If we can’t say vagina on TV, what are we supposed to call it?
If we ban the v-word can we all agree on a new term, asks Periwinkle Jones.
An advert for a brand of panty liners has sparked a fierce debate in New Zealand after using the word ‘vagina’. Shortly after its first showing the ad for Carefree pads attracted nine complaints for using the v-word.
This isn’t a feminist issue, more of a confusing one – if we can’t call it a vagina what are we meant to call it? The word was appropriate for the tone of the advert. I can’t see any right-minded woman purchasing the wares of a company that calls it a foof, mimsie or la-la.
50% of the population have one, and a large portion of the other 50% are quite keen on them too.
There’s nothing offensive about the word – it’s the correct anatomical term. It’s not like mothers are going to have to shield their child’s ears or run the risk of explaining what a vagina is; 50% of the population have one, and a large portion of the other 50% are quite keen on them too.
I agree that words for private areas have their time and their place - rap songs probably wouldn’t be so catchy if they sang about the power of the V-A-G-I-N-A and certainly wouldn’t rhyme as well, but surely this was it? What’s the alternative? Flowers bursting out of the actresses mouth every time she goes to say it? A cross-cut to a meadow or a ravine? Or maybe that lift scene out of The Shining.
This isn’t the first time that ‘vagina’ has been in hot water; last month American Democrat Lisa Brown was banned from speaking on the floor of the Michigan state legislature after using the word ‘vagina’ to close her argument on an abortion legislation. The opposition declared that the word ‘violated the decorum of the House’ with one party member adding “I don't even want to say [vagina] in front of women. I would not say that in mixed company.”He knows that we know that we have them, right?
There are so many words for vagina out there, how could we be sure we’re all talking about the same thing?
It seems rather infantile to use euphemisms in an advert for bodily functions and a court of law. As well as confusing – there are so many words for vagina out there, how could we be sure we’re all talking about the same thing? Case point: Melissa Joan Hart’s song ‘Shake Your Whammy Fanny’ was far funnier to a UK audience.
Like I said before, this isn’t a feminist issue: It’s a semantic one. I don’t want to take charge of the word ‘vagina’ or wear it on a T-shirt. But I do want the right to be able to use it when I need to without running the risk of people popping their monocles or spitting out their tea in shock and horror.
Should the word ‘vagina’ be banned from TV advertising? If so, what words would you rather see used?
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Periwinkle Jones has written for big name brands such as Cosmopolitan, Men's Health and Company both sides of the screen. Picked by Huffington Post as one of Twitter's funniest women she can most often be found there under the moniker @peachesanscream.
Follow Periwinkle Jones on Twitter @peachesanscream
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