Linking to the above post from my classmate and friend Kyla at A Day in the Life. I felt as though my best response is a quote from Eve Ensler, activist, playwright, and creator of The Vagina Monologues;  “If we ever knew deep in our hearts that the issue about abortion … was not really about fetuses and babies, but really men‘s terror of women’s sexuality and power, I think it’s fully evidenced here.”

I believe that the fear and stigma associated with using words like vagina come from a deep rooted belief that if people talk about it, they run the risk of losing their honour and self-worth, which is in itself a dangerous concept. But I also feel it important to note that the same people who are waging this war against vaginas are also those who are ‘against comprehensive sexual education that would teach young people age-appropriate information about their sexual and reproductive anatomy, including the correct medical and anatomical terms for body parts. Information on sexually-transmitted infections that would preserve and protect these body parts are also taboo.’

If we move past the fear and stigma associated with simply using a word then there wouldn’t be a need for invasive and demeaning discussions on the rights that a woman has over her own body: she would simply have rights.

For more information, I recommend checking out Vagina is not a dirty word.


4 responses

  1. I guess I understand why some people might be afraid of the word vagina or why they would consider it taboo to say it in public, but I think it’s a bit ridiculous. It’s an anatomical body part; it’s like saying you shouldn’t use the word “ear” or “knee” in public. I could understand why the slang, derogatory word for vagina (I’m sure you know which word I’m talking about) shouldn’t be acceptable, but I have no problems with the word vagina.

  2. Great insights Steph – I love the quote from Eve Ensler. I agree that it is important that we work past the stigma associated with reproductive and sexual health. It’s amazing to me that there is so much controversy over the word vagina. I also think that it is really difficult to get people to start using words like vagina when like you said, they are the ones that are scared of it and the power it holds. I think that we saw a little bit of this in the comment thread on my blog. Do you think that people like this are just a lost cause and will never move past ignorance, or that they can be educated beyond the stigma?

    • I think education is possible, but it has to be sought out. Unfortunately, unless people want to and are willing to learn something new, we will never get past current knowledge or beliefs. The people who attend and read relevant information that would expand on current knowledge are those who are already aware of the controversy and have already made an effort to seek change. Stigma can be eliminated but I think it has to start at the ground up, with early comprehensive sexual education that covers rights, equality, and body image.

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