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What name do you use for your daughters private parts? - Page 8

post #141 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeca View Post
They had another reason for not making a case. Pocketbook is actually a pretty common term in some areas and is what I was taught I chose not to teach it for other reasons. My friend had to tell officers about someone touching her "pocketbook" and he was arrested and prosecuted. Her "vulva" was never mentioned actually she was given pictures and a model to show what had happened.
i read in the fantastic book, "Protecting the Gift" by Gavin DeBecker another reason not to teach euphemisms is b/c the predator knows right away that the child doesn't have an open & easy dialogue w/ his/her parents about sexuality & thus is less likely to tell. or say no. or maybe to even know that they were abused in the first place. He quotes a police officer as saying, "show me a child who knows nothing of sex and i'll show you a highly qualified victim."

we use vulva as a general word, & clitoris, vagina, labia, urethra and anus. since that's what they r called. my ds has testicles & a penis with a foreskin, and an anus.

no rice or ronis and yetis around here

i also agree with the PP who wondered why there is a choice here? an arm is always an arm- why is a vulva any different?

i've never read "Spiritual Midwifery" but now i must. I cannot believe INA MAY would DO THAT. a button? a puss? ick!! tsk tsk!
post #142 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
Wouldn't we think it downright bizarre if a family regularly referred to their arms as "marmas" and taught their kids to use that term? If they said, "It's our personal choice to call them "marmas." Because we don't like the sound of the word "arm."

I mean, what is the difference here? What purpose is served by avoiding proper terms?

I also find it disengenuous for someone choosing another word to claim that the proper terms "sound unpleasant." Why does this only come up in reference to genitalia? The word "scalp" has never sounded very melodious to me. But am I going to start calling the top of my head a "scalonia" instead? Just because I can?
This is my thinking as well. "Teeth" and "wrists" are not exactly a pretty words, but IMO that doesn't mean I should call them mouth pearls and hand stems.
post #143 of 184
I don't have a daughter but if I did I would call all parts of the body by their actual names. I will do this for my son as well. I had a health teacher in high school and he refused to call any of the reproductive organs by their proper names! It was terribly disturbing. Their is nothing wrong or dirty about that area of our anatomy.
post #144 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
I agree that the overall goal is to teach self-respect.

But what I still don't get is why the words we use for genitalia should be considered a personal choice. Wouldn't we think it downright bizarre if a family regularly referred to their arms as "marmas" and taught their kids to use that term? If they said, "It's our personal choice to call them "marmas." Because we don't like the sound of the word "arm."

I mean, what is the difference here? What purpose is served by avoiding proper terms?

I also find it disengenuous for someone choosing another word to claim that the proper terms "sound unpleasant." Why does this only come up in reference to genitalia? The word "scalp" has never sounded very melodious to me. But am I going to start calling the top of my head a "scalonia" instead? Just because I can?
My point here is that it's a personal choice and the intent is what's important - if you are teaching your child respect for themselves and not to be ashamed, that is the main issue. Do you want to call your scalp a scalonia? Maybe we would all think that was bizarre. But no one is going to stop you. It's a CHOICE. The issue I was having is that people have such a hard time with those of us who don't want to address the genital area by each of its specific names to a 2-year old girl... the fact that I call my daughter's genitals a "pee-pee" right now is probably desperately frowned-upon by the same people who idolize the woman who calls it a "puss" in her popular book (which I despise, I am sorry - I cannot use that word, it's too close to the word used by sordid woman-hating porn mags).

I don't really think the accepted medical terms "sound unpleasant." I also don't have a problem with the word "yoni." It's not familiar to me, although I have heard it a lot in the past few years, so that's why I don't use it. But I certainly don't begrudge people who do. I may not agree with mamas who call their daughter's private areas a "cookie" or a "nubby," but I am not one to say they are wrong or that they should stop what they're doing lest they cause psychological damage to their child. It's not up to me what you call it - I just don't want anyone to judge because I don't do what they do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by leerypolyp View Post
Has anyone read Spiritual Midwifery? (Yeah, yeah, it's MDC.) You know how the anatomical pictures are all labeled with homey euphemisms like "button" for clitoris and "puss" for...I'm not sure, vulva or vagina?

How do you feel about that?

(Personally it squicked me out, and I lovelovelove Ina May Gaskin. But if anybody ever asked me about my "button"...in labor...I'd probably laugh that baby right out my beautiful daisy.)
See above. I can't use that word. I am much like a PP in that I almost couldn't keep going with that book once I saw that Ina May used "puss" to describe female genitalia. Add a "y" to that word and you have the preferred term of the pornography industry. No thanks.
post #145 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekingSerenity View Post
It's a CHOICE. The issue I was having is that people have such a hard time with those of us who don't want to address the genital area by each of its specific names to a 2-year old girl... the fact that I call my daughter's genitals a "pee-pee" right now...
SeekingSerenity, I totally understand that you feel it's a choice. What I don't understand is *why* anyone would make that choice. That's where I'm honestly confused.

Presumably you teach your daughter the real words for hair, nose, eyes, hands, etc. I remember going through this with my own kids:

kid points to nose: "na!"
me: "yes, that's your nose."
kid points to toes: "ta!"
me: yes, that's your toe."
kid points to penis "pee!"
me: "yes, that's your penis."

and if I had a girl, I imagine it would go:
kid: "va!"
me: "yes, that's your vulva."

It's not rocket science, you know?

Teaching the correct term is no more difficult than teaching a cutesy incorrect term. So you're not making the choice out of difficulty. The only other reason I can imagine is that you are uncomfortable with the correct terms. And I guess what I'm having "a hard time with" is the idea of passing on that discomfort to a child.

But if I'm wrong about my reasoning here, please let me know. Really, I find this whole thing hard to wrap my mind around.
post #146 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by EnviroBecca View Post
Those of you who are sticklers for "vagina" referring only to the internal organ: Ever complained of a "stomachache"? Ever lie down on your "stomach"? Don't you know the stomach is a specific internal organ?!
This questions brings to mind one of the biggest reasons I think it's important to call a vulva a vulva. We talk about "stomach" because we can feel our stomachs. When we feel pain or pressure in our bellies, it feels like our stomachs, whether it really is or not.

The vulva is the part of the female genitalia with all the nerve endings. It's the part where girls experience both good (and bad, but mostly good) sensations. We feel through our vulvas, often intensely. The vagina doesn't have nerve endings. Unless we're giving birth, we tend not to think about how they feel at all. Big difference.

And I think little girls need to know what their vulvas are and what they're for not just so they can accurately describe abuse if need be, but so they can figure out what feels good to them and what they like as they grow and later when they're sexually active adults. So they can be confident and comfortable with their own bodies and all the complexities of their bodies. It's hard to give your child that gift if you mask the entire complex, feeling genital area with a single word. A single wrong word that actually describes a nerveless area. If you don't think that distinction is culturally significant... time to think a little harder.
post #147 of 184
I think we underestimate our kids' capacity to understand what we consider complex terms. When DD was in diapers and her labia was irritated or had a bit of a rash, I would tell her that I was putting cream on her labia. When she was learning to wipe, I would tell her to wipe from front to back so as not to risk introducing anything from her anus into her vagina. We're straight forward and direct.

I had never heard "yoni" before, either.
post #148 of 184
I've learned more about my girly bits from this thread than I have in my whole life. I had to do a google search on femal anatomy to figure out what the labia and vulva were : Just to be sure, the "vulva" is basically the entire area, right? And then there's major/minor labia within the "whole area/vulva" right? I'm so embarrassed. (And this is exactly why I want to teach my dd the right terms from the start...so that she's knowledged and not embarrassed of her body).

Quote:
ultconsumer I think we underestimate our kids' capacity to understand what we consider complex terms. When DD was in diapers and her labia was irritated or had a bit of a rash, I would tell her that I was putting cream on her labia. When she was learning to wipe, I would tell her to wipe from front to back so as not to risk introducing anything from her anus into her vagina. We're straight forward and direct.

I had never heard "yoni" before, either.
And another embarrassing question... If the vagina is the actual opening, how do you teach daughters that's what it is? Do you hold up a mirror and show them? Do you explain what it feels like and let them explore? omg...I'm running away now
post #149 of 184
And this is what gets me about these types of threads. It always seems to turn into "I am smarter than you" type thing. "
post #150 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by OhDang View Post
Vagina. VAGINA VAGINA VAGINA!!
what is wrong with the normal part?? What is soo wrong with saying vagina? I think it's wrong to call your child's private parts a nickname.
Do you have a nickname for you elbow? your knees? no. so why should vangina be any different?
We say sometimes say "tummy" and "belly" instead of stomach
post #151 of 184
When my kids are younger we'll have differnet names for them and just generally call them private parts. As they get older we'll probably explain more. Not sure yet.

But what I don't get is why anyone cares if I have a daughter and teach her to say "flower" "yoni" "vagina" or break out the diagram and teach her every little area. It's no one's business and it's a personal parenting decision. Maybe you (and this isn't aimed at anyone in particular) don't agree that the vaginal area should be called by other words, but face it, it is and it's not the end of the world.
post #152 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by zinemama View Post
SeekingSerenity, I totally understand that you feel it's a choice. What I don't understand is *why* anyone would make that choice. That's where I'm honestly confused.

Teaching the correct term is no more difficult than teaching a cutesy incorrect term. So you're not making the choice out of difficulty. The only other reason I can imagine is that you are uncomfortable with the correct terms. And I guess what I'm having "a hard time with" is the idea of passing on that discomfort to a child.
This is correct - it's not rocket science, and when my daughter is a little older, I will have no problem teaching her the specific names for her anatomy...

But yes, right now there is discomfort. It's not something for this forum. In any case, it's something SHE is having an issue with, even at her young age, and to deal with this issue requires generalizations just to get her to acknowledge that area is there on her body (she's been refusing to call it anything) without further upsetting the situation. It's not a typical case, I admit, and honestly I'd probably still be general with names at this age even without extenuating circumstances, but as for "why" I make that choice? Outside of this particular case, I'd have to say it's because that's how I was raised. Maybe that's a cop-out, but it's how most of us base our parenting - taking what we know and adapting our own style from it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by grniys View Post
But what I don't get is why anyone cares if I have a daughter and teach her to say "flower" "yoni" "vagina" or break out the diagram and teach her every little area. It's no one's business and it's a personal parenting decision. Maybe you (and this isn't aimed at anyone in particular) don't agree that the vaginal area should be called by other words, but face it, it is and it's not the end of the world.
THANK YOU. Why is it of such concern? I know some mamas on here are just trying to clarify why others use terms they don't agree with, but in truth, I think this thread was started to be an open discussion of different choices, not so much a "How could you" or "Why shouldn't I" type of thing. I think it's pretty awesome that some mamas have really learned new things during the course of this discussion, so at least that good has come from it.

But we should all be able to chime in with the choices we've made and not have to feel defensive as to why. These are our daughters, after all, and not one of us on here has any desire to cause distress or confusion in our little girls. We're doing what we think is appropriate for our families... and that's up to each of us individually.

Peace, mamas...
post #153 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeca View Post
, don't rightly care if it's the most correct term or not. I don't feel the need to teach my 6 year old her labia versus her vulva. So should the vagina monologue's rename their show the vulva, clitoris, labia, and vagina monologue's (maybe VCLV for short) since technically speaking there's more than just the vagina involved? So it is a common catch all rather it is correct or not. When she is older she can learn all the correct terms, guess I'm just not PC enough, no worries on my end about it.

But when is older, and who is there to teach her other than you?
post #154 of 184
Interesting thread, I don't have a daughter but got through it! For reference, we call our boys parts, peeper, because you pee out of there and will make an easy transition to penis.

When I was growing up, we had all sorts of names for ones vulva/vagina. I grew up in Toronto, and many of the names were not the Latin ones people have talked about here. I honestly don't know what I'd tell my girls to call it, not out of shame, but vagina and vulva just really aren't a part of my vocabulary and I don't feel any more empowered using those words.

I also don't think for a second that teaching your children the "proper" names for ones genitals is going to keep them any safer from pedophiles or make them a more credible witness in court. I've been in the courtrooms, I've worked with the children and the parents, and their vocabulary or lack thereof was not really a factor in why these children were selected by these predators. Sexual predators often like to prey on children who are neglected, poorly supervised and/or abused. Not to say that they don't grab kids who are well cared for, but they want to decrease their chances of getting caught and vigilant parents are a big deterrent.
post #155 of 184
My 2 yr old knows she has a vulva, & that others may have a penis (& she has some cute little cloth dolls that are anatomically correct; I admit, I was a little embarrassed the 1st time that she stripped the clothes off the dollies & presented them to her 80 yr old grandfather (my FIL), announcing that "Mike has a penis!", but that's my hangup, & granddad seems unfazed; & she has seen DH & I dressing, her sister getting changed/bathed, & observed the anatomy of our dogs). She knows that poop comes out of the anus, & we often refer to the whole area covered by her diaper as her bottom or heiny. I've told her that girls have vulvas & boys have penises, but I'm not sure what she actually makes of gender. We haven't really labeled the testicles, because they're not as obvious - & I didn't want try explaining yet why some males - our housedog, for instance - don't have any. I'll explain more detail about her anatomy when she's old enough to ask about the different parts.
post #156 of 184
Quote:
Originally Posted by grniys View Post
But what I don't get is why anyone cares if I have a daughter and teach her to say "flower" "yoni" "vagina" or break out the diagram and teach her every little area. It's no one's business and it's a personal parenting decision. Maybe you (and this isn't aimed at anyone in particular) don't agree that the vaginal area should be called by other words, but face it, it is and it's not the end of the world.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeekingSerenity View Post
But we should all be able to chime in with the choices we've made and not have to feel defensive as to why. These are our daughters, after all, and not one of us on here has any desire to cause distress or confusion in our little girls. We're doing what we think is appropriate for our families... and that's up to each of us individually.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MayBaby2007 View Post
I've learned more about my girly bits from this thread than I have in my whole life. I had to do a google search on femal anatomy to figure out what the labia and vulva were : Just to be sure, the "vulva" is basically the entire area, right? And then there's major/minor labia within the "whole area/vulva" right? I'm so embarrassed. (And this is exactly why I want to teach my dd the right terms from the start...so that she's knowledged and not embarrassed of her body).

And another embarrassing question... If the vagina is the actual opening, how do you teach daughters that's what it is? Do you hold up a mirror and show them? Do you explain what it feels like and let them explore? omg...I'm running away now
First of all, Maybaby, please, please, please don't feel like I'm picking on you because I WAS you not all that long ago. My mother taught me nothing about what she referred to as my "nubby" and I was horrified when I learned at 12 that others didn't refer to it the same way. I remember my humiliation at a sleepover quite well.

To answer the first two posters, Maybaby's situation, and mine, is EXACTLY why I can't support the use of cutesy nicknames for female genitalia. Maybaby is a woman who has given birth to her own child not knowing what the word labia meant. And you'll note that, just like me, it is her aim to teach her child so that she won't feel the same shame about those body parts that she was raised with. For both her and me, the decision of our parents to leave our body parts unnamed or mis-named has indeed caused distress and confusion.

To answer your questions, Maybaby, you've got the whole vulva/labia majora/minora stuff right. Two other important parts you might want to locate and name are the urethra and clitoris. Others may laugh, but I didn't know the difference until I was 17 and had a bladder infection. The doctor (old male doctor -- oh the humiliation) had to explain it to me.

As far as the actual vagina, I would probably just tell her that she has one and it's the opening out of which babies will be born. I don't think I would actually direct her exploration, but I think if she knows it's there, she'll eventually go looking for it on her own.

Sorry but this is a painful issue for me.
post #157 of 184
Vulva or pee pee. Some fake words I just can't stand. My friend uses the term "monkey". It's really confusing in a conversation.
post #158 of 184
LOL "monkey"??? Thats a new one to me.

DS has a penis and testicles. DD has a vagina (though I must admit I hate that I call it that when we are actually talking about the vulva... I dont know, she is 3.. I just let it go). Once or twice I have referred to it as cootchie. I know, nice.
post #159 of 184
Something I wanted to mention - while I taught my daughter the correct terminology from the beginning, I wasn't comfortable with it at first. It was through watching my daughter treat the word 'vulva' as any other body part that helped me get over my hangups from childhood. DD also knows that I have a baby in my uterus (not my tummy or stomach) and while she hasn't asked how it's going to come out yet, I will explain that to her in plain terms as well.
post #160 of 184
Quote:
But when is older, and who is there to teach her other than you?
You know, I grew up in a conservative small town, but the pamphlet produced by Kotex that was handed out in 6th grade in public school included a diagram of the female genitals with the labia majora, labia minora, clitoris, vagina, hymen, and vulva accurately labeled. Any girl interested enough to read that pamphlet thus learned this information. It was also presented in puberty/sex-ed classes I attended through church and Girl Scouts. My local public library had several anatomy texts with diagrams. I didn't take college biology, but my friends who did learned all the internal as well as external female structures. Parents are not the only possible source of this information, unless they home-school and keep their children away from these other sources.

I think it is fine for girls not to know the names of all their specific parts until they are preparing for puberty, unless they show curiosity before that.

Quote:
The vulva is the part of the female genitalia with all the nerve endings. It's the part where girls experience both good (and bad, but mostly good) sensations. We feel through our vulvas, often intensely. The vagina doesn't have nerve endings. Unless we're giving birth, we tend not to think about how they feel at all.
Speak for yourself, please. There may not be nerve endings (I haven't gone over the anatomical technicalities in a while) but that doesn't mean the entire vagina is numb. I at least have a lot of sensation in the outer half-inch and at the G-spot, and while that may technically be produced by nerve endings in other organs being rubbed through the vaginal wall, I certainly perceive it as sensation in the vagina. When my period starts, I can feel trickles into the lower vagina and get to the bathroom before any flow comes out. Oh, and there's the aching I used to feel by the third day of my period when I used tampons, which I can only describe as "aching vagina". So don't count me in the "we" who never think about how our vaginas feel.

Quote:
And I think little girls need to know what their vulvas are and what they're for not just so they can accurately describe abuse if need be, but so they can figure out what feels good to them and what they like as they grow and later when they're sexually active adults. So they can be confident and comfortable with their own bodies and all the complexities of their bodies. It's hard to give your child that gift if you mask the entire complex, feeling genital area with a single word.
What, you mean a single word like "vulva"? Seems to me you don't need to know words to experience sensations. Judy Blume has written about how she was not taught any words for her genitals until she was a teenager yet figured out for herself years earlier that she had a "special place" and found that when she discussed it with her friends, they all had special places too.

Information is good. I just can't agree that a girl who doesn't know the scientific terms for each of her genital structures can't figure out what feels good and must be afraid of and uncomfortable with her body. She'll have a little trouble discussing it in words, but that won't impair her fingers or her lover's.

And I KNOW from my personal experience that a girl who thinks of her whole genital area as her "vagina" has no trouble exploring and enjoying it!

Quote:
Maybaby is a woman who has given birth to her own child not knowing what the word labia meant. And you'll note that, just like me, it is her aim to teach her child so that she won't feel the same shame about those body parts that she was raised with. For both her and me, the decision of our parents to leave our body parts unnamed or mis-named has indeed caused distress and confusion.
I agree that letting a daughter get all the way to adulthood without making sure she gets this information is problematic. Teaching shame about the body parts is a bit different from just not talking about them because it doesn't happen to come up, but the two issues definitely play off each other: If you don't make a point of naming those parts, your daughter may think it's because they're shameful; if you project the attitude that those parts are shameful, your daughter is less likely to dare to ask what they're called.

Maybaby, I have to ask: Did you have no books about puberty, biology, women's health, or childbirth that had diagrams of female genitals? I've seen so many of them that it seems like it would be hard to get to adulthood without ever seeing one. Were you just not as curious as me?
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