Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Feeling a bit ova-cum: vaginas on my mind

For various reasons, vaginas have been on my mind a lot recently. I realise I'm laying myself open (arghh, will everything I write now be a pun??) to all sorts of lesbian jokes by saying this, but it's true. And they've mostly been on my mind due to work, health, and politics, rather than sex. Sorry. To be honest, if I'm thinking about sex, 'vagina' is not one of the words that springs to mind. It's an important word; it's a heavily politicised word; but, it's not exactly a sexy word, is it? See Caitlin Moran for a full debate on the topic. Actually, just read How to be a Woman (just being published in the US, so having a little publicity revival) - the whole thing. It's ace. An important tome for our time. And not scared to talk about vaginas (and feminism). As Moran succinctly puts in: 

Do you have a vagina? And Do you want to be in charge of it? If you said 'yes' to both then, congratulations! You're a feminist. 

I'm a feminist. And I can say the word VAGINA loud and clear quite happily. And have been a lot recently (in fact, I used the word 'trans-vaginal' in front of my house-mate yesterday, prompting her to cover her ears run from the room). But, for me, sex is about more than just anatomy; so, for now, let's leave sex by the door and enter the semantic cavern of the v-jj without the innuendo. 

So, why the vagina craze? Why now? Well, I'm sure it won't have escaped your politically-engaged notice that about a month and a half ago Vaginagate hit our headlines, when Michigan Democrat's Lisa Brown got banned from speaking on the House floor for using the (oh so very offensive) word VAGINA when discussing a bill on abortion . How very dare she use the anatomically correct word whilst discussing women's rights over their own bodies! Shocked at this ridiculous reaction, Brown then went on to perform The Vagina Monologues, with Eve Ensler, on the steps on the state's capital building in Lansing, and gave her own vagina monologue in The Guardian. Then we've also got the Pussy Riots, a Russian punk band who are facing trial after being charged with hooliganism, and imprisoned for the last five months, following their performance of a protest song in Moscow's main cathedral.

I've also been trying to find an appropriate title for a publication by one of the organisations I work for. And hit a big hymen-esque wall over who is happy to have the word 'Vagina' in the title. Thus, in an effort to placate (PlaKATE - what can I say? I'm a people-pleaser) everyone, I've been exploring other vag-themed alternatives. Any pun on labia, vulva, fanny, cunt, twat, fandango, clitoris, womb, ovum, uterus, vag....umm lady-garden....I can think of (although lots of people sadly have lady-patios, and if we're going down that path - or fallopian tube -  then surely we need to get the word 'merkin' in there somewhere?). Today I was sitting on the bus and had to google 'A Womb of One's Own' to confirm my suspicions that it will definitely have been used before (it has, of course), trying not to list all the various shit euphemisms I can think of for vagina out-loud. As Kylie would say, I can't get them out of my head. THE VAGINAS ARE TAKING OVER. Except they're not, 'cos just saying the word is enough to get you gagged in politics, and just having one is enough to mean you get paid less. They're not taking over, and that's not what feminism wants: we just want a fair deal, fair rights, equal pay, laws that give us the right to decide what happens to our bodies, a world without genital mutilation or sexual violence (against anyone, not just women)...

So, if you want to make a subtle(ish) hint in the board room, or fancy posting a package to a political leader or two, I'd recommend bringing in some cakes (as befits our gender), or subtly doing your nails (all women are good for), and seeing if they get the message. 

#WTF Vagina Cupcakes
Vagina cupcakes

Vagina nail art, I stole from Miss Fox's blog
All that said, however, I don't want any ladies to leave feeling down about their vaginas. If you are, just take a moment to appreciate your vagina - we're not all lucky enough to have one; think of the poor mermaids....

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