.
Let’s face it NO-ONE LIKES HOUSEWORK, but you are also very aware that your marriage is unfairly weighted at the moment, because Modern Man does so much in the house, giving you far too much time to faff on the internet writing blogs and tweeting. This isn’t fair as you both deserve the same amount of “down time” and currently Modern Man gets a lot less than you. You are also aware that one of your best friend’s marriage recently ended for many reasons but ultimately it was due to the unfair balance of the relationship- you don’t want that to happen to your relationship.
So dear Feminist “Housewife” I have some suggestions for you. Firstly you are going to try #twitterasskick- 15minutes of bursts of activity where you say what you are going to do, go and do them and then report back, and some of your twitter friends may want to join you in this. Secondly you are going to limit the blogging to one letter a day unless really important for more. You may sometimes write more but you can schedule them for periods when you are too busy to write them. Thirdly you are going to do the dishwasher and a load of washing everyday. That’s it for now as I suggest you suddenly don’t try and turn into a Stepford Wife as it will fail miserably by day 2. You need little jobs to do every day to get into a habit and routine and create a more balanced equal relationship for you and Modern Man. In fact I may write back to you with more advice another time.
Lots of Love
P.S Modern Man has been very reasonable about all of this- this isn’t bourne out of a “shape up or ship out” argument thank heavens, more a comedy discussion in general about housewifery and what it means to be a “feminist housewife” as Feminist Housewife was trying to convince him it meant being on twitter all day. Apparently it doesn’t. So she’s trying to change!
Dear Feminism Lite,
I have a close friend who is a lesbian, if you were to apply an offensive “lesbian stereotype” checklist between me and her (as if such an thing existed), then I am WAY WAY more “lesbian” than she is
I mean apart from the crucial fact I’m not one, but details details. This led us to joking that she is um Lesbian Lite. As she honestly does not fit any stereotype at all, which is fab as I love a stereotype challenger, she’s an amazing role model methinks.
Anyhow this friend is also a passionate feminist. She leads groups and protests and devotes hours of her time to it, she is a proper inspiration. She is so passionate about feminism she has even changed her surname from her father’s surname to an adaptation of her grandmother’s so her surname wasn’t of a patriachal lineage.
So I was chatting to her yesterday and in classic LadyCurd “not thinking before I speak” fashion, I pointed out that she maybe “lesbian lite” but she is most definitely a full fat feminist*. Thankfully she laughed (and she isn’t fat at all btw!)
But um anyhow I guess what I am trying to say is I suppose there is a Feminism Lite movement too, and I guess I’m currently pondering which version I will “plump” for (pun intended). I’m definitely getting angrier and less Lite anyhow. Plus the Lite versions always taste crap and are disappointing in comparison.
Check me out- going from being a bit sheepish about my feminism to a bit strident about it! Tis a journey innit.
P.S does this mean I have to go read “Fat is a Feminist Issue now?”
*in the unlikely event someone really doesn’t get this letter at all and I get shouted at for calling Feminists fat or something- to clarify the opposite of Lite or Diet fizzy drinks are generally termed “Full Fat Versions” (which is daft as they don’t have any fat in them at all but half a ton of sugar).
This letter was inspired by the lovely @kaygeeuk who, when #thatswhatslutsdo was trending, tweeted
Teach their daughters that they can wear what they want, love who they want, have sex with who they want without shame #thatswhatslutsdo
— soft kitty singer (@kaygeeuk) April 19, 2012
So um yeah I’m a slut, as I want to teach my girls EXACTLY that. This whole males can enjoy sex and have sex with as many people as they want (because they are studs, lotharios, etc etc) but if women do they same they are Sluts, Slags, Skanks, Bitches, Ho’s, Whores etc etc. really really winds me up.
I suppose women who are called sluts are called it for one of two main reasons:
A) they enjoy sex and aren’t ashamed about that fact, and this goes against the “social norm” therefore others (and it’s often women ) find this threatening and therefore try and bully and intimidate the “sluts” out of behaving this way. There is also a very weird paradigm in that women are expected to look and act “sexily” but if they actually go the step further and actually shag about then society gets all cross with them, and calls them sluts- seriously what’s all that about!?
B) because their behaviour is also causing hurt and upset of others. This one is more problematic as I personally feel it actually depends on the personal motivation to act in such a way, every individual is responsible for their own actions and so long as you are not deliberately setting out to hurt people and accepting the consequences to your actions, then I cannot and would not judge you or ever call you a “slut”. However if you are deliberately and maliciously setting out to hurt people, then maybe nasty names are justified but there are much better non gendered insults for such people: Douchebag being a particular favourite of mine (although I did have a debate on Twitter about whether this was a gendered insult as I suppose it would depend if it was an anal or a vaginal douche ).
This dichotomy between males and females and their acceptable sexual behaviour is taught from a young age- it’s okay- funny even, for boys to masturbate but girls are taught shame if they are caught doing same. We are more comfortable with the word penis than vulva, and heaven forbid we mention that most taboo part of the female body- the clitoris to a child or even teenager! A simple explanation being “It’s a part of the body- when you touch it it can feel nice, you should only touch it in private and never let anyone touch it without your consent” (having explained and modelled consent to them too)
I appreciate females biologically may have more at risk than males from a sexual encounter because of pregnancy, and that has maybe led to some of this “slut-shaming” to try and prevent women from paying a higher price than men for being sexually voracious, but seriously we now live in a world where so long as you use a condom/femidom (being the ONLY thing to protect you against STI’s) and also use a back up method of hormonal contraception with a very low failure rate, then the liklihood of falling accidentally pregnant (or getting an STI) is very slim indeed.
Sex is one of the most awesome things you can do with your body (as is breastfeeding which I also find utterly incredible but in an separate non sexy way obviously!), it should be enjoyed and celebrated and not treated with shame, disgust, or humour. And women have just as much right to enjoy it as men. The caveat to that being both women and men should never set out to deliberately hurt anybody just so they can get laid; trust, honesty and communication being central to any pleasureable mutually enjoyable sexual relationship.
So yes, I want my girls to be able to wear what they want, love who they want and have sex with who they want without shame. I hope my girls find someone as awesome as LordCurd as soon as they are ready to settle down,
and I really hope they don’t make some of the fricking horrific carcrash mistakes I have, but in the meantime once they are old and mature enough, and so long as they aren’t hurting anyone or hurting themselves, then I hope they will do whatever they want to, and its absolutely none of anybody’s business except their own, but woe betide anyone who calls them nasty names because of it.
Lot’s of loving
Firstly I need to start by saying I virtually never wear you. I think the last time was when 7months preggers and I was on the telly (I mean you probably should then right? I mean millions* of people might have been watching) . I probably literally only wear you once or twice a year. I just find putting you on too much of a faff and can totally cope with my bare face being seen in public. This is mainly because I’m too much of a lazy fucker to spend the required time making my face up of a morning, only to realise by midday my efforts have assumed a rather panda like look and no-body has told me, and I never look in mirrors unless washing my hands after going to the loo, so it will have often been like that for hours until I will notice. Sigh. I can’t even be bothered to wear contacts so I wear huge heavy rimmed glasses – (the bonus being they hide the dark shadows under my eyes quite nicely- who needs Touche Éclat?) Brushing my hair and teeth everyday is about as far as my beauty regime goes.
Anyhow my mum was and is exactly the same- virtually never ever wears you, but still as a kid I remember playing about with her makeup kit loads and then between 12-19 I probably wore you most days (I was a Goth so it could take a while!) until I reached my twenties and was less bothered by it all. So I was interested to read this article where PinkStinks are calling for a ban on the sale of makeup toys to the under 8′s, as I am genuinely not sure how I feel about it.
Firstly kids (boys or girls) mucking about with make-up is just something kids do. I may not have older kids but I know toddlers love it. I know Oddler was enthralled when a friend of ours came round to ours to get ready for a wedding and she got to play a bit with the make-up. TBH I felt a little bit weird about it as the friend was more putting make-up on her than anything else (but then again you wouldn’t let a 2 year old completely loose on your Chanel and other uber expensive brand make-up!) and I didn’t want my daughter “made up” as I feel that is wrong- I don’t want my girls to ever feel like they need to wear make-up in order to be attractive, because I want them to feel beautiful without it, and I worried slightly this might sow some seeds into Oddlers mind about that. But the flipside is -Is Oddler missing out by having a mummy who doesn’t have a makeup bag to cause carnage in? Well I do, but I keep it ontop of the wardrobe (shows how often I use it!) and TBH I am pondering whether I do let her play with it at some point? To me my rather redundant makeup bag is no different than buying her a set of face paints (but without the effort of buying the face paints- see I told you I was lazy). I know she will end up looking like a complete makeup monstrosity and it would be hilarious.
There is NOTHING “sexualised” about a kid of either gender daubing their face in coloured substances. Oddler adores to draw all over herself in felt tip pen! The thing is its the fucked up adults in society who are projecting onto the kids. Some women wear make up, some wear a lot of make up and little girls want to be like their mummies, and they want to do what their mummies do, they aren’t doing it to be perceived as attractive or sexy like their mothers might be, they are just doing it because its what their idol does. So it’s a bit fucked up to freak out so much about kids playing with makeup, when actually what we should maybe be freaking out about is why so many adult women are so not comfortable in their own skins that they have to cover themselves in these make up masks in order to be perceived as beautiful, and then pass on those insecurities to their kids? (As an aside it amuses me how in many bird species it is the male who is expected to be the beautiful one putting on the displays, for the dowdy brown female one to choose the best of the bunch- just look at Peacocks and Peahens for the classic example!).
Don’t get me wrong I do think kids being properly made up to look like adults is wrong (Toddler beauty queens make me shudder), and I dislike the notion of “toy makeup” so personally I wouldn’t ever buy it for the girls, but might buy them proper makeup for secondary school. I think that is the responsibility of the parents bringing up the children to be aware of some of the issues about allowing or even forcing a kid to grow up too soon, and discussing with the children what some of these issues are, and to try to bring their children up as best they can in this very strange world we now live in. I don’t think banning make up kit sales in under 8′s is really going to make much difference in the grand scheme of things, but supporting parents to develop resilience and good self esteem in their children especially the girls might?
I expect (and hope) Oddler and Omble will ultimately end up rather like me. Go a bit mad with experimenting with you as a teen and then ultimately not be that faffed because they realise you are mostly unnecessary but can be nice for the odd special occasion. If they do, I reckon I’ve done my job as a mother ok.
Lots of madeup love
Lady I Do Own Touche Éclat But I Got It In Duty Free For My Wedding Day And It’s Gone Off And Stinks Curd
P.S In case you were wondering, yes I am a total minger without makeup, but I can live with that.
*by millions I probably mean my mum. Hi mum!
Well Dear Feminism1 caused an unexpected bit of controversy. (See here for info). I don’t want to hash it up with the people involved again as well all agreed to draw a line under it and move on, but what was interesting was my thought processes following the exchange so I thought it would be worthwhile to ponder them further with you.
So I previously identified there were two main reasons I previously didn’t really identify as a feminist:
a) a hatred of labelling my identity in any way shape or form.
b) I recognise that feminism is an incredibly diverse creature and there isn’t really an “official party line” other than the quest for equality, however there are certain stances of some feminists that I don’t agree with and by not agreeing 100% with certain aspects of the movement it creates worry about aligning myself with the movement when I wasn’t always going to be singing from the same hymm sheet on certain issues. For someone who already has identity issues- aligning self with a movement that itself has identity issues is a quite a tricky thing! NARGH!
In my case it genuinely wasn’t a tactic to not appear as a threat to men as @GlossWitch suggested some women might do. Those that know me in RL probably know me as a bit of an “alpha femaley” type- seriously whether I label myself as a feminist or not is probably the least of some poor bloke’s worries.
But if I am 100% honest there is a third reason I didn’t previously want to be identified as a feminist, and it was because I probably didn’t want to be lumped in with the stereotype of one of *those* feminists. To be quite honest I’m a bit scared to admit this (thanks to previous reactions and it is effectively admitting I AM A VERY SHALLOW PERSON AND I WANT EVERYONE TO LIKE ME!) so please before you recoil in horror and start attacking me again please let me explain this further and where my thought process is now.
By *those* feminists, I guess I meant the awful stereotype of the really angry “man hating” ones (I KNOW THIS IS A STEREOTYPE), who prefer to shout down opposition rather than reason with it. Unfortunately I have encountered a few who conform to this stereotype. Sadly the few hostile tweets I got after that didn’t help me with rejection of this stereotype, until I chatted to a passionate feminist @StewieGriffinsMom (who had seen the exchange) who kindly took the time to explain that often she was sensitive to things that mocked feminism (which admittedly my original post did slightly by making fun of feminist stereotypes that I already adhere too- and for that I am sorry to have caused offence- in my head I was making fun of myself not feminism really), because she often got the “ANGRY MANHATING FEMINIST STEREOTYPE” thrown back in her face, and therefore she could be quite defensive about feminism and didn’t like it being attacked. This I completely understand, and then hostile reactions to my letter makes sense (ie. the reaction is actually more understandable
but hostility unkind but the unfortunate side effect is that it reinforces a particular stereotype) and although the hostility to my orginal letter was unpleasant, I now recognise where it comes from and ultimately we were able to discuss things a bit more rationally which was very helpful to my own progression in my feministy thinking.
This got me thinking- this defensiveness and hostility to perceived criticism of the movement can then become a viscous circle because if all these passionate women are having to spend so much of their energy on defending their positions, this manages to perpetuate the very stereotype we should all be trying to reject. If there was less anger, defensiveness and hostility within the feminist movement then maybe more people like me would be happier about embracing their feminist identities?
Or equally I need to get over myself and my over thinking identity issues but I recognise that this does stem out of a passion and desire for change and without a fire in your belly, sometimes change just won’t happen, I mean bloody hell the suffragettes went to incredible awesome amazing lengths to secure rights we now take for granted. So I’m not sure what could be done for the best other than to point out working with people is often more effective than working against people, but then maybe I am speaking from a cocoon of privilege and actually personally I really need to be getting more angry. I need to ponder this further I think.
On reflection, & being very honest, when I encountered the hostility from the self identified feminists, my very first thought was ” ARGH! I don’t want to be one then!”, the way they interacted with me made me feel belittled and stupid about something I had previously been excited to realise and admit to myself. I felt I clearly didn’t “know”enough about the cause to join the club properly! This is simply ridiculous- I absolutely don’t need a doctorate in gender studies to call myself a feminist, all I bloody need is my passion for equality and my desire to want to fight for things like abortion rights, and gender equality and bugger me some of this shit is my sodding dayjob- I am probably more “qualified” than many to call myself a feminist (if you needed a “feminist qualification” which obviously you don’t!). I really appreciate the time taken by other out and proud feminists to discuss some of these issues with me and ultimately help me not scuttle straight back into the closet where it felt safe!
So yes some further ponderances about you which have really got me thinking.
I like thinking, it makes a nice change
from shitty nappies and tantrumming toddlers.
Lots of learning love
P.S I would welcome comments on this letter but please can we keep it civil, just because I am a total wimp and otherwise will probably cry.
Dear Angry People,
In my job I have to deal with angry people quite a lot, if I don’t I can’t get my job done. I usually find engaging in a dialogue with them and listening to what their specific issues are, and responding to them with evidence usually means we can come to some sort of agreement and start to move forward in whatever it is we are discussing (not always and unfortunately in some cases I need to get higher powers involved as they are just too angry for me to deal with on my own). It’s something I have worked really hard at, its not at all easy but I do feel it is a positive course of action and moves things forward and wins people over to my work
I do appreciate anger gives people a fire in their bellies to get things done, to protest, to try to change things, but why does it also mean people need to engage in ad hominem attacks on others who maybe hold differing opinions? That doesn’t make me personally want to engage with your cause
anger, that makes me want to run away and hide under my bed. Maybe I am a wimp, but I am a wimp who would much prefer a rational discussion about each others perspectives than an angry rant about why I am wrong and you are of course right. If you are so entrenched in your anger and your views then sadly many people feel like they cannot engage with you and then your angry message which may have real value is sadly ultimately wasted.
So please dear Angry People- try to Engage. In. A.
calm and rational Dialogue. You maybe suprised at how effective it it.
P.S This was partly written in response to negative reactions to this letter but also to the charmers who regularly have a go at me about my dayjob.
I have a confession to make. Until very recently (like yesterday!) I would not necessarily have called myself a feminist. I once got particularly riled by a tweeter who claimed that women who didn’t consider themselves to be feminists weren’t real women. I mean seriously WTF! Surely that kind of attitude is anti-feminism?
I have always been very very pro-equality but any activism was often more to do with human rights more generally than women’s rights specifically (although I suppose at high school leading the campaign to get girls to be allowed to wear trousers as part of their school uniform (which shockingly ultimately failed!- this was early nineties) means that women’s rights have also always been important to me).
But I have always always had issues with calling myself a feminist. I think this stems from two things:
a) I really really hate labels and then the stereotypes that come with them. I hate trying to define myself and add labels to myself. I hate being referred to as a wife and mother, I hate being referred to as white, middle class, straight, female, atheist, as to be honest I am probably none of those things, not really, well I mean I am in some ways but I’m also not defined by them, I don’t see them as neat binary boxes to for people to slot into but spectrums for people to align themselves against if they choose. & the same with feminism- I am neither in the feminist box or the non-feminist box- I just probably align myself more to the feminist end of the spectrum based on my personal beliefs and attitudes.
b) I do have issues with some feminists and some feminist issues and how they are tackled and dealt with. I hate the transphobia of some prominent feminists- it disgusts me. In my eyes if you are a woman- you are a woman- regardless of what genitals you were born with. I also have issues with the porn debate and how that is handled (see here for an excellent debate between Sarah Ditum and Gail Dines), and I have issues with so much of the feminist in-fighting- “you can’t be a feminist if you X, Y, or Z” To me that is bullshit. If you want to call yourself a feminist you are one.
So yes I am pretty angsty about calling myself a feminist (oh my- does female angst preclude me from joining the club? ), but yesterday in this letter I found myself calling myself “A feminist of sorts“. For the first time ever!
Yikes I think I just came out of the closet as a feminist. I mean I suppose letters like this, this , this, this, this and this means you already knew right? And I suppose the fact I virtually never wear make-up, diet, shave my legs or armpits, wear high heels
or a bra at the moment thanks to breastfeeding, and the fact that when I married LordCurd my dad didn’t give me away or make a speech although marriage is a patriachal institution- oops, and I and my best woman made speeches, and the fact I am a Ms. and the fact that LordCurd and I are equal partners in the home well if I am totally honest he does way more than his fair share, then these are all kinda “feministy” things to do right? *Tongue firmly in my naughty “stereotyping” cheek*
So um yeah- I just came out of the feminist closet, and I am writing to you to sort out my membership. I want a badge please, and a bookmark, oooh and one of those feminist pens and jute bags please. Oh and do you do those feminist branded post-its too?
I attach my cheque and await to hear from you once my membership application has been processed.
for fighting for female equality
P.S This letter apparently offended some feminists and for that I am genuinely sorry. I never want to deliberately offend or upset people as that just isn’t my style at all. Happy to discuss further as you will see I already have in comments, but I’m a human with feelings- I get upset at unnecessary hostility. Thanks x
A little story for you- My mum and 4 or 5 year old me, sat in the doctors waiting room-
- Me (Precocious reader)- “Mummy- What’s a Virginia” (How I had pronounced it not how it was spelt- Vagina)
- My Mother (a keen gardner): “Oh um its a type of plant”
- Me (Reading a Canestan leaflet): No mummy it says you need to rub cream in twice a day to solve Virginal Itching. (pronunciation was never my strong point)
- My flustered and embarrassed mother hissing: It’s a woman’s willy!
Now possibly I think my dear old mum should have thought more about the naming of the lady parts before being completely humiliated in the waiting room like that (and as you can see LadyCurd started to feature in my life from a young age ) and erm seriously A WOMAN’S WILLY!? Erm No just NO!
The lovely ScribblesFromTheMiddle is going through this dilemma at the moment with her boys and this led to a discussion on twitter. Some advocating girls bits, or vagina, or Gina (pronounced as in China not as in Ford ) or Yoni (Sanskrit for Vagina), and then there are a whole host of other cutesy euphemistic names (but seriously anyone who calls it “twinkle” automatically makes me think “Twinkle in your Father’s Eye- and then I want to vomit). Personally I love Fanjo but I think that’s an an adult term really (and don’t get me started on the offensive terms for female genitals that somehow carry more venom and offense than the male equivalence- in fact there is another letter in that somewhere- Dear Cock).
Now I have two girls and I am a feminist of sorts and a scientist. It annoys me how many women are confused by their own body parts and unable to name them properly (not helped by only generally learning the internal not the external female genitals at school etc.) Now I am not expecting my 2 year old to start realing off Labia Majora, Labia Minora etc but technically when I am talking about “Girls bits” I am talking about Vulvas and not Vaginas as such, But I am pondering how brave I will be when it comes to naming the parts for my girls. Do I really want them to be the only girls in the playground using the anatomically correct term? Thinking back to my playground experience- everyone at my school called it a “split” – yuk! I really don’t want my girls to be using offensive names for a part of the body I hope they will learn to love and not be embarrassed or ashamed by.
It annoys me that there is inherent sexism in that little boys can be quite happily taught “penis” as the correct word, and no-one raises an eyebrow, yet naming girls parts causes sniggering and embarrassment. Why? Why are we ashamed of our vulvas and our vaginas? Why can’t we can’t we comfortably say to our little girls in the bath or on the loo- now wash/wipe your vulva? Argh and I was ever so slightly embarrassed even just to type that! How very annoying!
I think I am coming to the conclusion that I am more comfortable with the word Vagina when even though strictly it is anatomically incorrect, it is something I can probably live with. But nargh it will rankle with me AS ITS INCORRECT- I AM TALKING ABOUT A VULVA NOT A VAGINA. Hmmmm.
So anyhow dear Vulva- I am sorry we all seem so utterly embarrassed by your existence we can’t even call you by your proper name. It is something I am working on addressing and I definitely will be clarifying with my girls once they are old enough to understand
and not completely humiliate me in a doctors waiting room or playground.
Lots of love
the euphemistic name for vaginal discharge in cases of thrush
P.S Best Joke Ever:
Have you got a Vulva?
No I drive a Vauxhall.