S/O What do you call "girl parts"? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums
1  2  3
Life with a Toddler > S/O What do you call "girl parts"?
rightkindofme's Avatar rightkindofme 01:30 PM 02-23-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by philomom View Post
Yoni to me means the power bundle between your legs if you are a woman. I don't use that word. I don't like it.

My worry is also that if your dd told a teacher that so and so touched her yoni... she would have to describe further what someone touched. Or point. For everyone's' protection, kids should know the names of all their parts.. the real names... not the cutesy ones.

Once again... the vagina is not correct terminology for casual clothes changing and potty learning. No ones sees your vagina except your midwife or your husband. It's the tucked inside part, the sheath, the birth canal, the tunnel of love.
My personal issue with Yoni is that it is cultural appropriation to steal it and as a white American I have way too many things I do unconsciously that are culturally appropriative to want to do it on purpose. I'm trying to lessen the effects of my privilege, not magnify them.

And as an abuse victim it is very important to me that my kids be able to talk about the difference between something hurting on their perineum or their inner labia. Specific speech gives power.

inkedmamajama's Avatar inkedmamajama 01:47 PM 02-23-2010
we say vulva and butthole.

kinda funny-when the 2 year old saw her dads penis she called it the 'wrong vulva' lol
Aufilia's Avatar Aufilia 09:08 PM 02-23-2010
We use 'yoni' as well. I don't particularly worry about her failing to communicate with other adults, she'd be happy to point out the part in question if anybody asked. I think it's a pretty word to say.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post
My personal issue with Yoni is that it is cultural appropriation to steal it and as a white American I have way too many things I do unconsciously that are culturally appropriative to want to do it on purpose. I'm trying to lessen the effects of my privilege, not magnify them.
I am not clear on what being a white American has to do with using a word. Words get shared and passed both ways across many cultures. That's how languages grow and mutate, by intermingling, much like how populations mingle and change.
rightkindofme's Avatar rightkindofme 01:10 PM 02-24-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aufilia View Post
We use 'yoni' as well. I don't particularly worry about her failing to communicate with other adults, she'd be happy to point out the part in question if anybody asked. I think it's a pretty word to say.

I am not clear on what being a white American has to do with using a word. Words get shared and passed both ways across many cultures. That's how languages grow and mutate, by intermingling, much like how populations mingle and change.
Uhm, have you done much looking at white privilege and cultural appropriation? If you haven't, might I gently suggest that it might be a good thing to do.
GoBecGo's Avatar GoBecGo 01:23 PM 02-24-2010
As far as i am concerned i got the word Yoni from Ina May Gaskin. I have no idea where she got it. Shall i look into every new term or word i encounter on a daily basis to be sure of where it came from?
rightkindofme's Avatar rightkindofme 01:28 PM 02-24-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
As far as i am concerned i got the word Yoni from Ina May Gaskin. I have no idea where she got it. Shall i look into every new term or word i encounter on a daily basis to be sure of where it came from?
Every word, probably not. A great many of them--well, I do. If you choose to do otherwise that's ok. The word yoni comes from Sanskrit. It is a fairly powerful word in Hinduism. I don't see people using the equivalent word lingham much which to me means that people are not interested in the real meaning/usage of the word they just want another knock off word from vulva because they don't like the sound. You might as well call it your hoo-haw.
GoBecGo's Avatar GoBecGo 01:41 PM 02-24-2010
Actually i did also know the word lingam from another context. Pretty much all english words are from elsewhere. Every single word has roots somewhere, it is only the span of time for which it is used which makes one an "english" word and another a cultural appropriation. If we all wanted to be completely correctly "english" we would use "cunny" which is also, unfortunately, from the Latin "cunnus" - the external female genitalia and also the root of the c-word which is so offensive to so many people i know i'll suffer for it if i type it in!

When Ina May says Yoni she is trying to make vaginal birth acceptable as a goal to all women, even those who are from modest cultures who do not even see their spouses nude and definitely do not utter words like vagina. There are birth stories of some women where a person shows up to fetch a midwife and is unable to even state that a woman is in labour! She found often times women would cringe from the correct terms and that cringing is clearly not a good place to be birthing in. Her "appropriation" of this word, was to enable women who have been damaged by their own culture to take back something which that damage robbed them of - the right to have a vagina without feeling shame about it or its function. Rather than doing so to offend/steal the culture of other peoples. Isn't intent the more important thing, in that context?
ramama's Avatar ramama 01:44 PM 02-24-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post
Every word, probably not. A great many of them--well, I do. If you choose to do otherwise that's ok. The word yoni comes from Sanskrit. It is a fairly powerful word in Hinduism. I don't see people using the equivalent word lingham much which to me means that people are not interested in the real meaning/usage of the word they just want another knock off word from vulva because they don't like the sound. You might as well call it your hoo-haw.


I know the origin and meaning of every "new" non-English word I choose to use, especially if it's a word I intend on teaching my children. I find it surprising that Ina May Gaskin never explained the origin of the word "yoni" or its full meaning. IF that's true, it's pretty shoddy scholarship.
GoBecGo's Avatar GoBecGo 01:45 PM 02-24-2010
It's possible that she covered it and i didn't memorize that bit of her books.
rightkindofme's Avatar rightkindofme 01:54 PM 02-24-2010
People can have awesome intentions and still do things that are culturally appropriative. I am not saying that Ina May is a terrible person. Everyone works with the best they have. I presume you are not working with marginalized populations trying to get them to discuss their genitals?

I don't have a problem with the word cunny or the word cunt. (There is an AWESOME book named Cunt. I don't agree with 100% of her politics but it's still a really important feminist read in my opinion.)

Alright, I'm going to put it this way. Given that the folks posting on this message board are by and large educated and have tremendous access to information (this is the internet after all) I believe that people are better off looking for the power of the words they already have at their disposal rather than stealing the power of other languages. I love the word cunt. I have one. It's flippin awesome. I have a vulva. I have a vagina. I have a labia. I have a clitoris. I could continue. Yoni as used by white Americans has no more power/specificity than calling the whole bit your purse or your hoo haw or your flower. White Americans are by and large not fluent in Sanskrit so we are not using the word because the actual meaning is useful to us. We are using it to avoid words that make us uncomfortable because to our ears yoni does not sound like a word for female genitalia. I see that as a whole mixed bag of not helpful.

This is an internet board. If you disagree with my opinion you are under no compulsion to pay attention to me.
catters's Avatar catters 02:08 PM 02-24-2010
We say Yoni, too, sometimes, or privates. But really, only because it's prettier to say than "vulva", IMO. Also, we drive Volvo's, don't want the two to get mixed up!

Sadly, DS has latched onto Doober as his word for his penis. Thanks older cousin... *sigh.

By the way, I try not to get really attached to, or overanalyze things like this to death. I mean, I refer to my own parts by their proper names, but surely I know that these are not the words my parents used for them when I was growing up. Children are saavy, they figure things out. I don't think my son saying "doober" is going to screw him up in any way.
GoBecGo's Avatar GoBecGo 02:12 PM 02-24-2010
I actually agree that we should be saying vagina/vulva/cunt (i LOVE cunt, you are literally the first person i've encountered online who doesn't freak.right.out. at the mere hint of it!) nas i have said above, and i think the correct terminology is WAY WAY more useful than using any alternative, even if it is the same word (or a similar word) from another language.

But at the same time, i have a big problem with the natural mutation of language (any language) being called "cultural appropriation". It's the historian/linguist in me i guess, i just see a big long slowly changing spectrum of many colours when it comes to the progression of any current language. Without it languages die (there is actually an office Stornoway which invents new scottish gaelic words for new inventions/terms/things - can you believe that! They will be able to line the coffin of that language with those dictionaries they write! Of course most gaelic speakers don't know the "correct" gaelic word for "television" because they just use "television" - the language, now spoken only by bilinguals, is mutating quite naturally, and you can't build a wall against that sort of flood, you know?). SO while i don't think yoni is much use for a 2 year old with an itchy vulva, i don't think it's a terrible term for a non-hindu person to use either, or that it represents anything negative in terms of the normal progress of any language.

And i'm definitely NOT about to ignore someone who has interesting things to say!
rightkindofme's Avatar rightkindofme 02:40 PM 02-24-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
I actually agree that we should be saying vagina/vulva/cunt (i LOVE cunt, you are literally the first person i've encountered online who doesn't freak.right.out. at the mere hint of it!) nas i have said above, and i think the correct terminology is WAY WAY more useful than using any alternative, even if it is the same word (or a similar word) from another language.

But at the same time, i have a big problem with the natural mutation of language (any language) being called "cultural appropriation". It's the historian/linguist in me i guess, i just see a big long slowly changing spectrum of many colours when it comes to the progression of any current language. Without it languages die (there is actually an office Stornoway which invents new scottish gaelic words for new inventions/terms/things - can you believe that! They will be able to line the coffin of that language with those dictionaries they write! Of course most gaelic speakers don't know the "correct" gaelic word for "television" because they just use "television" - the language, now spoken only by bilinguals, is mutating quite naturally, and you can't build a wall against that sort of flood, you know?). SO while i don't think yoni is much use for a 2 year old with an itchy vulva, i don't think it's a terrible term for a non-hindu person to use either, or that it represents anything negative in terms of the normal progress of any language.

And i'm definitely NOT about to ignore someone who has interesting things to say!
I studied linguistics in both my undergraduate and graduate programs. I've also spent a lot of time studying marginalized populations (talk about an exercise in privilege--this is about where I cringe). The reason that I view words like 'television' differently than words like 'yoni' is that the natural evolution of Gaelic didn't really have anything that could be used as a reasonable approximation for television and English invented a word first. Trying to maintain the 'purity' of the language just for the sake of purity of the language is kind of silly, I agree. There are many words from other languages that we just don't have equivalent concepts for in English. My first thought is deja vu (pretend I used appropriate accents there). We just don't have a simple way of saying that in English so it makes sense that we stole a word/phrase to do it for us. That's logical and reasonable. We have all kinds of options already for what to call female genitalia. We are not using yoni because we have no other way to express the concept. We are using yoni because it 'sounds prettier' which is... different. I absolutely support the desire to express oneself as clearly and specifically as possible. I don't see how yoni actually facilitates that for non-Sanskrit speakers.

I feel cultural appropriation hot buttons also exist around this word (I'm not the only person who feels this way--I've had some cool conversations about this topic in the past) partially because it is a word that has very specific usage in a religion. I feel that if someone can say, "I have researched this word extensively. I believe that it is the best way to say the things I want to communicate" then I have no beef with that. Saying, "I want to use it because it is prettier" is taking away the power the word has.

As for why being a white American matters? Well... let's look at all the ways we steal from indigenous cultures and appropriate their actions/words/works and use it in ways that are convenient to us without properly respecting where they came from. The quickest example I am coming up with is Native American art. A lot of it is spiritual in nature but the white people who put it up in their house do not know or care about that. They are not respecting the spirit in which it was made. They take it and use it however they want because they can. That's problematic.

Once again, I don't think that people who use the word yoni are terrible people. I do believe that most people who use it are not thinking very carefully about the full meaning and that makes me sad. It is a very powerful word.
GoBecGo's Avatar GoBecGo 03:01 PM 02-24-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post
I studied linguistics in both my undergraduate and graduate programs. I've also spent a lot of time studying marginalized populations (talk about an exercise in privilege--this is about where I cringe). The reason that I view words like 'television' differently than words like 'yoni' is that the natural evolution of Gaelic didn't really have anything that could be used as a reasonable approximation for television and English invented a word first. Trying to maintain the 'purity' of the language just for the sake of purity of the language is kind of silly, I agree. There are many words from other languages that we just don't have equivalent concepts for in English. My first thought is deja vu (pretend I used appropriate accents there). We just don't have a simple way of saying that in English so it makes sense that we stole a word/phrase to do it for us. That's logical and reasonable. We have all kinds of options already for what to call female genitalia. We are not using yoni because we have no other way to express the concept. We are using yoni because it 'sounds prettier' which is... different. I absolutely support the desire to express oneself as clearly and specifically as possible. I don't see how yoni actually facilitates that for non-Sanskrit speakers.

I feel cultural appropriation hot buttons also exist around this word (I'm not the only person who feels this way--I've had some cool conversations about this topic in the past) partially because it is a word that has very specific usage in a religion. I feel that if someone can say, "I have researched this word extensively. I believe that it is the best way to say the things I want to communicate" then I have no beef with that. Saying, "I want to use it because it is prettier" is taking away the power the word has.

As for why being a white American matters? Well... let's look at all the ways we steal from indigenous cultures and appropriate their actions/words/works and use it in ways that are convenient to us without properly respecting where they came from. The quickest example I am coming up with is Native American art. A lot of it is spiritual in nature but the white people who put it up in their house do not know or care about that. They are not respecting the spirit in which it was made. They take it and use it however they want because they can. That's problematic.

Once again, I don't think that people who use the word yoni are terrible people. I do believe that most people who use it are not thinking very carefully about the full meaning and that makes me sad. It is a very powerful word.
But that is not all language is used for or meant for. Language is about so so much more than clear communication. People tell stories, prescribe moods and reveal their own foibles with their words.

The sky was grey.

Dull metal clouds encroached from the west, and had all but obliterated the clear skies of the eastern horizon.

(please excuse my style! )

And whether we like it or not, a large cultural shift towards wanting a "pretty word" for something is a genuine reason for using a new word, and there is no reason another existing word can not or should not be used for that reason. Not only the words but the connotations we take from them tell the story of a culture and its shifting sands. I have not looked to see if Yoni is in the English dictionary, but i'll bet you if it is it will have both it's primary english meaning as well as its origins.

I don't know, to me labelling something like this "cultural appropriation" is objecting to the normal, natural movement of culture and language and making it into something shameful and terrible. Cultures all over the world throughout history have met and blended round the edges (and sometimes the edges run so deep into the centres that the original cultures vanish but for a few little details). That is how human culture works. Once something is out in the world it is like our children - it is not "ours" any more. I agree that having a dreamcatcher, a little buddha or any number of other symbolic items from other cultures and not knowing the original intent of such an item can be seen as sad, but to view it as only sad, and as a form of theft denies the importance of the item in its new role. My mother had a little buddha in her handbag (i'm in the UK BTW, so the white american group is "other" to me, rather than "us" which might be a gap to bridge) when she had cancer. It was not made by a buddhist or given to her by a buddhist. In fact it wasn't even The Buddha, but the budai. She was given it by someone at her hospice, a fellow patient who told her "they gave me six months, i've had nearly 6 years, i'm on the last leg now, but you take this guy and see how long he can keep you going". These little tokens of luck are passed about all over the western world (she also had a dreamcatcher a nurse gave her when she was suffering terrible nightmares due to her medication - it helped her even though she never read up on the full meaning or significance of it) and i really truly think they have become part of our culture, they are woven into our fabric now, part of the "us" we are.

Of course as a historian-type i think the origins of such things shouldn't be forgotten, but nor do i believe the meanings have to be static or restricted to only their original meaning with no changes allowed.
rightkindofme's Avatar rightkindofme 03:18 PM 02-24-2010
... You know what... if we keep going this thread derailment is going to get impressive. Want to move over to Talk Amongst Ourselves or Personal Growth? I'm not sure which is most appropriate.
jeminijad's Avatar jeminijad 03:18 PM 02-24-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
Pretty much all english words are from elsewhere. Every single word has roots somewhere, it is only the span of time for which it is used which makes one an "english" word and another a cultural appropriation.
Seriously. I would wager that you can find (or invent) a negative, oppressive, connotation/association for many, many words. People have always been ugly to each other and the intent in using a word is what makes it wrong or no. Should we all stop speaking English because it is the language of the particular set of oppressors that we happen to be most familiar with in our era?

I feel yoni is used because it can approximate the entire genital area on a woman, and as mentioned before, we don't really have a good one in modern English. DD is 1 now and I haven't decided what the first word we'll teach for the genitals will be.
GoBecGo's Avatar GoBecGo 03:19 PM 02-24-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post
... You know what... if we keep going this thread derailment is going to get impressive. Want to move over to Talk Amongst Ourselves or Personal Growth? I'm not sure which is most appropriate.
YES! Post something, i will look out for you on the New Post list
jeminijad's Avatar jeminijad 03:20 PM 02-24-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post
... You know what... if we keep going this thread derailment is going to get impressive. Want to move over to Talk Amongst Ourselves or Personal Growth? I'm not sure which is most appropriate.
I posted at the same time as you as I was contributing my bit of thread derailment! You are probably right about moving the thread.
ChelseaWantsOut's Avatar ChelseaWantsOut 03:22 PM 02-24-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeminijad View Post
I feel yoni is used because it can approximate the entire genital area on a woman, and as mentioned before, we don't really have a good one in modern English. DD is 1 now and I haven't decided what the first word we'll teach for the genitals will be.
Vulva! Vulva is a good word and I think a lot of the reason women think of it as "not pretty" is plain old internalized misogyny.
MadiMamacita's Avatar MadiMamacita 03:38 PM 02-24-2010
Quote:
Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post
I have a labia.
I believe, strictly speaking, you have labia.
4, counting the minora and the majora..the singular would be labium.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labium
fustian's Avatar fustian 07:14 PM 02-24-2010
Another vote for vulva.

I understand why people are uncomfortable with the word. It's a word I'm less comfortable with than penis, but I think this has to do with cultural attitudes. I make a conscious effort to use vulva with my daughter, and I think that in doing so the word will be less loaded for her.

Saying that the word is "ugly" makes no sense to me. People tend to identify only words that are considered to be vulgar as "ugly". I don't think it's necessarily internalized misogyny, but rather a type of prudishness that we can all carry. Vulva is not generally used in our culture, and therefore it can seem strange to use it rather than other terms. It's ironic that this "ugly" word has much less ugly connotations than terms we are more comfortable using.

But the word itself no more objectively ugly than "table" or "volvo" I would suggest that if you are avoiding using it because it is "ugly" you give more thought to your true reasons for avoiding the word. Not that it much matters - I doubt that your choice of word in this matter has any great impact. I'm just trying to stop my DH from using "cootch". Now *that* makes my skin crawl.
alaskaberry's Avatar alaskaberry 10:00 PM 02-24-2010
Vulva is actually the term, not vagina. At least, that's what my mom always taught us to say. I also use "yoni".
Trinitty's Avatar Trinitty 10:07 PM 02-24-2010
"Bits"



Trin.
hibiscus mum's Avatar hibiscus mum 12:14 AM 02-25-2010
We say "vulva." I don't like cutesy made-up names either.
BetsyS's Avatar BetsyS 02:03 PM 02-25-2010
As an all-encompassing word, we say "parts". As in boy parts and girl parts. Specifically, we say vulva. And, for boys, of course, penis and scrotum.

But, for the general conversation around my house, it's parts.
SunshineJ's Avatar SunshineJ 02:48 PM 02-25-2010
Actually I think that some words are just ugly. Artichoke, for example, just lookd unappealing to me when written and it sounds harsh to my ears. I have no deep seated issues with artichokes, I just think it's an ugly word. LOL but then I get funny like that.

We've taught the kids the correct names for their parts, but usually they're just referred to in a collective as their "privates".
1  2  3

Up