vulva. vulva. VULVA (not vagina!)!

In my late 30s (in the early 2000s), the Houston Press hired me to write a review of a play showing in Austin, The Vagina Monologues. By now, most people have heard of the play, I’d imagine.

Guess what I found out as I watched the play? I found out that my vagina isn’t my vagina. That is, the vagina is actually the soft tunnel that leads from the outside of a female’s body up to the cervix (which leads to the uterus).

A vagina is not, it turned out the whole squishy area on the outside. That, I learned, is called the vulva.

Did you know that?

A lot of people, full grown adults, don’t know that. In fact, I’d venture to guess a lot of people will find the word “vulva” very silly sounding.

I was in my 30s. I was an adult. I didn’t know the name of my own body parts. I was not alone.

Why does this matter? Why am I writing about it?

I’m writing about it because this kind of knowledge is power. I saw an article recently advocating for using proper names for body parts when teaching children. You know, instead of hoo-ha or pee-pee, use the correct language. It was a good piece. But, guess what? It referred to the female parts as “the vagina!” Even an article stressing the value of naming body parts correctly got it wrong!

It winds me up because we women (cisgender) are encouraged to live in ignorance. How can we accept ourselves unconditionally when we don’t even know ourselves?

I’ll end with this post I saw recently that I think illustrates my point well:

“Imagine if male genitals were treated like female genitals? Like testicles weren’t even referred to as testicles and some men didn’t even know what they were actually called and the general area was just called “penis”.

Imagine if boys were told that their prostate doesn’t exist. Imagine if hairy genitals on men were called “bearded snakes.” And they don’t know how many different holes they have until adulthood. Imagine.

imagine if men were flocking en mass to get “testicle tightening” surgeries.  imagine if men weren’t taught that they could have orgasms.  Imagine if it were considered rude to say “penis” even in debates regarding legislature involving medical care about men’s penises.  Imagine penis was a word that was considered too “dirty” to be said on television. Imagine if penis’s were depicted only as meat-sticks that fit in vaginas with no other value.  Imagine if teenage boys heard joke after joke about how all dicks smell terrible no matter what

Imagine if people thought the more a penis was used, the smaller and more useless it became.

Imagine if people didn’t understand how penises ‘work’ and therefore their orgasms didn’t matter.

Imagine if having a penis meant you were paid less money.”

3 Comments

Filed under activism, genderism, the beauty myth, women's medical freedom

3 responses to “vulva. vulva. VULVA (not vagina!)!

  1. Giuseppe

    Thanks for educating me.
    It is amazing how little men know about a woman’s anatomy.
    Did you know that in the Etruscean society, ( Precursor to Roman society) women were treated as men’s equals.

    Like

  2. LAS14 LAS14

    Huh. Your parents should have done a better job educating you. It never dawned on me you had this confusion. :-(

    Huh again. I can’t figure out how to add a CC to Dad in this gmail environment.

    On Sat, Jan 16, 2016 at 11:05 AM, serenebabe.net wrote:

    > serenebabe posted: “In my late 30s (in the early 2000s), the Houston Press > hired me to write a review of a play showing in Austin, The Vagina > Monologues. By now, most people have heard of the play, I’d imagine. Guess > what I found out as I watched the play? I found out tha” >

    Like

  3. Imagine if, from the time males were born, they were surrounded by images of penises. These images were used to sell and entice others. But, all the the images were of penises that were 12 inches long. Billboards, magazines, television, movies were all full of men sporting their 12 inch long penises. Imagine if it was assumed that this was how a truly attractive man was built. Imagine if males grew up in a culture where there was a huge industry devoted to products that make one’s penis look and feel bigger and longer. Imagine if they came to discover that there were publications, popular among women, devoted to explicit images of men and their bigger, longer penises. Imagine that there were also establishments where women went to see men with 12 inch+ penises exhibit and perform sexual favors. Imagine this in a world where 90% of men are born with an average 5-7 inch penis? Imagine how men’s self-image, self-esteem and sense of self-worth would be influenced over time.
    Imagine…

    Like

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