My Secret Garden

Goodness Gracious Me, haven’t folk got their knickers in a twist about the naming of the contents of their pants?

All of a sudden it seems, we are supposed to be having anatomy lessons with full on biological terminology with our toddlers in place of using previously acceptable names like “willie”, “winkie”, “fluff”, “nooni” or “privates”.

Recently I read an article on facebook from a mother to her daughter about teaching her the correct labelling of her genitals, though why this discussion had to go via the middle man of social media instead of a face to face chat is beyond me. Even writing about saying the word “genitals”, to a 5 year old makes me feel a bit creepy. Perhaps “genitalia” is a bit “softer”?

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I can’t help but feel a bit sad that we now live in an era when this is deemed necessary. Looking back to my own childhood, the area between our legs held no more interest than an inconvenient but necessary comfort break facilitator during a game of elastics or handstands. Now, we are branded non-progressive parents if we don’t give full university level disclosure to our young children about the complex workings of all their precious bits before their innocence bubble is burst by a know-it-all kid with a know-it-all parent at school. Probably by the same kid who will blow the Santa Myth. Wee Shit. This hardly seems fair when we all bang on about preserving childhood and #letthembeyoung.

Of course, there comes an appropriate time for any child to know the correct naming of nearly all parts of their body, sadly, some would say, younger and younger these days. But I ask you would many 10 year olds be able to identify their philtrum ridges from their glabella? They are below your alar rims FYI.

Only little for so long

Yet, we are expected, by some supposed internet child gurus, without so much of a batting of a levator palpebra superioris to explain the complex intimate folds of the labia minoris, majoris and urethra meatus when all my daughter wants to tell me is that “something’s itchy, mummy”.   Sometimes a collective term is preferable when discussion the wild, wonderful and occasionally weird workings of our pleasure zones to curious minds. Unless, of course you are lecturing on gynaecology to medic students; then you really should use the correct latin names.

For the record, we use a variety of names, depending on the context. We use “penis”, “testes” and “vulva” when some sort of serious question is being answered, “privates” when chastising about “helicopter battles” with cousins or borderline incestual investigations are stumbled upon at bathtime and family friendlier terms like “willie”, “goonies” and “fluff” for pretty much all other times.

The name most likely to induce a gag reflex from me, is when a child is burdened with the term “Vagina”. This word does not describe the entirety of the area, just as the tibia does not describe the entirety of the leg.   It’s as different as inside and outside; the hall & the front porch; the bowling lane and the amusement arcade with all its bright lights and klaxons that surround it. I find it infuriating that a parent would argue that relabeling a girl-child’s “secret garden” as a “vagina” would be empowering.   It is incorrect and I wager there are very few “peach” using ladies that are unaware that their vagina is only one part of their “flower”. And we really don’t want to return to the days when a bloke was allowed to think the vagina was the beginning, middle and end of a lady’s erogenous zones do we?


Wouldn’t it be great if we could all go about quietly educating our children about their bodies in the sensitive, respectful manner they deserve instead of making such a patronising song and twerk about it on social media? On a separate twerk-related-note, when did spasmic boob whacking and gesturing repeatedly towards our power petals in a fully clothed stripper routine become empowered female dancing? I look forward to when powerful female expression becomes about more than just self promotion of breasts and sweaty c…..revices.

For those cringing at our family’s use of “fluff”, the truth is, after trying a variety of names, unable to settle on one, Wee Girlie christened it herself, after observing me in the shower.

“Mummy you have a BIG fluff between your legs!”

This served as two moments of clarity:

  1. THAT’s what we’ll call it!
  2. Even Wee Girlie is telling you some 70s fashions should be retired for good

And I suppose that’s the crux of it. Pick a word you are comfortable using and talking about with your children, friends, doctor and hell, the world of facebook, if you must.  If we own all the words surely none of them can be insulting.  It’s the open discussion and banishment of “dirty girl” associations that is important not the term you use.

“A rose by any other name, would smell as sweet…” and all that.

With one exception.  Unless you are specifically referring to it, stop using “Vagina”.

It just makes you sound like a fanny.


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