Ruth Walker: Why does the one word that is, after all, anatomically correct prove to be so incendiary?
FLOWER. Lady Garden. Cha-cha. Muff. If you happen to be a footballer of very little brain with a colourful but unimaginative line in insults, it could be a four-letter word beginning with C.
There were, at the last count, 1,000 slang words or phrases to describe a woman’s genitalia. (For the record, I recognised approximately ten on the list – sheltered upbringing, you see). Some are offensive, most are just ridiculous. Cave of wonders, anyone? Gammon hangers. Squish mitten. Pickle snapper. Meat curtains.
A colleague once quizzed me on what his young daughter should call hers – the general consensus being divided between front bottom and the ludicrous foo-foo.
But why does the one word that is, after all, anatomically and biologically correct prove to be so politically incendiary? Isn’t there something inherently wrong with a society that can discuss at great length and in excruciatingly tedious detail a court case in which one footballer is alleged to have called another footballer a black c***, yet an advert for pantyliners that uses the words vagina and discharge causes widespread outrage and disgust, as happened last week?
Carefree is the culprit. Perhaps cynically, it made the bold choice to depart from the customary euphemisms about Mother Nature and wings and “feminine odour” – even the use of blue juice, for heaven’s sake, to illustrate a process that is most certainly not blue.
Instead. It told it how it is. And in just 30 seconds it managed to sharply divide viewers in New Zealand. “Ew,” “No-one wants to hear about that,” and “OMGGGGGGG” typified the overreactions. Grow up people.
Last month US Democrat Lisa Brown dared to utter the ‘v’ word during a debate about the regulation of abortion clinics. She was gagged as a result, by a bunch of men who presumably thought discussing the intimate physical and emotional nature of abortion was fine and dandy but actually naming the parts involved was just a bit too icky, thanks very much. Reader, here’s the thing. My womanhood, the very centre of my femininity, is not a disability. It is not a thing to be whispered, like a death sentence or a dirty little secret. It’s just a vagina. Get over it.
WHAT do women do three times a day? Eat, probably, and while that’s not the correct answer to this particular conundrum, I suspect it is connected. You see, apparently we’re so busy fretting about our big butts and bulging bellies, we simply don’t have time to do other stuff. Like, er, get rid of them.
In a survey for Travelodge, women reported worrying about being fat “at least” three times a day, while a big-boned 80 per cent confessed to feeling depressed about their appearance. Ladies, if you spent less time whining about your love handles and more time actually doing something about it, the world would be a happier place. Alternatively, learn to love your lard and get a life.
I LIKE a spot of the supernatural, me. You can’t beat a weeping Madonna or an image of Christ in a bag of out-of-date ready salted. But the couple who reported seeing Margaret Thatcher on their baby’s ultrasound scan? Guys, rather like the $85 slice of toast bearing the image of an American football player that sold on eBay this week, I’m not buying it.
• Last week Ruth... completed her second Tough Mudder challenge of the year, then spent the rest of the week wondering where all those nasty bruises came from
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Friday 24 May 2013
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