Do you know that minge, snatch, clunge, Ariel’s underwater treasure grotto, flange, muff, clout are all slang words for the word VAGINA?
Do you know that there are more than 200 slang words for the word VAGINA?
In spite of the number of slang words that exist for the word VAGINA alone, this part of the female body still remains a mystery to many people.
Working as a medical doctor has opened my eyes to the unbelievable truth that a lot of women have little to no idea about the female reproductive system. Children are not expected to have an in-depth knowledge of this but I am always astounded by the number of adults who still think females pass urine through their vaginas. The Vagina is one of the strongest muscular organs in the body and it has other wonderful functions apart from sexual intercourse.
One of the most shocking truths I hear in the consulting room is when a woman tells me they have actually never seen their vaginas before. They have no idea what it looks like, they just imagine from the feel of their fingers.
You can refer to my first article to know more about the anatomy of the female reproductive system.
So why is it that most women do not know about this vital organ that can be found on their own bodies?!
Growing up in an African society, Ghana to be specific, I have come to know that society has made it taboo for people to mention the word VAGINA because it is seen as an unclean or sacred word. Hence, even women who own these organs cannot say the word due to how unacceptable it is in our society.
Back in school, any child who was bold enough to say the word VAGINA was marked as a bad child or a wayward child who has probably been exposed to some sexual scenes, and that breeds stigmatization. Being labeled as a bad child because you dared to mention the taboo word VAGINA was a cross no child deserved to carry. Some kids expressed this ‘’waywardness” by writing it on the walls of the girls’ bathroom, and woe betides you if you are caught in this act. Such kids were punished simply because they were bold enough to write the taboo word VAGINA.
I was born in the 1980s and a lot has changed from then to now but, shockingly, the shame that comes with mentioning the word VAGINA still exists. In the consulting room where I see a lot of young girls, I am surprised daily when a girl of 5years or more does not know the word VAGINA but has a slang word for it which is usually encouraged by their parents. And why is this so? Of course, it’s the shame around the word VAGINA which is so ‘’terrible’’ that even the parents are unable to mention it freely even to me, a doctor. The parents uncomfortably call the VAGINA, ‘’private part” or some would rather point to the area of the body where the VAGINA is located almost squirming as they do so.
Now as an adult working in Ghana, West Africa, as a medical doctor, I still find it fascinating how women of all ages come into my consulting rooms very uncomfortable with complaints surrounding their ‘’private parts’’ as they put it instead of saying the word VAGINA!
I used to find this funny and, in some sense, I still do but now I’m more concerned than amused because I want my daughters, sisters, mothers, aunties, grandmothers and all the females in my life to know that they can appropriately use or say the word VAGINA without shame. I want women to be comfortable with any parts of their bodies and to boldy say the word VAGINA without fear of being stigmatized.
The VAGINA is an elastic, muscular canal with a soft, flexible lining that provides lubrication and sensation. It connects the uterus and cervix to the outside of the body. That is, it is the tube between the cervix and the vaginal opening.
The vagina has 3 main functions:
1. It provides a passageway for blood and mucosal tissue from the uterus during a woman’s monthly period.
2. It receives the penis during sexual intercourse and holds the sperm until they pass into the uterus.
3. It provides a passageway for childbirth.
Knowing what the VAGINA is and the functions it plays is the first step in taking away the “shame” associated with this word. And the next step which I usually tell my patient is to take a view of your VAGINA in a mirror to know and appreciate the unique look of it. Then the last part is boldly, firmly and loudly repeating the word VAGINA to yourself severally before using it in public appropriately.
Know your VAGINA!
There is no shame in the word VAGINA so say VAGINA! VAGINA!! VAGINA!