|In Poland, you get a "pochwa"* to work with.|
Oh, we tried. Believe me. But vagina, well, it rankles.
This despite Naomi Wolf's Vagina: A New Biography becoming a best-seller, thus providing the enjoyable side effect of listening to NPR newscasters having to choke out the word.
This despite the general vindication of Representative Lisa Brown after she was boorishly silenced for saying "vagina" on the Michigan house floor.
And this despite (or, in may case, perhaps because of) my own dear Fight-the-Power mother being involved in a vagina-saying vaginal protest at the Michigan capital. (With t-shirts featuring Statue of Liberty saying "Vagina." That no one wanted to wear again, ever.)
Yes, we made a valiant stab at vagina, as it were, but it's time to accept that "vagina" is just not gonna happen.
Vaginas get examined and might require special ointments. Vaginas rile overly vigilant feminists when used improperly in place of vulva. Vaginas do not get fucked.
Yes, I covered this breaking news back in 2010 in The Land Down Under, but it delights/pains to tell you that Caitlin Moran did it 8 thousand times better in her Jezebel article Naming a Vagina is Tricky Business. I mean, her bullet points alone!
There is a panoply of slang words that are, in their ways, just as truly awful as "vagina." Let's bullet point!
- Your sex: sounds like a preemptive attempt to shift blame.
- Hole: a bad thing that can happen to stockings or tights. My Johnnylulu is a GOOD thing that happens to stockings and tights.
- Honeypot: inference of imminent presence of bees.
- Twat: an unpleasant mélange of cow-pat, stupidity, and punching. No.
- Bush: the band of the same name are tiresome. The vegetation has spiders. No.
- Vag: sounds like the name of a busybody battleaxe, à la "Barb" and "Val." Suggestion also of chain-smoking Marlboro Lights, and borderline addiction to bingo. No.
Saying it more is not going to make anyone more comfortable with the word. Vagina is, and will always be, just too...vaginaey. And I, for one, am still on the lookout for a suitable replacement.
*Hej kretynie, srom pochwa nie jest! (translation from the Polish: Hey, moron, a vagina is not a vulva.)