I became a mom at the young age of 18 and I often felt like I had to be the “perfect mom.” I feared that if I wasn’t perfect, I would be categorized as “just another dumb teen mom.” I tried to mimic other moms that I admired. So when my daughters were babies, we would have names for vagina like “coco” or “private part” because I never heard of other moms teach their daughters to call their female anatomy by its proper name. I feared that if I used the word vagina my daughters and I would sound vulgar. So to be safe we used the word “coco.”
I never understood why vagina was a “dirty” word. I’ve heard countless names for a vagina like vajayjay, cookie, coochie, nani, and etc. Why cutesy it up? Why not call it what it is… a VAGINA! So when I began teaching my daughters to call their female anatomy by its proper name, family and friends were very opinionated about it. I was told it sounded vulgar, nasty, and inappropriate. So I thought I’d share the reasons why girls should call their female anatomy vagina.
When I was taking a psychology class I learned that the horrifying statistic that 1 in 3 girls will be sexually assaulted. Yes that’s right, 1 in 3!!! I have 3 girls and it’s horrifying to think that statistically speaking one of my daughters could be sexually abused. So it is important to teach our girls the proper name of their vagina because if they have been sexually assaulted and she tells a teacher or a relative they wouldn’t know what the child was talking about if she said,”so and so touched my coco.” If the child says, “so and so touched my vagina” the person could clearly identify the situation and seek help.
Knowledge and correct vocabulary of the external parts of their vagina.
When I was in high school, I seriously thought that clitoris was just slang for vagina. I don’t think I’ll forget the day when I was telling 2 girl friends after school, that I was afraid to use a tampon because it weirded me out to put some thing up my “clitoris”. They laughed hysterically!!! They teased me for not knowing anatomy of the vagina. I was mortified. That day I went home and google clitoris and bought Cosmopolitan magazine every month because I wanted to learn everything I could about the female anatomy and sex. I did take a health class in high school and I don’t recall ever learning about the anatomical parts of the vagina. Maybe if I paid enough attention to studies rather than focusing on boys anatomy I’d be more knowledgable.
When it was time to have “The Talk” with my girls the American Girl line of books The Care and Keeping of You was a great way to introduce them to information about their body and the changes in their body when growing up. It has a cartoon about the parts of the body and vagina, but it didn’t have a label to the illustration part of the clitoris. Which I thought is weird because the clitoris is a part of the vagina.
Confidence in who they are
I want my girls to proud of who they are. To be proud of the bodies. To feel comfortable saying the word the word vagina. It is not a nasty word. It is just the description of the female anatomy. It does not define them or their future. I want my girls to grow up to be strong-willed and confident women.
I was so shocked when I read an article from 2012 that Republican House leaders had banned Michigan State of Representative Lisa Brown and her colleague Rep. Barb Byrum from speaking on the House floor for “lack of decorum” when she said the word “vagina.” Seriously! How can girls grow up being confident of their bodies when society tell them that the term for their anatomy is nasty. Which could lead them to believe that their body is nasty. No! I will not allow my girls to be shamed. I will teach them to be proud and that they deserve to be treated equally.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Please leave any thoughts, tips or any other comments. I look forward to reading your comments. Xoxo