What name do you use for your daughters private parts? - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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#121 of 184 Old 06-09-2008, 04:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by amitymama View Post
Yoni just makes me think 'rice-a-roni' or 'yeti.' Neither of which I want my awesome vagina to be associated with.
My partner claims to be part Yeti and my awesome vagina has already been associated with him.
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#122 of 184 Old 06-09-2008, 04:56 PM
 
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I really think this is a personal choice, and that the important thing is to teach your daughter self-respect as well as general respect for the human body.
I agree that the goal is to teach self-respect and respect for the human body. But I think that's hard to do if the parent is referring to the body parts as a hoo-ha or va-jay-jay, or as my mother did, a nubby. What I learned from my mother wasn't respect for the human body, but that my genitalia were so shameful they weren't to be named.
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#123 of 184 Old 06-09-2008, 05:00 PM
 
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Somewhat amusing and related story.

I was walking my dog when we met a three year old and his mum. My dog got on his back and was wiggling and rolling. The little boy pointed and say, "doggie's pee pee." Then he looked up and said, "Mama, doggie's penis."

I wondered which one he learned first, but I didn't ask.
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#124 of 184 Old 06-09-2008, 05:00 PM
 
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We've always used "vulva", and as she's gotten older, we've discussed the various parts. She's confused about the clitoris and urethra, and knows the vagina is where the mom's baby comes out, and that she has one too.
We use all the technical terms for the boys too. Though at this point it's confined to the visible "penis" and "scrotum".
I think part of our problem using the latin words, is they were always something "dirty". I never heard anything more specific than "down there" except for the mortifying hour in health class as a kid. Yoni was a word I learned from the Kama Sutra. It sounds exotic and more liberated, and atleast to me, brings to mind esoteric religions and ancient sensual cultures.
But if we're to have any hope of reclaiming our culture from the sexual and religious oppression of past generations, I think we ALL need to be comfortable using our own language for bodies....even if we do give our "parts" pet names.

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#125 of 184 Old 06-09-2008, 05:01 PM
 
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It's amazing the cultural variations, how different terms can be used to mean different things in different areas.....quite a few I've never heard of or heard in a crude way which doesn't begin to do justice to what we are really talking about.

maybe that is the best reason to teach at least one medically verifying term, even if it is used to encompass the whole area slightly incorrectly; it's going to be more universally identifying than coloquial terms and leave us with a kind of congruence that we have embraced ours and their womanhood in a respectful way....then the family terms are down to individuals.

In terms of child protection again, since most sexual abuse goes on in the home, Daddy's relationship with ie: 'little flower', is potentially devastating. Sickening to even be aware of this possibility, but vital to real parenting. Someone mentioned 'Protecting the Gift' and I'd second that book for anyone who has never considered abuse issues.

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#126 of 184 Old 06-09-2008, 05:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by raleigh_mom View Post

3) Do you actually say "yoni" and "girl bits" to your Dr? If so, hey, that's fine , but I don't think I would be comfortable not using the medical terms with my own Dr. My kids should be able to do the same and should be able to discuss anything with me or their doctor in exact terms - not just say there's a problem "down there".
The answer is yes for me. DD will know all of the appropriate terms in both languages because it would be careless to teach only the english terms to a child that will spend much time in another country that doesn't speak english primarily. If DD chooses to use primarily non-english terms for her genitals, then when she see's an english speaking doctor s/he will be informed of this preference as well. If said doctor is uncomfortable or not accepting of DDs expression of her own diversity, then we will move on to another DR who is. Why should that be an issue? Besides I am sure I wouldn't be alone here in saying that I would much prefer an ayurvedic doctor over a modern western doctor.

Sorry if it is offensive or otherwise deemed irresponsible that I use the words 'girl bits' to describe my pre-verbal DDs genitals. So much judgment, and so much of it is based on fear-mongering! "If you don't do this, then this will/could/might/is going to happen. Look what happened there/then that my friends second cousins uncles mother-in-laws father sent me a link about!" Geez We would do well to realize that we all have opinions and most of us aren't going to change our opinions unless we are looking for a reason to do so.

I can speak and write in sanskrit, and am learning hindi terms with DD, hopefully I am qualified and not doing a disservice to the languages by appropriating them into my life as a non-native of India. Not that I am a native of Rome either, and I have been using the latin terms most of my life.
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#127 of 184 Old 06-09-2008, 05:19 PM
 
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Why is it "snooty" to use the correct term for a part of the body? Or is it not the usage of said, but the attitude toward others, that bothers you?
The usage. It reads as "OMG! You call it THAT? OMG! How could you call it THAT? That's, like.... eeewwww... just wrong."

Like I said before, a lot of it is cultural.
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#128 of 184 Old 06-09-2008, 05:30 PM
 
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My parents used "vagina" as a term for the female genital area. When I was 3 or 4 and looking at myself in the bathtub, my mother told me the correct name of each specific part. Thus, I was able to explain that I had a chigger bite on my labia ( or whatever, but in general we said "vagina". I don't see a big problem with that.

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?!

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#129 of 184 Old 06-09-2008, 05:34 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SeekingSerenity View Post
I really think this is a personal choice, and that the important thing is to teach your daughter self-respect as well as general respect for the human body.
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?
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#130 of 184 Old 06-09-2008, 06:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by raleigh_mom View Post

3) Do you actually say "yoni" and "girl bits" to your Dr? If so, hey, that's fine , but I don't think I would be comfortable not using the medical terms with my own Dr. My kids should be able to do the same and should be able to discuss anything with me or their doctor in exact terms - not just say there's a problem "down there".
No - I call them by their medical terms when in a medical context.

I will ALSO teach my child the medical names. I'd just rather be able to tell her that, in our culture, we only touch our yonis in private.
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#131 of 184 Old 06-09-2008, 06:50 PM
 
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in our house, we use vulva, penis, testicles, anus, breast, nipple.

The collective terms (whcih are also code if we are in public) are privates or bits.

You know the attributes for a great adult? Initiative, creativity, intellectual curiosity? They make for a helluva kid...
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#132 of 184 Old 06-09-2008, 07:41 PM
 
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wow i have never heard the word yoni before... is that uncommon? it seems like most people have.
You are obviously not reading the correct bad romance novels. That's how I learned the word.

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#133 of 184 Old 06-09-2008, 07:50 PM
 
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For now we just use the term vulva as a catch-all. When she's older and can better understand the specifics we'll use the 'proper' terms with the exception that a discussion will be had about the term vagina. Basically I'll let her know why I prefer the term yoni and give her a choice on what she wants to call it.

Vagina comes from the Latin word for 'sheath'. I have a problem using a term that perpetuates the notion that that piece of a woman's anatomy exists soley for the purpose of how it relates to a man's parts. It's another way of protesting one more insidious form of sexism.

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#134 of 184 Old 06-09-2008, 08:27 PM
 
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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.)
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#135 of 184 Old 06-09-2008, 08:57 PM
 
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Vagina comes from the Latin word for 'sheath'. I have a problem using a term that perpetuates the notion that that piece of a woman's anatomy exists soley for the purpose of how it relates to a man's parts. It's another way of protesting one more insidious form of sexism.
I do sort of understand this...but I mostly don't. I'm almost 40, and I had no idea that vagina meant sheath until I found it out here about a year ago. I don't know anybody who knows that. The word "vagina" means (to me and everyone else I know) a woman's genitals, more specifically the birth canal.

Honestly, I'm trying to wrap my brain around "yoni", and I do get where people are coming from, but it just comes across to me like one more way to avoid actually saying "those words" - the ones my prude of a grandmother would never utter. I grew up hearing vagina and it sounds fine to me.

I see the whole "sheath" thing differently, anyway. The only times I've ever come across it is in contexts where men refer to their penis as a sword...and, imo, that term strongly suggests that a penis exists solely for the purpose of how it relates to a woman's parts. While I'm not crazy about the "warrior" flavour of those expressions, they contain an inherent duality that removes the sexist tone to "vagina" that may otherwise exist.

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#136 of 184 Old 06-09-2008, 10:05 PM
 
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#137 of 184 Old 06-09-2008, 10:40 PM
 
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Ok, I have to post on this one because although I don't have a girl (yet!), my neighbor is seriously weirded out by proper terms and has funny made up ones for her daughter. She calls breasts chi-chis and her vulva her wookie. I swear I'm gonna get that kid a custom Star Wars t-shirt with a picture of Chewbacca on it that says something like "Keep your hands off my Wookie!"
LMAO! This reminds me of the last time I had a conversation with people about what we call our kids genitals. Most had made up names, a few were calling their girls parts "fairy"! Next day a friend (who had been a part of that conversation) and I were out at a book store and saw a book called "That's not my Fairy!" and we both started to burst out laughing! Really, with all the fairy stuff out there for kids, wouldn't that be a little confusing?

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I can so picture dd saying this. I haven't really showed her where her clitoris is, because there's no reason for me to be touching it, and I can't figure out how to show her which part I'm talking about. She has heard the word, though. I think I was 13-14 before I knew what a clitoris was called, and my mom wasn't particularly shy about this stuff...she just did the thing where "vagina" was all she used.
My daughter knows what a clitoris is because she was about 3 when she asked "what's this bump in here?"

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Originally Posted by mamazee View Post
I say "vulva" but my daughter has chosen to use the term "woman area".
Aww, that's cute.

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Yoni just makes me think 'rice-a-roni' or 'yeti.' Neither of which I want my awesome vagina to be associated with.
LOL!

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My parents used "vagina" as a term for the female genital area. When I was 3 or 4 and looking at myself in the bathtub, my mother told me the correct name of each specific part. Thus, I was able to explain that I had a chigger bite on my labia ( or whatever, but in general we said "vagina". I don't see a big problem with that.

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?!
Yes this is us as well. We are firmly in the "vagina" camp, now there's some imagery for ya!

I know that it means the internal parts and my almost 5 year old knows it too. She also knows the correct names for the rest of her genitals as well but we are happy with vagina and it is easily understood by others as well.
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#138 of 184 Old 06-09-2008, 11:37 PM
 
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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?
I completely agree with this. I also find that while most people are perfectly comfortable saying "penis" they somehow get uptight about saying "vulva" or "vagina." why is that?

Personally, I can't imagine my Dd not being comfortable saying vagina or vulva. Or my DS for that matter.

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#139 of 184 Old 06-09-2008, 11:48 PM
 
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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.)
I really didn't like it. Really didn't, as in nearly stopped reading the book because of it.

But I don't really like Ina May Gaskin. There. I've said it.
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#140 of 184 Old 06-10-2008, 12:00 AM
 
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My therapist is adament that people should use proper names--vagina and penis. Period. She said she's had parents who "named" their kids' private areas "cupcake" or "cookie", etc. (And what do you do with cupcakes and cookies? Geeze people ) If anything were to happen to a kid (sexually) having the kid use proper names for their parts will hold up more in a court room. Could you imagine a kid in court saying, "He touched my cookie...."

I grew up thinking my vagina was a "cookie". I remember in 3rd grade, my gf and i were passing stupid notes w/pictures--of "balls" "boobs" and whatnot. Just stupid little kid stuff. I passed her a picture of a cookie and wrote "cookie" and giggled. She looked at me like, "What the duck are you talking about?" I honestly thought "cookie" was my private area. I don't remember when I found out the truth--maybe health class or something. My mom was just plain stupid to do that

I think it's very important to use proper names. Just as a pp mentioned...we teach kids about every other body part--arm, fingers, toes, leg, nose, etc--what's so shameful about teaching them the *proper* name for their private area? I think that if you refer to private areas as anything other than the proper name, you're adding shame/embarrasment to the kid.
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#141 of 184 Old 06-10-2008, 12:25 AM
 
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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!

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#142 of 184 Old 06-10-2008, 07:21 AM
 
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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.
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#143 of 184 Old 06-10-2008, 09:28 AM
 
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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.

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#144 of 184 Old 06-10-2008, 11:25 AM
 
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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.

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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.

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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.
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#146 of 184 Old 06-10-2008, 03:16 PM
 
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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.
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#147 of 184 Old 06-11-2008, 12:14 AM
 
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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.
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#148 of 184 Old 06-11-2008, 12:56 AM
 
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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
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#149 of 184 Old 06-11-2008, 12:58 AM
 
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And this is what gets me about these types of threads. It always seems to turn into "I am smarter than you" type thing. "
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#150 of 184 Old 06-11-2008, 09:13 AM
 
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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
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