At the age of nearly two and half my daughter is well acquainted with the F word. No, not that one, she hasn’t learnt to swear yet. But she has no qualms about saying fanny. Mummy, my fanny bit hurting. Mummy, I got fanny like you, Mummy, look – my fanny!’
When my son was born, the question of what was between his legs was never an issue. It was a willy from day one. No doubt he will learn other, cruder, expressions when he’s older, but until then, it’s a willy.
But when my daughter uses the f word in front of other mums, they positively recoil in disgust and disbelief, that I’d allow my sweet little girl to use such vile and offensive language, or to even refer to her genitalia in the first place.
We don’t teach our little boys to say penis, so why should little girls be made to say vagina? If she falls and hurts her knee, I don’t say ‘have you hurt your patella?’ Vagina is fine – if you’re talking to a midwife. But at two years old it seems a little unnecessarily anatomical. However, I refuse, yes refuse, to call it any of those dreadful little euphemisms now immortalised by a well-known ‘ladies product.’
Oh please Femfresh, it’s not a froo-froo or a lala, or any other member of the Teletubbies. Call it a fanny, call it a vagina if you prefer. But it’s not a kitty (hello?) or a nooni. And while we’re on the subject, nor is it a minnie (not once you’ve pushed a baby out of it, anyway) a twinkle (little star?) or a front bottom (one anus is quite enough.)
What do all these verbal excuses teach our daughters? That she can’t mention the thing between her legs without wrapping it up in pretty pink paper and dowsing it in deodorant, until it looks and smells completely unrecognisable? That it’s ok for boys to talk, even laugh, about willies, but that girls need to be embarrassed about the very thing that (biologically at least) makes them female?
For me, fanny is empowering, unashamed, and yes even amusing – and I hope this is how my daughter will feel about her sexuality in the future. So in my family, it’s a fanny. I want my daughter (and my son) to know that fannies are fine – they’re not rude, they’re not distasteful and it’s fine to be proud of them. Let’s stop fannying about and reclaim the f word.
What do you think of Femfresh’s latest campaign? Check it out here?