My Daughter Said Vagina, Why the Dirty Looks? by Stacey Honowitz
A very interesting thing happened to me this week when I took my daughter to her ballet class. Now, she only goes one day a week, and I am not very familiar with the other mothers that are hanging around waiting for their daughters in the class. It is not one of those scenes out of “Dance Moms” but they are all there, waiting patiently for their adorable, little pink powder puffs to come running out of the room. I am usually late, because I am coming from the office but my parents are gracious enough to drive her to the studio and wait until I get there. My mother in fact, has probably drummed up more conversation with the other women than I have.We live in South Florida which indeed is a melting pot. The studio is run by a Russian couple, and the clientele consists of kids from all over including Russia and South America.
Every Friday we arrive at the studio, and I am that mother, who is pushing her kid through the door while she is still putting on her ballet shoes. I am secretly whispering in her ear, “lets move it, we are so late” while practically shoving her into the middle of the class. I always turn and politely look at the other mothers, who have scowls on their faces as if I interrupted a performance at Lincoln Center. I guess you can tell from my tone, that although I am thrilled she is involved in dance, ballet class is not a pressing matter in my book. I am happy that she enjoys it, and has friends in the class, she does not run home and practice her twirls in front of the mirror. I know that a lot of these parents do take it more seriously than we do, and I respect them for that, but I have never seen so many women look so serious about watching three year old girls prance around a room. One time, my daughter refused to go into the class unless my father joined the class. What a hoot, watching a man in the center of a room with ten little pony tailed cutie pies dancing around him. I thought the other mothers would have a nervous breakdown, as my mother and I were peeing in our pants. I am sure the others felt as though he was disturbing the “vibe” of the class.
Well, needless to say, because we always seem to be on a “late” schedule, my daughter sometimes forgets to go to the bathroom before she goes in. I think the whole idea of having to take down her leotard is annoying, and I am always badgering her to “get going.” Due to circumstances beyond her control, she sometimes comes fluttering out in full ballerina gear, shouting “mom, I have to go to the bathroom”. I quickly jump to attention and go running in the bathroom with her to help her disrobe in a quick manner. The other day that’s what happened. She got to class late, we rushed in, and about twenty minutes later, the door flew open and out ran my little ballerina. “Mom, she screamed I have to go, and come in and help me wipe my VAGINA so I can go back in!” I am very used to her using the proper language for her genitalia. It doesn’t phase me at all. I took a quick glance around the room, and boy you should have seen the expression on everyone’s face.
We came out of the bathroom and I ushered my daughter back into class. When I turned around I had several pairs of eyes staring at me, and finally a woman with a heavy Spanish accent asked “did your daughter say vagina?” I said “yes, she did, why?” She appeared to be very offended by the use of the PROPER word. She didn’t say anything, she just hung her head and shook it from side to side in disbelief. Another chimed in and said “this is not the right place to use words like that.” Well, I just could not believe it, these women were actually mad that my daughter mentioned her vagina. Funny, that’s the first time they decided to talk to me. They only looked in my direction and spoke when it came time to criticize. Get over it ladies, it’s called a vagina, every girl has one, and knowing that it’s the proper name for your genitals is not immoral. Being a supervisor in the Sex Crimes Unit of the State Attorney’s Office makes these discussions a lot easier for me, but I was in totally caught off guard that they found her use of the word disrespectful. I will apologize if my daughter ever disrupts the class, or calls someone a bad name, or disrespects an adult, but I will never apologize for my daughter properly calling her private parts by their proper name, even if she said it a bit too loud.