Originally Posted by 2xy
I understand where you're coming from, but I guess my feeling is that using incorrect terms just perpetuates misinformation and ignorance on the subject. Sure, your mom should be commended for trying her best. She wasn't educated on the subject. Shouldn't those of us who ARE educated on the subject be commended for trying to educate others? No, I don't think it should be done in a condescending or scornful way. I've seen corrections made calmly and pleasantly before and the Vagina Defenders still get all ticked off.
I've seen very few corrections on these boards that were made in a way that wasn't condescending. Many of them are out and out insulting, and strongly imply that the person being corrected has no business even having an opinion about that part of their anatomy if they don't use the correct terms. I, fortunately, picked up on the "vulva" terminology a long time ago. The way I've mostly seen it presented over the last few years would have probably made me dig in my heels, too.
And, no - I don't actually think it's really perpetuating the problem. IMO, the real problem isn't a lack of knowledge about the correct terms. The real problem is the underlying idea that those areas shouldn't be talked about at all. If a woman is comfortable talking about her vagina, and using that word, I think it's huge, huge, huge progress.
Even saying "labia" to refer to the outer portion would be better than "vagina." Most people know the word labia.
A belly-button and a navel are the same thing, so I don't really get the comparison. "Belly button" is a slang term, but it's one that pretty much everyone knows...just like "vagina" for vulva. That would be like saying booby instead of breast. Same thing, but one's a slang word. I feel like people are turning "vagina" into a slang word. So....if what we can see from the outside is called a vagina, what do we call the inside part? It's like calling your buttocks "rectum."
Yes. Technically, it's like calling your buttocks your "rectum". But, in general usage, "vagina" is used for both the vagina and the vulva. I don't even understand why you're asking what we call the inside part if we call the visible part the vagina. We call it the vagina. People have been doing this (using "vagina" for both) for decades, and it really hasn't caused a lot of problems for those of us who did it. In every single case I can ever remember, it's very, very clear from context which part the speaker is referring to. I certainly never had anyone express confusion. I know many women my age who do the same thing, and none of them has ever encountered confusion.
As I type, dd2 is saying "you poked me in the tummy" to her big brother. "Tummy" is short for "stomach", as I understand it, and I highly doubt that ds1 was poking anyone in the stomach...but it doesn't cause any confusion when she says that. And, I've never had any trouble figuring out what my kids are talking about when they say "I have a stomach-ache/tummy ache" (internal) vs. "so-and-so hit me in the stomach" (external). This is really, really, really not a big deal, in terms of creating any kind of confusion, because it doesn't.
Seriously, in 43 years of life in a English speaking area, the only people who have ever been confused about this are posters (usually condescending and snarky) on MDC. Literally every. other. person. I've ever met who has heard someone (in real life or on tv or whatever) use the term "vagina" has been very clear as to whether the area being discussed is the actual vagina, or the vulva.