First off. It’s not, fucking, Voldemort.
You can say it’s name and a great big Vagina monster isn’t going to come gobble up your child. They aren’t going to suddenly become sexually perverted toddlers because they know what to call their genitals. In the same way that, we teach them their arm is called an arm and they don’t instantly begin punching everyone. Punching is not the only function of an arm, just a fun one. For Grown ups, in a consenting environment. (Martial arts, kinks, Nazi’s etc.)
AND: fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself. Simply refusing to use a scientific, perfectly acceptable name for her genitals is saying to her ‘I don’t want to acknowledge that that part of you exists.’ That there’s something wrong with her. Most ‘child friendly’ options rely on making the word cute or more vague. Willy, winkle, bits, noo noo, anny, front bottom (>???? ). And the weird ass cacophony of virginity related names for children’s vaginas – flower, lily, rosebud, Fine China? Are we really this obsessed with the virginity of small girls that we ingrain into them the idea that their Vagina is delicate, and special. Not special as in wow look how cool you are to have all that going on, special as in fine china in the cupboard not to be taken out or used. Whilst Penis’s are still given ridiculous pet names, they’re still considerably more fun and celebratory. Wiener, pee pee (functional and sounds like Penis,) Dingle/Dangle (what it does.) Peanuts, Fire Hose.
To me, this lack of shame as opposed to Vaginal versions goes on to explain a lot about why there will be, without doubt, at least a hundred hidden cocks scrawled across the walls/bathroom/chairs/books of a high school. Where are all the Vaginas? At a point where some kids are beginning to discover sexuality but not quite there, throwing sexual terms about in jokes and basically testing the waters romantically – there is a total abundance of penis. Imagine you made a big ol spider diagram of word association, Penis and Vagina in the middle of their own respective spiders. What words would we attach and link? Penis’s are funny, they exist, boys have them and they’re not just for sex. Imagine if we could teach girls the same about their Vagina and chuck in some good healthy sex education, consent included, we’d be well on the way to having happier, more well rounded women.
But nope. We teach kids that the word Vagina, and by extension their actual Vagina, is dirty. We do the same about the word Penis. If we’re looking for ‘nicer’ names for genitals, why aren’t genitals nice? If it’s simply the fact that we urinate from them, why are we fine saying and laughing at the word bum/bottom? Even calling genitals a front bottom? We’re terrified of children being sexual too early, but If we teach them what their genitals are called, that they’re private and all about CONSENT, they’re far more likely to say no, and tell you when somebody disrespects their boundaries. They’re not going to do so if you teach them it’s dirty or somehow broken because someone did something to it. (Similarly, are less likely to speak honestly about losing their virginity when older.) In a court case, should worst come to worst, the correct wording by a child can make or break the case. No confusion about what they meant by Vagina or Penis, and they’re less likely to be targeted by child predators because they know body safety, they know what is happening. That alone is a no brainer, to me.
Lastly, the attachment of feminine, delicate and gender’d connotations to the word Vagina is inherently trans-phobic. Whilst you may have been raised to see gender as what someone’s genitals are, it isn’t. It just plain isn’t, no arguing. And so some boys have Vaginas, some girls have Penis’s. Some people are non gender binary and some adult people own genitals but do not use them for sexual purposes. Calling your genitals by the scientific name detaches from these ideas that a Vagina is cute/pretty/ feminine or a Penis is funny/gross and would help children struggling with their own gender identity to cope better with the Dysphoria of owning genitals not traditionally associated with their gender. It would also go some way to stopping your children bullying or being confused by trans children, though i hope to fuck you’re doing something to combat that social conditioning too.
So, I tell my bab that her Vagina is a Vagina. Because it is. She’s not really chosen a gender yet, has no awareness of her sexuality, she pee’s from it. Right now, she needs it to be what it is and what it does and not have specific labels attached like a map of how to behave if you own one. There are no Vagina rules, no Vagenda. And sure, some of those school mums will be pissed with me but i’ll still high five her for calling her vagina a vagina when she falls and hurts it or because she thinks it’s funny. She’s like a mutinous little seed against social conditioning, telling other kids that it’s OK to own a vagina.
So bring it on, playground mums. I’ll bring my diagram for you,
I’ve got laminated copies.