Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Are you SURE that's a vagina?

For those of you who are teaching your kids the generic "girls have a vagina" lesson, you ARE teaching them that the proper term for the entire outer package is vulva and not vagina, right? I mean, you know that the words are not synonymous, don't you?  
Just in case, let me give you a quick anatomy lesson. 

Vagina and vulva are not the same thing.  They are not interchangeable physiological terms.
The vagina is part of the inner workings, not the outer.


I asked this question on a social networking forum and got a variety of responses including this one:
"My child is too young to know the technical terms for her body parts." (Ignore the fact that the pet name we have created for her genitalia is four syllables long and she's already made up a song about it.)


And this one:
"Vulva is just a gross word."   (Vulva is not a gross word.  "MOIST" is a gross word.)  
  
And also this one: "It all means the same thing."
(To say that it's all the same thing is as inaccurate as saying that your hand is a finger and your finger is a hand and that's just plain silly.)


You know what this post needs?  Venn Diagrams!  (I know they look like crazy cartoon breasts.  Shut up.)
It's true that all rectangles are parallelograms, but not all parallelograms are rectangles.  
Likewise, all vulvae contain vaginas (or rather, the vaginal opening), but all vaginas don't contain the vulvae.



Yes, there is a difference and the difference is huge.  Vulva = clitoris, labia (2 sets) urethra, vaginal opening.  Vagina = the canal that leads from the vaginal opening to the cervix.   


Do you need another diagram?  Okay, here:  




So if you choose to shave your vulva, that's cool.  Get creative. Have fun with it.  However, if you choose to shave your vagina, it's not going to end well.  Don't use the good towels. 


Now, I know there will be someone who will get all worked up about this. Calm down. You can teach your kids whatever you want.  Don't sweat it because some stranger on the internet told you that it's the wrong word.   You're not breaking any law of child rearing.  No member of the Vulva Brigade will show up and ticket you for referring to your lady bits as your bajingo and hand you some reading material about the inaccurately named Vagina Monologues. I'm not going to take away your euphemisms.  Hell, euphemisms are fun!  Tell them it's a Harvey Wallbanger or a FlufferNutter if you like.   


I'm just saying that technically, it's incorrect.  


To recap:

The vulva is the correct term for the outside parts as a collective whole.

The vagina is the correct term for the "collective hole".  



What's your favorite euphemism for the VULVA?





  
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25 comments:

  1. Um...you've got some incorrect info here. I do believe that our friend Christie is head of the Official Vulva Brigade, and she may show up and ticket people for incorrect terminology. It's not cool to lull the masses with false info, dood. Now they're all calm and chillin'...poor unsuspecting folks with their euphemisms. Meanwhile, Christie is just waiting to pounce, pamphlets in hand...

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    1. Shh. If you tell them she's coming, they won't answer the door.

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    2. Ready to pounce like Shir Khan the Tiger on Mowgli!

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    3. her info here is correct. you ppl need to get more info your self. she right on hers

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    4. To Anonymous posting on June 23, 2012 8:29 PM: You're an idiot! Yes the OP is correct but the comment from used2chaos was made in jest. Playing that there is a Vulva Brigade and that her friend Christie is the head of said fictional organization that hands out tickets and pamphlets for using the wrong terminology. Next time read the entire post before making a comment and making a fool of yourself.

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  2. pounce. there. RAWR.

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  3. Oh my goodness...so glad I wasn't mid-sip of coffee when I started reading this. Thanks!

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  4. Fantastic. Related: http://www.slate.com/articles/life/family/2012/02/postnatal_care_in_france_vagina_exercises_and_video_games.html

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  5. Ha! Funniest thing I've ever read about vaginas. And vulvae. And Venn Diagrams, come to think of it!

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  6. I might have to make up haiku for this.

    I'll be back later.

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  7. I remember reading "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" and Maya Angelou was a pre-teen asking her mother about her labia, thinking she was growing male parts, and her mother instructed her to get out the encyclopedia so they could look at the entry for "vulva" together. It was pleasing to see a mother so nonchalant and accurate with her child and it makes me want to do the same. The best advice is to not associate uneasiness with any of these words because that will make your child think that anything sex-related is shameful.

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    Replies
    1. My thoughts exactly! (Okay, maybe not exactly, but very very close. My thoughts actually had stick figure drawings.)

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  8. Oh, crap. Where are the old towels?!?!?!?!

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  9. I just like to call it my 'who-ha' :) a friend of mine refers to hers as her 'tink'..

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  10. This is too funny. By far the best Venn diagrams I have seen. I think more people would have paid attention to the diagrams in school if teacher had used your examples

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  11. well she is very correct on this post

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  12. I agree with summerdoula...SO glad I wasn't mid sip with my tea! I love your writing. Can't wait to read what you'll write next you Writer of Wrongs:)

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  13. Wow thanks! I can't wait to impress all the ladies with my newfound technical knowledge of their anatomy...

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    Replies
    1. I'm happy to have done my part, Thomas. ;)

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  14. Replies
    1. Is it black and yellow like the Pokémon?

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  15. Love how you made your Venn Diagrams all pervy and stuff. It makes me hot.

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  16. Pink... good choice in color.
    Now, don't discriminate... make a chart about the lovely penis.

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  17. Many years ago I had a girl-friend who called it her "muffin".

    We giggled a lot when shopping at bakeries.

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  18. Ok. This is hilarious. :) Ended up here whilst looking for ninja photos (google images search) for new project "Ninja Bloggers". Ironically, I also am very particular about wording. Haha. Also occurred to me that if more parents were comfortable discussing their bodies, kiddies would be more well-adjusted and comfortable talking about theirs. :) Also, love the diagrams.

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Spammers, get bent.



All others, thank you so much for your comments! ♥ Riki









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