The V Word – Get it Out by Dina Ramon

Last month two Michigan congresswomen were censured because they said it on the floor of the House during a Congressional hearing. Then earlier this month a television ad for Carefree underwear liners in New Zealand was pulled because the woman in the ad said it in the course of describing what the Carefree product is for. The ad was pulled by the way because a few viewers complained. So it must have been some naughty word that triggered this type of censoring, right? Hardly. They said ‘vagina.’ Why is this word still ‘taboo?’ We really haven’t gotten past that? Our young sons and daughters are constantly exposed to bare midriffs, PDA, and perky-breasted dolls but I still hear boomer parents who should know better referring to the vagina as ‘private parts,’ or some other ridiculous name. Not too long ago, my daughter corrected her friend’s dad when he stuck his head in the bathroom to ask if my daughter’s friend had properly cleaned her privates as she was taking a bath (they were kindly babysitting my daughter). My daughter spoke up. ‘You mean her vagina?’ Apparently, he turned beet red and didn’t know how to respond. I can understand the inability of the more prudish older generations, especially particularly men to be unable to say this word out loud. To them, vagina was never a word you would mention in public, let alone to your kids. I never even heard my own mother say vagina – ever – or tell me what it was or to make sure I washed it when I took a bath. That’s how it was then I guess. But our generation is supposed to be more progressive, more open when discussing our bodies, our physical health and how our bodies function. We really need to be more open and more confident as older moms (and dads) to freely use this word, to make sure our daughters (and sons) are comfortable saying it, knowing what it is and not thinking of it as a “dirty word.” Let’s not do our children, particularly our daughters, a disservice by avoiding the word, ‘vagina.’ It should be used appropriately, without shame or embarrassment, just like any other body part.

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