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You say foofoo...I say vagina...

(48 Posts)
UnknownGnome Sun 07-Apr-13 13:33:17

This may have been done before but it's something I find interesting. It's kind of a thread about a thread, but, more specifically, about a particular way of thinking.

I'm talking about the need to have a cutesy, acceptable word for female genitalia. I've seen the question asked here on MN many times by different people, so it's clear that how we refer to female genitals is a real concern for people these days.

Vagina, vulva and labia seem to cause so much offence that they need to be replaced with minnie, flower, tuppence. Why is it, though? Why is referring to the vagina seen as so shocking to some? Is it a feminist issue? Are we still bringing girls up to feel ashamed of their genitals?

Boys get, in the main, willy or winky. Even penis seems to be accepted in a way that vagina isn't. There is never a thread entitled 'what do you call your son's privates?' because there's no need for it.

I don't intend to point the finger at the person who wrote the thread. The problem isn't with asking the question. The problem is that the question needs to be asked in the first place. What do you think?

HungryClocksGoBackFourSeconds Tue 16-Apr-13 21:48:37

How do people feel about simplifying it and just using 'genitals' universally?

grumpyinthemorning Tue 16-Apr-13 13:55:08

I call mine Robert...

runningforthebusinheels Sat 13-Apr-13 15:00:35


forcednamechange1 Sat 13-Apr-13 04:49:19

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

HullMum Fri 12-Apr-13 16:59:25

damn you! I came in here to say that!

YonilyDevotedToYou Thu 11-Apr-13 22:24:27

(quietly) couldn't you just call it a Yoni?

<slinks off>

IncrediblePhatTheInnkeepersCat Thu 11-Apr-13 22:22:06

My Gran calls it her nether regions. She was surprised when doing a crossword that nether regions was another word for Hell!

I've never liked fanny. I do like the suggestion of jyna up thread. Close enough to vagina without being too clinical-sounding.

Ridersofthestorm Thu 11-Apr-13 10:54:09

I just call it 'me bits' grin

Xenia Thu 11-Apr-13 10:47:26

Medical family here on the whole so we have always used with my children and the generation before vagina, vulva, penis etc. In our family from about 2 or 3 children are saying and I hope knowing the difference between vagina and vulva. |They might see mummy putting in a tampax and the conversation would be along the lines of mummy is putting it into her vagina or having their bath and be drying their vulva.

badguider Tue 09-Apr-13 18:54:38

vulva includes both sets of labia and clitoris and openings of urethra and vagina so actually performs the same role as 'bits' or 'genitals'.

fwif i usually use 'bits' for general conversation where it doesn't matter exactly which bit i mean.

NiceTabard Mon 08-Apr-13 23:22:53

This comes up time and time again.

As a poster upthread said, there is (unfortunately) no female equivalent of "willy" - just nice, friendly, no probs with saying in public, with no connotations.

I don't know what the answer is.
Vagina / vulva - if you're going down the anatomically correct route then you need to differentiate + labia (minora & majora) which is just too much detail for a toddler. I'm not even sure my 5yo knows that things go up inside so vagina seems off and then if you're going to talk about the area & name then they need to know clitoris etc.

So sadly the best we did in this house was "girly bits" which encompasses all of the above, well, bits, which can be named individually later.

Thinking about it surely it's not quite right to teach "vagina" when actually most little girls will be unaware of the vagina bit and only aware of the labia minor and major or whatever it is and the clitoris???

FreudiansSlipper Mon 08-Apr-13 21:29:46

I used to call it a tweenie

obviously it was long before the childrens show called the Tweenies

I use the word vagina, cunt, and foofoo depends why I am talking about my vagina and who too

ds calls his penis a willie he knows the correct word is penis as he gets older he will use other words. I would do the same if I had a daughter, probably use peepee

qumquat Mon 08-Apr-13 12:46:08

Calling the whole area vagina is just plain WRONG and could lead to all sorts of confusion, as mentioned up thread.

I also think using vagina suggests that the most significant part is the part a man will put his penis in, over and above the parts you wee through or which give you the most sexual pleasure.

MajaBiene Sun 07-Apr-13 23:39:34

Fanny seems crude in a way that willy doesn't, but it is the best alternative I think. Cunt is totally inappropriate for a child, pussy too sexual, vagina incorrect really for children - it's not the bit you see so generally isn't what they are referring too.

I think we are going for willy & fanny as children's words, penis & vulva/vagina as the correct terms.

TeiTetua Sun 07-Apr-13 23:33:48

Actually I would say that if "willy" is acceptable, then "fanny" should be too. It doesn't have the connotations of "cunt", anyway. If the Americans want to use it with another meaning, let them.

RiaOverTheRainbow Sun 07-Apr-13 20:28:09

Where I grew up fanny was equivalent to dick, yes everyone knew it but it's not a word you'd teach your toddler.

ohdobuckup Sun 07-Apr-13 20:06:35

The difference between a Great British Fanny and an American Fanny is a matter of inches but can cause much mirth/embarrassment/legal difficulties.

During the war my mother was being taught by a G.I how to get into a jeep while protecting her modesty, he said " knees together and swing your fanny in first"....much uproar from British nurses. Explanations were given, adjustments to terminology made, order restored.

Incidentally, she also said that for a lot of girls of her generation, they simply had no name at all for their genitals other than "down there", and as trainee nurses were shocked by the facts of life. However,by the time they were nineteen they had seen and attended to things no one should ever have to, and had no problems with the rough and ready terminology used at times.

tethersend Sun 07-Apr-13 17:17:14

AKiss, misogyny abounds in US politics- and they don't even know what fanny means wink

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Sun 07-Apr-13 16:38:21

Yeah, well, I used about a gazillion more words blush

MN really should ration me. grin

Branleuse Sun 07-Apr-13 16:36:03

The words vagina and vulva and penis are horrible.
I don't see a problem with cutesying them. I also call my navel a bellybutton and my stomach area my tummy.

badguider Sun 07-Apr-13 16:35:17

I don't mind talking about my vagina if I am actually talking about the passage (so talking sex, periods, mooncups, childbirth etc). I find small girls talking about their vagina odd. I guess because they don't really "use" their vagina until puberty. I also guess its because I didn't really come across the word myself until asking about childbirth and periods and sex.

UnknownGnome Sun 07-Apr-13 16:35:15

You articulated it better than was able, hecsy!

AKissIsNotAContract Sun 07-Apr-13 16:35:12

Tethers: ok it's an example from the US, but here's one

tethersend Sun 07-Apr-13 16:34:50

Is 'fanny' not universally recognised?

aufaniae Sun 07-Apr-13 16:32:20

The problem for me is that there is an alternative word for "penis", it's "willy". Which sounds fine IMO and is pretty much universally recognised.

There's no universal equivalent for vulva / vagina. And also I've noticed adults even get confused, telling their DDs to call their vulva their vagina!

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