This morning (at 6:30AM while the rest of the household sleeps), I am up working on my presentation for What’s Up Down There at the Women’s Health Matters forum next Saturday (January 19 at 12 noon, shameless plug, OK sue me). Anyway, I decided to look up the spelling of the word “va-jay-jay” since one woman brought it up in our discussion group, saying she heard it on Oprah and Grey’s Anatomy. Fair enough. Having no idea what I was getting myself into, I dutifully typed it into Google…and there the fun begins!
ALL kinds of definitions, blog postings and comments are on the web about what seems to be a very offensive term. People everywhere are riled up about the issue, which seems to be that instead of using the word “vagina” on a show that is obviously for adults, TV executives have chosen to create yet another nickname for fear that viewers may be offended or turned off by the word “vagina.” Wow, even in this day and age, nothing offends like a woman’s private parts.
I found it interesting because our whole discussion around What’s Up Down There was based on the fact that a majority of African women, Black women, don’t use the word vagina but we have other names for it that are often created out of our shame, our mother’s reluctance to talk about sex or anything having to do with sex. But my assumption was that while we were mired in all this drama, White women were out there, free-wheeling and dealing, using the word “vagina” with all the comfort and freedom of an unoppressed people with no barriers, sexual or otherwise, in their perfect shampoo, hair-tossing world. It was surprising to learn that even in that world, there are hurdles to overcome when it comes to talking about our…er…um…(cough) vaginas.
Here are some recommended readings. I suggest, if you have a chance, look these over before you join us on Saturday (at 12 noon…oops, there I go again with the shameless plugs). If by some unfortunate incident (such as, you live on another continent) you can’t make it on Saturday, TALK ABOUT THIS with your friends, your mother, your daughter, somebody! Just talking about anything can make such a difference in the way we move in the world.
(By the way, if you want a FREE PASS to the forum, visit www.blackwomanandchild.com — OK, I promise, that’s the LAST one…well, for this post anyway).