Thursday, March 8, 2007

Vagina talk

Some naughty schoolgirls found themselves suspended for uttering the filthy word "vagina" in public. The girls were quoting the Vagina Monologues at a show. The principal who suspended them approved the piece but had demanded that they not say the devil word. Presumably, as Feministe notes, because of his fear that if they say the word, they'll realise they have vaginas. And use them!

Both my daughters know they have vaginas. The eldest also knows that she has a clitoris and exactly where it is. (I've never really understood the bullshit about men's not being able to find a clitoris. You only need to be shown once. The myth of their unfindability for men expresses the notion that they are just not important enough for men to remember where they are.)

They are 6 and 2. I am fairly sanguine about the prospect that they might one day use them. Mrs Zen caught them talking about their vaginas the other evening. She said, you mustn't do that at school. Why? asked Zenella. Because other people don't like people talking about vaginas, she said. Well, that's their problem, I said. I don't see why Zenella should be ashamed of having a vagina or think that it's anything to hide.

And I was thinking. The hiding your knickers thing. You know, when you sit down and cross your legs, some of you ladies try to not let your panties show? That dates back to the days before bikinis, IYKWIM. You can let it all hang out now.

Unless you're not wearing knickers. That might be a tad too liberated even for the noughties.


Anonymous Paula Light said...

Too funny! Why the hell was the piece okayed if you couldn't say the title of it? I wonder if they're allowed to discuss Moby DICK.

March 8, 2007 at 1:04 PM  
Anonymous Dr Zen said...

I've never liked that title. Moby dick sounds like something you could catch from a vagina.

March 8, 2007 at 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Nobody said...

Well, fair's fair. If all those librarians can ban the Newbery medalist for using the word scrotum I don't see why girls should be allowed to run around screaming vagina.

March 9, 2007 at 6:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunatly when young children talk openly about any thing of a sexual nature, it sets alarm bells ring in the heads of teaching and medical staff as it is often indicative of children who are/have been sexually abused.

March 9, 2007 at 7:27 AM  
Anonymous Looney said...

Well, anon., that is true, but it is usually talk that is sexual in nature rather than just factual. It is ridiculous to perpetuate the taboo stigma of frank, honest, educational discourse with our children. And your comment is really dependent on age. If a kindergartner is speaking graphically about sexual contact between two people, then yes, the alarms probably do, and should, go off. But if the same kid happens to say that babies come out mommy's vagina, then chances are mom just had a baby and didn't buy in to the *dirtyness* of human sexuality and just told their tyke like it was. Then again, if an 11-year old is overheard explaining how intercourse happens to a peer, it may simply be that their parents had the big talk with them and were open and honest rather than prudish and freaked out.

I believe we have to be honest with our kids, and tell them the truth when they ask, and not attach shame and taboo responses to honest questions born of natural curiosity.

March 9, 2007 at 4:14 PM  
Anonymous Dr Zen said...

I think you are both right, in that sexual talk will set off alarms, rightly or wrongly, but that should not put us off speaking frankly and openly with our kids.

As it happens, parents here are advised to use the "proper" words for vaginas, penises etc, so that when our children talk about "hoohahs" or "winkles", we know to investigate where they got the vocab from. Of course, round here, the good intention is ruined by fuckwitted fundies who insist that penises are so dirty they cannot be named.

March 9, 2007 at 4:20 PM  
Anonymous Looney said...

fuckwitted fundies

Sad and true. It's pretty stupid, really, because if God created everything, then he created sex, and if it's fun, then maybe he made it that way on purpose so we'd want to do lotsa boffing and fill the earth, blah-blah-blah. And yes, I'm criticizing my own, because it's just senseless.

Hell, you'd think none of them have ever read the Song of Solomon. Biblical erotica right there.

I still think that more teenagers would choose the abstinence many of us wish for our teens, if only it wasn't made to seem mysterious and dark and secret. If they know it's a natural and beautiful part of being a mature adult, and even for those of us of a more religious ilk, a healthy, lovely, necessary part of a strong marriage.

I think the tabooism (hey, new word?) supercharges the reckless sexuality indulged in by some teens.

March 9, 2007 at 5:53 PM  
Anonymous Dr Zen said...

Keep kidding yourself, Looners. Hormones are like rocket fuel for cocks, dude. Chain up your daughter(s) (can't remember whether you have more than one, apologies). I know I'm going to.

Anyway, I don't want abstinence for mine. I'm shooting for "nothing you'll truly regret". I think a healthy attitude should help hit that aim.

March 9, 2007 at 5:58 PM  
Anonymous Looney said...

No, I do think you're right for the most part. I certainly don't mean what I say on a wholesale scale, but rather incrementally. Many kids, I think, would make better decisions. For a few, that would be abstinence. For many it might mean actually using the freakin' condom, or taking time to go to the gyno and get the pill, or whatever, know what I mean? I think honesty and openness are bound to improve the lot of all the kids they touch.

And I think your aim the far more realistic, and better stated, and I hope that for all of my kids very much.

I have small regrets, and I didn't abstain until marriage. And though I wish I had, I know that I lived through it okay, didn't knock up the missus too early :-) and generally have a life untouched by those smaller bumps in the road.

Just one daughter (thank heavens, she's a handful!) And no apologies necessary. As an aside, she does happen to be the only one of us Looneys ever to be on the same soil as you :-)

March 9, 2007 at 6:12 PM  
Anonymous Nobody said...

fuckwitted fundies

Band name!

March 10, 2007 at 5:10 AM  
Anonymous Jefe said...

"I still think that more teenagers would choose the abstinence many of us wish for our teens, if only it wasn't made to seem mysterious and dark and secret."

Maybe a handful of girls, maybe, but I don't see any teenaged boy hopped up on hormones not trying to get laid. Like Zen said, chain up the girls. My oldest is 13, and for the first time in my life I'm reconsidering my stance on guns (a 12-gauge in each hand should keep the little bastards at bay, shouldn't it?)

March 15, 2007 at 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Dr Zen said...

Jeff, please remember that the ban on assault weapons has lapsed and arm yourself adequately for the job. Actually, you'll probably need a tank.

March 15, 2007 at 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Jefe said...

Update: Said 13-year-old has her first boyfriend. Tomorrow night is a school dance. Said 13-year-old and said boyfriend are going "together," as in, boyfriend's dad is picking up our girl and driving them to the dance. Yours truly is picking up kids at dance and driving boyfriend home.

Jeff the Father is near coronary.

Jeff the Actor can't wait to meet the kid.

March 16, 2007 at 10:11 AM  

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