June 6th, 2007
When is a vagina not a vagina? When it’s being discussed on Oprah Winfrey’s show, at which point it becomes a ‘vajayjay’.
This sorry saga was revealed over at Good Vibrations blog that reveals how a recent guest on Oprah discussed aspects of sex and female anatomy but wouldn’t say the v-word.
Sadly it’s not uncommon for experts, even those in fairly prominent positions, to avoid discussing female genitalia – or to talk about it in negative ways. This can lead to the female anatomy being ignored within the mainstream media and sex advice, and in particular can make female genitalia seem bad or somehow inferior to male anatomy. Hardly surprising then that many women don’t have the words to describe their bodies, or silence themselves since female genitalia isn’t openly discussed. Unfortunately this attitude tends to reinforce further negative responses to vaginas. Taking the Vagina Monologues play as an example in just the past year we’ve seen a Florida theatre forced to change their advertising for the Vagina Monologues to a more ‘acceptable’ term, a group of high school students face disciplinary proceedings for performing the play, and Uganda banning its performance all together.
You can’t really talk openly about female anatomy, it seems, unless you’re prepared to discuss it in some kind of coded manner. And you really have to wonder why, in this era of increasingly sexualised culture we still can’t talk comfortably about vaginas, vulvas and clitorises.
It’s unfortunately very common that the media reinforces a coy approach to discussing womens’ bodies, and Oprah has a particularly unfortunate record of endorsing dodgy ‘experts’ that may explain the current hoo hah over the vajayjay.
Luckily there are a number of people who don’t feel the need to cover up the clitoris (or the vulva or vagina, or whatever other words you have to describe female genitalia). So as an antidote to the ridiculous vajayjay nonsense please feel free to visit Vagina Verite, Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues site, or if you want to find as many words as you can to refer to the vagina why not submit your favourite term or see if it’s listed at Muffy’s World of Vagina Euphemisms?Tweet