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How women have approached the 'V' word since childhood

Vagina. I bet men have stopped reading this by now as have most of the women. Well, my point here just proves how we feel about using this term? Because the moment people turn red in the face and start avoiding having to say the word, the answer becomes quite clear.



Forget about using the word in a random conversation with your female friends, how many of you can say the word in front of your doctor? A study suggests that more than 70% of women would feel ashamed of having to talk to a gynecologist about their vagina. Ironic, isn’t it? Most women would avoid the visit altogether and just end up on Google searching for their symptoms. Half the world’s population is female and yet the shame they feel when speaking about their vagina and its health is something we should be over by now.



When I was in the eighth grade, I remember talking to my friends about my periods. Imagine my surprise at the reaction my friends gave when the word ‘vagina’ slipped out of my mouth. They almost looked ready to combust on the spot; you would think I had called ‘Voldemort’ by name. Although, I have realized now that because of the taboo associated with these words, no actual dialogue can take place. In school, whenever our conversation steered towards the topic of menstruation, we would use words like fanny and flower. One girl who would mumble out the words “I am bleeding down there” when she wanted us to inform the coach that she would be unable to play.

But back then, I was naïve and gave in to peer pressure. We began referring to our vagina as everything but that. From calling it our hoo-ha to v-jay-jay, these words slowly replaced the real word – vagina. The comparatively funnier terms that I have come across are female jewels (which they absolutely are but let’s not refer to our vagina as that), forbidden fruit (it was most probably a guy who came up with this name), and the land down under (kudos to stating the obvious). And the list goes on. The sad part here is that these words are demeaning and not to mention downright offensive. How many times have boys been told to man up and stop behaving like a pussy? Too many times. You would think that movies like Pad Man and Period. End of Sentence have brought us out of our shells, but how many of us would still be able to use the word vagina.



When we can openly use slangs in our conversations, what is it about the word vagina that makes us act weird when mentioned? Many women not only avoid saying the word out loud but also don't have even basic knowledge of their intimate parts. There are so many myths surrounding the female anatomy – some think that discharge is unhealthy and some believe that having lots of sex will lead to a loose vagina. It is high time that we begin using the term vagina which was intended for our female anatomy.