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Do girls have willies? Do girls have willies?
by Asa Butcher
2008-02-07 10:07:01
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I have a problem, which began last weekend when I took my two-and-half year old daughter swimming. We had just finished a marathon splashing session and had returned to a private cubicle in the changing room. I dried and dressed my daughter first, so she just sat waiting for Daddy to do the same, but when I went to put on my boxer shorts she pointed and announced, "Daddy's willy!" She then pointed at herself and proclaimed, "My willy!" Smiling, I replied, "No, boys have willies, girls have…" and my mind went blank.

What do girls have? Yes, I know the medical term is vagina, but there's something unsettling about a two-year-old girl using such as clinical term, plus it is such a hard word. Parents of boys can quite happily christen the penis a willy and it is a word happily accepted by society, but what is the common children's term for the vagina? Actually, it is not even the vagina, since that is actually the internal structure, while the vulva is the exterior genitalia.

I don't consider the word 'vagina' to be a dirty word or offensive, but it just takes you by surprise when you say it aloud. My wife uses the Finnish word pimppi which isn't too bad, but I would still prefer to use an English alternative if there was a good one. I have heard a few friends use 'mini', 'crotch' and other euphemisms for 'down there', but doesn't that send the wrong messages about the vagina/vulva transforming it into something embarrassing or taboo?

Strangely, while I was researching this article I remembered another article I wrote for Ovi last year that criticised a theatre in Florida that renamed its production of The Vagina Monologues because a woman said she was "offended" when her niece asked her what a vagina was. The new name? They decided on The Hoohaa Monologues. In that article I wrote: "Let’s set the girl on a path of being ashamed of her body, let’s sow the seeds that will blossom into self-hate, low self-esteem and no self-confidence, all because Aunty made an issue out of nothing…"

Up until now I have not even thought twice when teaching anatomy words to my daughter and it has impressed me how she has filed them all away in Finnish and English, yet I think that the issue of this word has suddenly reminded me of the future prospect of my daughter becoming sexually active - a horrific thought for any father! At the moment she is happy to run around the bed naked shouting, "Howdy! Howdy! Willy!" and that is enough to make you laugh, but I seriously hope she gives it all up when she takes her vows to become a nun!

I also found a Yahoo forum that had a thread asking whether 'vagina' a dirty word that we should keep from our kids and the replies all agreed that it is not a dirty word, "The people that are giving you a hard time are the ones that refer to those parts of the human body as who-whos and ha-ha's and pee-pee's...Good grief grow up people!!!" I must admit that this story did make me cringe slightly with embarrassment, "I remember being at the beach once with one of my nieces who LOUDLY announced to her mother (and everyone else within earshot) that she had "sand in her vagina and it was itchy.""

Well, I must admit something surprising has happened over the course of writing this article: I have actually solved the problem. I have convinced myself that the word 'vagina' should be the one taught to my daughter because there's actually nothing wrong with it and there's no need to even suggest otherwise. My next problem will probably be in a few months when my wife's pregnancy begins to show and she asks the classic question, "Where do babies come from?"


    
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Sand2008-02-07 12:04:51
Although there are rougher terms for the female organ in both Finnish and English used in a derogatory manner it seems to me the old term I learned in the army "pussy" seems to me to be as innocent as "willy".


Emanuel Paparella2008-02-07 16:20:22
Indeed to explain to one’s children anatomy and physiology is not that complicated and most children would eventually find out on their own in any case. It does get a bit more complicated though when one has to explain to them how the very same physiological act of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman can symbolically represent love when it is performed within the framework of commitment and responsibility, and hatred when it is rape. Corollary to that conundrum is to explain to one’s daughters the attitude toward sex of so many males which goes something like this: “why commit to buying a cow when I can get free milk?”


Sand2008-02-07 16:31:15
And then, of course there are the cows bought and paid for that give sour milk.


Emanuel Paparella2008-02-07 16:54:18
Committment and loyalty with guarantees of dividends and returns an oxymoron makes as Josiah Royce has well taught us.


Sand2008-02-07 17:53:48
I don't need Josiah Royce to tell me that people make mistakes. And that there should be ways to rectify them.


Clint2008-02-07 19:50:50
I am reminded of a story I heard many years ago when little Johnny pointing at his willy proclaimed to his little friend Jane that she didn't have one of these. Jane replied "I'm not bothered my Mum says when I get older I can have as many of those that I like!"


Emanuel Paparella2008-02-07 21:43:39
Indeed it was Royce that everybody has to do one's own living and dying and thinking. Neverthless, before consigning Royce’s wisdom to the bonfire too, it may be worth one’s while to take a careful look at his concept of loyalty as a way of unifying and finding peace in one’s life, thus avoiding self-deception and moral myopia, one such surely being that of turning one’s back on loyalty and commitment by using other human beings as a means to an end.


Sand2008-02-07 22:23:31
It's pretty sad when an individual cannot have an original sensible thought without feeling it necessary to reference it to some ancient pundit to give it validity. It's an odd form of intellectual cowardice.


AP2008-02-07 23:13:26
I suggest "alices" as a female version.


Emanuel Paparella2008-02-07 23:43:02
It's even sadder when the wisdom accumulated over millenia is consigned to the bonfire. On May 10 1942, they were all doing their own thinking while the books burned and they were really convinced they were at the cutting edge of progress and knew better.


Sand2008-02-08 03:07:53
And the marriage ceremony should be relabeled "Alice in Wonderland" with all its odd implications.


Richard2008-02-09 17:57:45
QUOTE FROM SAND!!!! Sand 2008-02-07 12:04:51
Although there are rougher terms for the female organ in both Finnish and English used in a derogatory manner it seems to me the old term I learned in the army "pussy" seems to me to be as innocent as "willy".

OK Ok I was with Asa today and he told me about what he had wrote, can I just say PUSSY is far from innocent, Pussy is more like a word you word use to talk dirty , like "would you like me to lick your pussy?" "shall we have some pusst fun?" I was using the word Fanny with my girls until I was told by my brother that is very wrong for a 6 and a 3 year old to use this word and he told me Mini is much nicer.


Sand2008-02-09 18:06:14
Dirty, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. If you don't like pussy, how about puppy?


Tim2008-02-09 18:06:48
I'm sure you don't!


Asa2008-02-09 23:39:49
Tommy Thumb, Peter Pointer, Toby Tall, Ruby Ring and Baby Small - the hand digits have been named!


Sand2008-02-09 18:14:52
That female thing, it's evident
May not be mentioned by a gent.
And, of course, it's an affront
To call that thing, clearly, a ----
Therefore begins the argument.


Sand2008-02-09 18:31:20
Since somebody suggested Mini as a proper name for the female organ it seems not only logical but in conformity with the ultra clean atmosphere of Disney to call the male organ Miki.

But to investigate further this obviously fascinating area of linguistics I believe "behind" is acceptable generally for human rear ends so perhaps "before" would do for the front anatomy. To add a bit of culture, men would have sir befores and women miss befores if they are unmarried and madam befores once they have husbands.


AP2008-02-09 20:21:26
Should we call marriage ceremony "Where's Willy?" then, Sand? Funny marriage conception... in all senses. I see no reason for the male organ to be nicknamed after a human first name and the female one after an animal - army criterions still? Then we could do pretty nasty jokes nicknaming the male organ after animals (and according to size too). I will spare you the details.


Willy-Alice's-son2008-02-09 20:27:37
Anyway weird discussion... everyone should use their own private names, the ones they feel more comfortable with and their level of imagination allows them to.


Sand2008-02-09 21:48:09
I wonder why sexual organs need such special names. Should each or fingers require a special name, or our nose or our ears? Why the fuss?


AP2008-02-10 02:38:41
Dealing with children, and sometimes with another adult, with emotions, and trying to convey or show affection, sometimes leads to that. We sound stupid. But that's lovely.


Sand2008-02-10 05:14:17
My experience with children has been that they are clear headed and unafraid of the obvious truths which seem to be a plague to the average adult mind beclouded by the idiocies of social tradition. There is nothing either perverted or filthy in the mechanics and tools of reproduction and children deserve to not be deceived or diverted from the simple facts. Only in that way can the dangers and delights of the process be made clear.


alices2008-02-10 09:28:50
alices


AP2008-02-11 02:52:10
whatever


Richard2008-02-11 11:41:15
Put it this way, if my girls where to walk around saying my pussy in public I think I would die, willy is a fun word for the boys parts and Mini is just a sweet name for a little girl to use.


Sand2008-02-12 07:30:18
The whole business of people being afraid of and being offended by more or less innocent language basically boils down to foolishness. In the army offensive language is so deeply embedded in daily speech that its psychological teeth has been effectively pulled, leaving very little linguistic weaponry to the average armory to be offensive. Which, to my mind, is a good thing. I find the whole business totally silly and some kind of a spinoff of the religious offense of blasphemy which has its roots in the ability of words to raise demons or offend the theoretical creator of th universe who most certainly, assuming its existence, has better things to do than be offended by a member of a silly arrogant species of no consequence whatsoever to the huge universe.


harry2008-12-20 20:10:37
are they sece


Sammie2011-08-10 20:44:59
We always used the word diddle!


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