11 April 2013

On the Offensiveness of Vaginas

A few days ago Naturist Vision fired a loud warning shot across the bows of all of society. In a post entitled Vaginas and Nudity the author points out that words such as "vagina"** must not be ostracised from the vocabulary just because a few puerile prudes deem it offensive. It's a short article, but here is it's essence:
[...] Michigan State Representative Lisa Brown's use of [vagina] led to her censure. In the aftermath a state representative declared the word "vagina" so offensive that he wouldn't say it in mixed company.

Now [a male] Idaho High School science teacher [...] is being investigated for saying "vagina" during a sophomore science class [...]

[...] it is time for us to pay attention. That our society finds the proper term for any body part offensive suggests we need to redouble our efforts to educate the public about body acceptance. That the "offensive" word refers to a specifically feminine body part is more evidence of the misogyny [in] our society.

We must find a way to normalize words that describe our bodies. Teaching our children to refer to their genitals as "wee wee" or "pee pee" [...] is a huge mistake. Bowing to a misinformed public who prefers not to hear words like "penis" and "vagina" is another.

The underlying message is that women are bad, sex is bad and our bodies are bad. Turning the vagina into [something] whose name shall not be spoken can only have disastrous effects on our society as a whole [...]

[...]

It stands to reason that if people are offended simply by hearing the word "vagina" they certainly wouldn't want to see one live and in person!
OK, so this is religiously prudish America and the post is partly about the loss of rights to nudity and nudism. That makes the general thrust no less apposite, in America or the UK, or indeed anywhere else.

It is becoming increasingly important, as I observed again the other day, that nudity and sexuality are normalised, not marginalised and criminalised, and that this would actually be to the benefit of the whole of society.

** For now we'll gloss over the fact that most times folks use "vagina" they actually mean "vulva".

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