Thursday, 16 January 2014

Feminist Rant – What’s Wrong With the Word ‘Vagina’?

My friend, Eloise March, recently sought advertising space for her new novella. Close Call: A Doris and Jemma Vadgeventure is humorous feminist chick lit. On application, the site enquired about the word ‘vadgeventure’.

Close Call features talking genitals in an exploration of how female self-esteem is often linked to male opinion. Doris, you see, is Jemma’s vagina. Therefore, March explained, ‘vadgeventure’ is a made up word representing the adventures of Jemma and her vagina.

We can’t promote a book cover featuring the word ‘vadgeventure’, the site stated. Children use this site, you know.

Excuse me? Excuse me?

How is the fact that children use the site a reason not to feature a book using the word vadgeventure? Half of those children have vaginas.

Which raises a point. Little boys have ‘willies’. But what do little girls have? Setting aside the question of whether we should even make up cute names for children, there remains the fact that a ‘cute little name’ apparently doesn’t exist for women. Are girls not allowed to know the names of their own body parts? Not even euphemisms? What does it say to women that parts of their body throughout childhood should remain nameless?

I’m all for telling girls the proper names. They will ask, believe me, as they go through a stage where they point at everything and ask you what it’s called. And yes, she will eventually ask about her vagina.

But according to this site, children, including girls, aren’t allowed to have any exposure to that word, or any derivatives – even if they find themselves in possession of said organ. 

Ironically, the site defending the purity of childhood does promote and advertise books with covers exhibiting half-naked men and women, most of whom are perpetuating the unattainable physical ideal plaguing the self-esteem of teenage girls – one of the very issues Close Call tries to tackle. 

About Close Call: A Doris and Jemma Vadgeventure:

Twenty-two year-old Jemma can’t seem to get her life in order. Her track record with men stinks, and she constantly worries about getting fat and ending up a spinster at thirty. To top it off, she has to be a bridesmaid at her most-hated cousin’s wedding. She feels like her life is over, until Doris decides to help. Who’s Doris? Doris is Jemma’s vagina and she thinks more of Jemma than her own brain does. Doris is on a mission to save Jemma from herself, but is the task too much for one vagina to handle?

If you're interested to know more about Close Call, it's available from:

Smashwords -

For more about Eloise March, check out her website.


Laura W. said...

When I was a kid, my parents called it a "pee-pee" for me and my brother. Sometimes there was a distinction between a "boy pee-pee" and a "girl pee-pee" or 'boy-pee" and "girl-pee." Yeah. I'm not sure if that's good because it was named, or bad because both were the same name, or just because they were only explained in terms of pee. Lol. Anyway, I don't get how many children would draw "vagina" from "vagadventures" anyway. And if the site features other adult content, why not? Have they considered that gee, maybe children shouldn't be using their site? :/

jefferyrowan said...

Here is the rub for adults who allow their children access to unaddressed concepts: Now I have to define vadgeventure to my child and it contains the word for an unmentionable (by me) body part. OMG! I can't explain to my child what it is! She might want to USE it.

Ciara Ballintyne said...

Perhaps vaginas should take charge of the world?

Ciara Ballintyne said...

I wish I could tell you who it was, but suffice to say it was the Australian arm of a company that is US in origin, and big enough that we don't want to start a mud-slinging match.

And you're right that women have enough issues without this kind of censorship adding to the problem.

Ciara Ballintyne said...

That's an excellent point. And I agree with you, nicknames may be appropriate for toddlers (if for no other reason than because they have difficulty with pronunciation) but if they are reading... well, you can't hide the word from them forever. I think it is insulting to intelligence at that point to use alternatives.

Ciara Ballintyne said...

I can see that being a practical issue LOL. The thing is, those adults likely don't want to use the word or are uncomfortable discussing body parts and/or sexuality precisely because of how these issues were treated in their childhood, and will perpetuate the issues into the next generation. For women in particular, being uncomfortable with her own body can cause all kinds of issues with sex and reationships.

Ciara Ballintyne said...

I agree that vadgeventures doesn't necessarily translate into vagina either, without context. I probably didn't know the word vagina until I was 11 and did sex-ed, but I also wasn't on the internet. there are far worse things for children to stumble across on the internet than *gasp* the names of any of their body parts! I suspect that the site in question hasn't even reflected on the way in which other content may be less than child-friendly.

Ciara Ballintyne said...

That thought did also occur to me, but when I tried to include it, the post got too convoluted LOL. But you are absolutely right. If an adult can't figure it out, likely a cgild won't. And if a child id unsupervised on the net, the parents have worse to worry about than stumbling across the word vadgeventure on a book.

Cinta García said...

After reading the post I was thinking exactly that too, Rob. Stupid people everywhere. The fact is that here in Spain we have names for children to name vaginas. We use "chichi", "chocho", "chochete"... to name a few. However, I like naming things the way they are called.

Ciara Ballintyne said...

At least it's equal opportunity and names for vaginas exist :-) I agree with you, though, I prefer the correct name - and to say it can't be used is preposterous

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