Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Vulva Just Rolls Off the Tongue

I thought we'd start the new year right with a little feminist rant from me. This rant is specifically about the female genitals being referred to as the vagina.

This is something that has bothered me for awhile now, but was most humorously brought to my attention by the writings on a bathroom stall. Some obviously sex positive, queer women (ah how I love liberal city colleges) wrote about how much they loved to eat pussy and how it was such a beautiful thing. A response by one woman (I'm assuming these were women since it was the women's bathroom) was something along the lines of "Ladies lets have respect for ourselves! It is a vagina, not a pussy!"

First of all, let me say that I have no problem with the word pussy. If that is how you want to refer to your genitals, by all means go ahead. I also enjoy cunt quite a bit.

The problem I actually had with this, besides the fact that referring to one's genitals as pussy is not disrespectful as long as you enjoy the word, was that she was telling women to respect themselves by referring to their genitals by an incorrect, and I think rather disrespectful, name.

Let me make myself clear here. The vagina is a wonderful thing, but it does not refer to the entire genital area of a woman. You cannot in fact "go down on" or "eat out" a woman's vagina, which is what the other women were talking about on that stall wall. If you spend all of your time trying to go specifically for the vagina you will end up with an incredibly sore tongue because the vagina only refers to the internal canal. And while some women do enjoy a bit of tongue fucking in their vagina, it is hardly the main goal in oral sex.

There are a couple reasons why I do not like it when a woman's genitals as a whole are referred to as her vagina. The first, which I stated above, is that it is incorrect. Both men and women need to know more about women's bodies and incorrectly referring to the whole shebang as a vagina promotes ignorance. Did you know that many women still think that they urinate out of their vagina? Maybe you are one of them. Maybe if we did not refer to the whole thing as a vagina then we would all know that women urinate out of their urethra just like men do. You can see where this could become confusing.

Second, I think that referring to the whole area as a vagina is sexist. In Western Society there is a huge focus on penetration. Many don't believe that you can even have sex without penetration. This is why so many people are confused by lesbians because without a penis to penetrate each other with they can't possibly have sex. Notice how a man is always necessary in sex, but a woman is not? Although considered deviant, two men can have sex because there is a penetrator and a penetratee.

My point here is that sex = penetration in our society and the socially acceptable thing to penetrate is a vagina. There is no need for the rest of the female genitals nor the rest of the woman really in this definition of sex. This type of sex focuses on the pleasure of men, not women.

So lets make a pact to only call the female genitals by their correct names. I mean after all who refers to a man's testicles as his penis? The whole outside of a woman's genitals is called the vulva. Many people seem to have an aversion to the word. I didn't like it at first either. I learned to love it by thinking about how much I love vulvas and really dragging out the word. Put a long u in there and bring some sensuality to those v's. You'll learn to love it too.

The names for all of the wonderful parts of the vulva can be found in the diagram here.

As to the bathroom stall writings, I actually responded with a comment of my own. This was the one and only time I have ever written on a bathroom wall, but I felt my input was necessary. I wrote "Actually it is vulva, but I always liked cunt!"

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