Wednesday, July 25, 2012

the V-Word

On the weekend I came across an article in the Sydney Morning Herald about a new ad campaign for panty liners that uses the word Vagina. Finally ! I thought to myself. Around these parts I am all for using the word Vagina, Chef reckons it was one of Busy's first words such was my obsession with teaching her what "it" is actually REALLY called. So I was not only appalled but also enraged to see that Family First is complaining about the ad:

Family First said the word ''vagina'' was not one that should be used in general conversation and it could cause embarrassment to parents who have to explain it to young kids.
''I understand it can be used in medical discussions but it's not appropriate in an ad when young ears are listening,'' the NSW president of Family First, Jason Cornelius, said.

What is inappropriate about the word Vagina Jason?!  You came out of one!

How can it cause offence?

How can explaining the word Vagina cause embarrassment  to young kids? what has it been called? why not use the right name??

Why are female reproductive organs something we should be ashamed of and embarrassed about? 

This gets me fired up.

You can complain to Jason directly here
You can write to the Advertising Standards Bureau and show your support here, they make a decision in 2 weeks.


  1. Wow. I just cannot comprehend this, and in the same week we need to send materials to school so the grade 6's can make a model of the female reproductive system. No one is going to complain about calling your knees your knees!

  2. Vagina vagina vagina!!! Harvey points at mine and laughs so I point at him and laugh and say you came out of there kiddo! Mind you he also sees my boobs and giggles and has been know to have a chuckle at hilarious things like the ceiling fan.
    It's nice to know that these people's lives are so stress free that they have time to worry about a pad advertisement.....
    Abbe and her Vagina.

  3. Yes. For heck's sake, it is a vagina so let's call it one. Why shouldn't our littlies grow up using the correct turn of phrase? It's not a dirty word so why demonise it. Vajayjay may be cuter but at least everyone knows what a vagina is.

    And don't get me started on those blue liquid ads...

  4. I feel strongly about this too Cath, and not to be alarmist, but it's a child protection issue too. I worked as a sexual assault counsellor a long lifetime ago, and saw a lot of cases through court. Kids need the proper language to arm themselves against the (remote but still existent) possibility of being targeted by a sexual predator. If a little girls knows her vagina by the term 'foofy' or other euphemism, amongst other issues, her testimony in court is likely to be useless.

  5. It's ridiculous that this is still an issue in the 21st century.

  6. My take follows on from Rachel's point. Teaching our children proper words for things rather than relying on euphemisms gives them control of the word. So we use the words vagina and penis and period and anything else that our society deems 'unsuitable' for "young ears". We discuss ideas and situations and experiences so my children understand I value their opinion and view and that nothing is taboo, not everything needs to be shared but anything can be. The upshot is as this family unit enter teenage tears my children (currently) still talk to me and share their lives with me.

  7. Yah! Good on you, Cath! It does need to be out there as an everyday descriptive word, void of shame or embarrassment. And it's bloody important too! A friend of mine fought long and hard for years trying to convince the powers that be to ban her ex from seeing her children because he had abused them. However, because the kids couldn't NAME where he'd touched them they said it was inconclusive. She finally found a way to keep him away from them legally but it was the most heartbreaking saga... and all because her little girl didn't know the word vagina for a social worker.

  8. And this my friend, is why I love you so.

  9. I'm so embarrassed at my work when women cant say vagina (midwife and maternal child health nurse), I've heard every euphenism from women for their own, and then go on to teach their kids! I wonder what their issues are!! Mine calls her a 'giner', short for vagina (hard to spell) but I'll never let her call it anything else! I'm more concerned about the toiulet paper ad where the little puppy sniffs the bottoms to see who's using the Gripples toilet paper (can't remember the brand). Now THAT'S embarrassing (for the guy who hasnt wiped his bum properly haha).

  10. I hear you and agree wholeheartedly...but in spite of my strong feminist principles - my upbringing reigns supreme and I stupidly balk at saying vagina, oh i can say vag ok. I HATE the discomfort that ad you talk about causes me, I hate even more that i am feeling uncomfortable. I will work on this.BUT I won't ever applaud advertisers for doing this as I believe that they are only going down this path because of the "shock value" like the Mentos blokes growing nipples or the beer tongue taking off. The ad makers are only exploiting our discharges and bodily fluids for their own personal gain. My guess is that when this ad was presented in the boardroom it was not presented with "now we want to be responsible and start taking sensible stance on something that is perfectly natural" - no way it would of been received with whoops of horror and joy that they hit the "shock jackpot" and could legitimately defend it as biologically natural....

    Great post and me and my vagina will sign off now!

  11. Ok, I haven't seen the ad (being a kiwi) but should it be vagina or vulva? Because if you want to get real technical, vagina is the 'birth canal' - the bit inside leading to the cervix and uterus. The vulva describes the external genitalia - labia, clitoris etc. And even I don't use vulva, and I'm a midwife. Not because I'm embarrassed, it's just such a funny sounding word (and lots of women don't know what you are referring too when you say it. I tend to use the individual words, like labia or perineum.

    And now that I've written all that, I wonder how your search engine stats are going to look!

  12. I knew a girl who called her vagina a dim sim.... She crashed on her bike and hurt her dim sim. I soooo didn't understand why she had a dim sim in her pants.


what a nice person you are- taking the time to comment in this busy hectic world...Thank you!!