or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › "Keep your legs closed"
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

"Keep your legs closed" - Page 5

post #81 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by rubidoux View Post

I don't see this as such a big deal.  A lot of people use the word "vagina" when referring to the whole package, and I feel like I can always, or at least usually, tell from context what they mean.  There is not another proper word (I mean other than things like hooha  --  though I'm more unclear on the technical meaning of hooha) for it, as far as I know.  If people are uncomfortable with or for some reason don't want to use "vulva" or "labia," why does it matter?  I'm sure we all know those words.  There are some words that really bother me because they feel like baby talk or like a way of pretending we don't really have vulvas, labias, or vaginas, like "girl parts", but if used with affection I don't have any problem with hooha or vajayjay.  If I had a little girl, I'd probably be using "vulva," "labia," and "vagina," and quite possibly using the word "vagina" to mean more than just her innards here and there, because I do think a lot of us are uncomfortable with those words because they weren't used with us as kids and I wouldn't want to pass that on to my dd.


It's funny how differently we all feel. I would vastly prefer "girl parts", "lady parts", "girly bits", etc. over "hooha" or "vajayjay". Actually, I've learned to largely tune out "vajayjay", but I think if someone used it to refer to my own genitals, my first reaction would be to want to smack them. I hate that term with a passion. (Mind you, a former Cub Scout leader I worked with referred to hers as a "whatsit", which made my head hurt, too.)

post #82 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by erigeron View Post

I don't think that feeling personally uncomfortable is a good reason to give another generation the same uncomfortableness that you (generic you) grew up with. Calling all of a little girl's genitals "vagina" is like calling everything a little boy has his testicles. It's just not accurate. I don't think it's fair to kids to pass down these inaccuracies.

 

Actually, it would be more like calling the whole thing his "penis", and I've certainly known a fair number of people who teach their boys a lot more about the penis and what to call it, than the testicles/scrotum. That said, there really are differences in teaching the names for boys, because 1) everybody does know the terms "scrotum", "testicles" and "penis", whlie not everybody knows "vulva", and 2) a boy's genitals are all hanging out and visible, so the question of discrete names for the various parts comes up much more clearly (I can actually remember one of my boys - not sure which - asking me what his scrotum was, and then asking me what was inside it). I honestly don't even remember wondering what my inner labia were all about, when they started to grow during puberty. It was just one of those body changes, and I didn't realize they had their own name, until sex ed. It just didn't occur to me that they were a separate part.

 

I'd honestly rather have a slang word to use as shorthand than use a correct word but use it wrong. I'd rather have my daughter learn that sometimes we call it by a fun name than to learn the wrong words for stuff.

 

I don't see a big problem with a slang word to use as shorthand. I, personally, wouldn't use most of them, because I don't find them "fun" - I find them annoying and unnecessarily cutesy. But, I don't see an issue with them. The issue with slang words, ime, is that many people use them, and don't teach any correct terminology at all.

 

There was a former daycare worker (I think - something like that - maybe a relative of the child?) who posted here once, talking about a child who was complaining that her "purse" hurt. Nobody had a clue what she was talking about. If that same child had said, "my vagina hurts", it's a safe bet the staff would have known where the problem was and been able to take steps to address it. (It's also possible that if the girl said "vulva", they'd have been confused.) Slang terms as shorthand are one thing. Slang terms, in lieu of any kind of proper words, is something else.
 

 

post #83 of 186

i think i started dont show your underwear when dd was what 5. however she does wear long dresses (its cheaper for me - get more wear out of it). shorter dresses she wore shorts or boxers or leggings underneath.

 

today at nine we dont do the shorts anymore. dd is more aware - but not always. she is usually mindful when she sits cross legged.

 

she is the climbing, high energy going crazy child so she doesnt always remember.

 

however i have NEVER done the cross your legs. that term makes my stomach curl.

 

and dd has always loved dresses and sweats since a toddler. not even jeans coz sweats and dresses were easier to climb and play in. dresses were GREAT to potty train in. i think its because of her dresses during potty training that she can pee flawlessly standing up. sit on her haunches to pee and she dribbles all over.

post #84 of 186

 I encourage my children to respect the comfortability of the other people (within reason, of course). 

 

 To be completely honest, I don't care if my children:

*say, "oh my god"

*burp out loud

*wear a hat to the dinner table

*ask innocently about another person's physical differences

*keep their elbow off the table

*wear appropriate attire in public

 

...but other people do, and in my opinion, we all deserve to be comfortable coexisting, and these are very little things that my children can do to ensure that everyone feels comfy. :)

post #85 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by rparker View Post

Actually,  what you can SEE is the labia and the entire "area" is properly referred to as the vulva not the vagina. The term vulva refers to the external genital organs of any female mammal. We taught our three year old to say vulva because both DH and I are overly pedantic and obsessed with encouraging her to have an accurate/varied vocabulary, but this post has made me reconsider the implications of different word choices in relation to this topic and now I'm finding other reasons to be annoyed by the use of "vagina" when someone actually means "vulva".... Basically, the hyper focus on vaginas is a focus on the sexual/reproductive aspects of a girl's body and that really shouldn't be an issue for girls as young as three. It really shouldn't be an issue prior to the onset of menstruation. The term vulva--which encompasses all the parts people are worried about other people seeing or not seeing or whatever--only technically includes the opening of the vagina, not the entire structure. I'm actually not sure that my three year old even realizes that she HAS a vagina although she certainly has some idea of what they are and how they function after the birth of her sister. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post
Sigh, its like telling your daughter she's wearing her innards outside of her. The area you see is the vulva/labia. Only the canal inside is the vagina..... that really is never seen by the casual eye..... even if you are a nudist.

I fail to understand why educated people intentionally get this wrong. Our daughters and sons need the language to describe every part of their body.


I'm an educated person who intentionally "gets this wrong."  Most people, at least on MDC, know the proper terms, but you know what?  99% of people I talk to IRL use the word vagina to describe the vulva and the labia (even though most of them I'm sure know the correct terminology), so I do too.  I think it sounds totally pretentious to use vulva and labia when the rest of the world uses vagina.  To me, it is like the difference between soda and pop, water fountain and bubbler.  If you live somewhere where pop is typically used and someone asks for soda, you *know* what they mean and it is rude to correct them. 

 

I mean, seriously, who cares?  If I had so few things to worry about in my life that I could find the time to be "annoyed" at others using the word vagina inaccurately, I'd consider myself a very lucky woman.  It reminds me of my grandma who gets pissed when people pronouce bruschetta and Ralph Lauren wrong. Life is a little too short to get uptight about stuff like this...

post #86 of 186

my dh is not an idiot by any means but just the other day he was surprised that i was using the word "vulva" to dd to describe just that.  he was also under the impression that it was a vagina.  i think there are lots of people who either use that word for the whole shebang or else are confused. 

(and for the record.. i haven't noticed that not knowing the correct terminology made him less ardent in general ;)  )

i don't see that it matters a whole lot, because at least when people are using either word they are attempting to communicate to their kid that there's a real word for the thing.  we don't have silly words for our arms and ears, etc.  and i think that using slang just adds to the mystery/confusion.  fwiw, my parents never. ever. even implied there was a word for it of any kind whatsoever.  so i'll take vagina over silence anyday.

post #87 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by hildare View Post
so i'll take vagina over silence anyday.


 

thumb.gif

Yes. This, exactly. You said what I was trying to say, and said it much, much more succinctly.

post #88 of 186

We're in the process of looking for books for my two eldest on sex, and I've noticed that if one looks at books from the 70s (I think "Where Did I Come from?" is one), one is likely to just see "vagina"--rather than labia, vulva, etc.  If one looks at more recently created books ("What the Big Secret", "it's Not the Stork"), one will see vulva for the external genitalia, and vagina referring to the actual vagina.  My guess is that back in the 70s, it was a big deal...and liberating...to just teach your kids vagina vs. girl parts or whatever it was called in the 50s or whatever.

 

 

post #89 of 186


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

While growing up, my mom was never taught the correct terms for any of her genitalia, as my grandmother was the type who tried to pretend that nobody, especially girls, even had genitals. When we were kids, mom used the "correct" terms with us, as she felt we deserved to know the names of our own body parts. However, we were taught to call the whole area the vagina.

 


My mother never used terms at all to refer to genitals. Ever. Not the right ones, not the wrong ones. Not cutesie ones. My genitals were "down there" or my "crotch".

 

I also got through basic "puberty education" at school in the 70's without real words being used. We just learned about our periods.

 

Honestly just telling my kids that "boys have penises and girls have vaginas" was a really massive step forward. We stuck with that for years because it was simple and clear. Around 9/10 I got a book and went through the whole shebang. Very detailed.

 

One of my DDs is currently in sex ed at her private progressive school -- which doesn't receive government money and therefore can tell the truth, and my DD was the best informed on human anatomy at the beginning of the class (the labor and delivery nurse who is assisting in the class told me I was doing a great job. thumb.gif )

 

I think very parents actually follow through and teach their kids anatomy and that this is one of the situations where mothering.com can be a bit extreme. Most girls don't have a clue what a vulva and clitoris are.

 

Based on my growing up experience and what I see of my kids' peers, I think any mother who manages to speak clearly and positively about her DD's genitals is doing a great job -- whatever words she chooses. winky.gif

post #90 of 186

So when your (general you) 2 year old son asks "do you have a penis, mama?", what do you tell him?  My first thought would be to say that I have a "vagina," but if I said that I'd definitely be thinking *wrong* because in my head I'd be using that word to mean the whole shebang.  So then I thought, maybe vulva, since that's what he can see if he's around when I get out of the shower, etc.  But then what he's really asking is "I have a penis, what do you have that is like a penis to you?"  But I don't think I can quite stand to tell my 2 yo, who is quite a talker, that he has a penis and I have a clitoris.  At least I wouldn't want to be there when he starts singing loudly about it in the grocery store.  And anyway, although it's the closest approximation of a penis, I think, it's still pretty different.  I don't use it to pee, for example.  In the end, I guess I think "vagina" is fine  --  and that would be the whole package kind of vagina, not the innards only version.  I am pretty sure that's what just about everyone we know is going to tell their little boys.  And some day in the future he will learn the correct terminology.  

post #91 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

I mean, seriously, who cares? 

Obviously, I do.


Also, when you think your daughter or son may have been touched inappropriately... it helps a bunch for your kids to have the language to tell all. For kids who may have been misinformed on body part language.. the police have a special doll your kid can use to point to the parts the offender touched.

Telling any kid her vagina is the whole outside part is gross. Is she a sea cucumber? Did she turn her insides outside? Weird!
post #92 of 186
Are you kidding?! lol.gif Many police officers wouldn't know what a vulva is! They'd more likely know what a vagina is.


Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post


Obviously, I do.


Also, when you think your daughter or son may have been touched inappropriately... it helps a bunch for your kids to have the language to tell all. For kids who may have been misinformed on body part language.. the police have a special doll your kid can use to point to the parts the offender touched.

Telling any kid her vagina is the whole outside part is gross. Is she a sea cucumber? Did she turn her insides outside? Weird!
post #93 of 186

I think telling a girl that all her girl parts are called a vagina is analogous to saying that your anus, rectum or colon is your butt. It's just not the same and it is much more empowering to know the true names for your body parts. I do think it is important to know in cases of molestation as philomom pointed out and also just because it's always good to have the ability to be specific. I have certainly told my girls all their parts including clitoris, but now at age 10 in the age of embarrassment (cue music) my dd1 has started referring to her girl parts as her "crotch". Wouldn't be my choice, but whatever. 

 

Personally, although as evidenced by this thread many women use "vagina" when they mean "vulva" or all female genitalia,  I never think of a vulva when I hear "vagina" just like  I don't think of a butt when I hear "anus". I don't know that I know anyone who uses "vagina" to refer to their vulva, either, although I don't spend a lot of time talking with my female friends about this subject, but it just hasn't come up in conversation. I think my female friends would be more likely to use a nickname and I'm not at all offended by that any more than I would be offended by hiney, or tushie, or bum, or rear end, etc, instead of butt or gluteus maximus. 

post #94 of 186

I can see them scratching their head staring into an anatomy book while trying to write the report...

 

Also I've seen the dolls used, not by police by the way and they don't have the genitalia labeled...  So if they point at the Vagina when they mean the left shoulder... then maybe they should label it all correctly. 

post #95 of 186

The thing is when my daughter is "playing with herself" I tell her she's touching her vagina because at that moment her fingers are as far in her vagina as they can go.  Sometimes she's touching her clitoris and I tell her that, but it doesn't happen as often.  So I'm sure she thinks all of that area, her vulva, is actually her vagina.  Whatever, when my son was that age he thought the whole thing was his penis.  He know knows penis, glans, foreskin, shaft, scrotum, testicle, and urethra.  But if I had introduced all of that too soon he would have been very, very confused.  So I'm sure that in the beginning it's totally okay to refer to the vulva as a vagina.

post #96 of 186

I suppose I'm biased because my mother taught me that I had a vulva, and I figured out what a vagina and clitoris were a little later on. Vulva just seems like a more relevant concept for a young child because that is the structure that is the easiest to see and interact with. I suppose anything is a step up from "down there" or silence, but I'm an idealist.

 

Kind of off-topic, euphemisms got away from me in a big way when I had my daughter. In post-partum the nurses would periodically want to check my "bottom", and I was kind of mystified because I figured that wasn't the part that had taken a beating during the birth process, but I kind of went with it. I didn't figure out until my six-week post-partum checkup what she meant, when the student midwife used the same word and was clearly referring to the vagina. I'm not entirely sure whether this qualifies as trying to make patients comfortable, or trying SO hard to make people comfortable that you end up obscuring what you're talking about, or if this is just a euphemism that everybody knows except me... to me, "bottom" was the buttocks and associated structures. I can think of a lot of terms that could be used for the vagina and that one would never have registered. (I'm in the US, btw. I understand the slang is different in other countries.)

post #97 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post

Obviously, I do.


Also, when you think your daughter or son may have been touched inappropriately... it helps a bunch for your kids to have the language to tell all. For kids who may have been misinformed on body part language.. the police have a special doll your kid can use to point to the parts the offender touched.

Telling any kid her vagina is the whole outside part is gross. Is she a sea cucumber? Did she turn her insides outside? Weird!


Are you kidding me?  I've worked extensively with children who have been sexually abused.  *If* that child happened to know semi-appropriate words to describe their genitals, those words were penis and vagina.  I've not once heard the words vulva or labia used by a child.  Not only that, but plenty of judges, police officers, social workers, parents, and offenders would probably look at the child if they used the word vulva and say "huh? the what?" 

 

If the wording is important to you, I think that is okay.  What I don't think is okay is that the tone of this thread has become condescending towards those who choose to use the term vagina or who don't know the difference.  Vagina is correct in that it is the word that 99% of Americans use in their daily conversation to describe the vulva and labia.  It isn't like anyone is suggesting calling it a fun box or something. 

 

post #98 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by erigeron View Post

Kind of off-topic, euphemisms got away from me in a big way when I had my daughter. In post-partum the nurses would periodically want to check my "bottom", and I was kind of mystified because I figured that wasn't the part that had taken a beating during the birth process, but I kind of went with it. I didn't figure out until my six-week post-partum checkup what she meant, when the student midwife used the same word and was clearly referring to the vagina. I'm not entirely sure whether this qualifies as trying to make patients comfortable, or trying SO hard to make people comfortable that you end up obscuring what you're talking about, or if this is just a euphemism that everybody knows except me... to me, "bottom" was the buttocks and associated structures. I can think of a lot of terms that could be used for the vagina and that one would never have registered. (I'm in the US, btw. I understand the slang is different in other countries.)


The same thing happened to me!! In fact, I was absolutely terrified of them checking my 'bottom' because I didn't understand what they actually meant... I thought they were going to do a rectal exam or something! yikes.gif

We use 'vulva' but I don't have a daughter so it's more, "Boys have a penis & girls have a vulva" and really, I still feel like I'm not being totally accurate but DS seems to get the point well enough, and even understands that friends of ours refer to it as a 'yoni'...

I hate the cutesy terms though, they just make me cringe. Yuck, I can hear my mom's words for things echoing in my head...
post #99 of 186

Haven't read all replies but here's my take:

 

1. My daughters, when they wear dresses at an age where they're still prone to tumbling but are out of diapers, have always worn shorts, leggings or tights under dresses while playing. Diapers, not so much. If a kid is still in diapers, therefore not potty trained, therefore probably not developmentally "there" on learning to cover their butts in public. 

 

2. My son will be told to keep his underwear covered outside the house too, once he's old enough to understand the concept of appropriate behavior. It's just good manners to not go waving your underwear around in public.

 

3. Teaching kids that "where your underwear covers is private" is an important safety lesson... My mother taught it to me, and when a stranger reached out and grabbed my crotch in an alley when I was 9, pulling away and running and yelling "No" because that's *private* probably kept me a hell of a lot safer than if I hadn't been given a really clear message that the only person who got to touch that was me. 

 

4. I would never tell anyone to "cross their legs" to hide their crotch... crossing legs is bad for circulation. No one should do it habitually, least of all the kids of someone with a clotting disorder. (My teenager inherited the same disorder from me)

 

5. That said, I don't think it's a bad idea to teach kids more formal manners for more formal situations. And more formal manners can include sitting with knees together, with good posture, for either gender. But it's not something to insist on away from a party table or afternoon tea with Grandma. Teaching kids this kind of manner can be done in a fun way, and it's good practice for kids to learn that some social situations call for different kinds of "good manners" than others. 

 

6. Likewise, at home, we're far less concerned about covered underwear than say, at church, or in the grocery store. Different manners for different places. 

 

ETA: Skimming back... oh my god. The language debate... We've always just called it a crotch. Works for either gender. Been called that for centuries. Then again, we've had girl children only in the family going back sixty years, so the whole differentiation thing doesn't usually come up much until kids are four or five. I'm sure that will change when my son is born. My niece uses "yoni", and I'm fine with that. I prefer the word to vagina, for etymological and anatomical reasons. I don't really like kids of either gender running around and yelling about their penis or vagina casually. Once they hit 5-7 years old, I have a bunch of midwifery books and "A New View of a Woman's Body", which has the most amazing detailed drawings of both male and female anatomy, with scientific names, etc. 

 

I answer all questions about body parts, where babies come from, sex, etc. as frankly as seems appropriate given the questions being asked.

 

I thought pee came out of my clitoris until I was at least 8 years old, so helping kids understand what exactly is where is something I'm happy to do. I'm fine with my girls knowing what their parts are called, but for most usages, crotch or yoni is sufficient, and if we need to get more specific, we'll pull out the diagrams and get more specific. 


Edited by jenrose - 9/20/11 at 3:39pm
post #100 of 186
Quote:
Originally Posted by APToddlerMama View Post

  Vagina is correct in that it is the word that 99% of Americans use in their daily conversation to describe the vulva and labia. 

But its not correct.

If 99% of Americans jumped off a bridge, would you? Cause that's your line of reasoning here.

My friends and I use the correct terminology... even with our small children.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Parenting
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › "Keep your legs closed"