VAGINA! There, I said it.
Half the world’s population have one… but the latest media storm surrounding the use of the word ‘vagina’ in Carefree’s latest ad campaign, seems to suggest we’re still not ready to talk like grown-ups about women’s bodies.
This is apparently the first time in Australia that an ad has dared to call a spade a spade, instead of making vague and coy references to ‘down there’. The word itself is actually mentioned very casually and in passing, rather than being laboured, or used purely for shock value. And yet, the ad has already sparked dozens of complaints, which either focus on the word itself, or on the fact that the woman in the ad appears naked (though she is actually tastefully obscured by props). The subject was even raised as a discussion point on ABC’s Q&A this week.
It strikes me as highly ironic that we place such a taboo on perfectly normal images of the naked form, and of words like ‘vagina’. As for ‘cunt’, (which is really just another variation on a theme), it seems to trigger almost universal shock and disgust on the rare occasions it’s ever used in public.
And yet, there are other words, such as ‘torture’ and ‘kill’ that reference subjects we don’t get nearly worked up enough about. In fact, they’re words so commonplace, we could use them for something as mundane as simply describing the traffic.
Have we got it all wrong? Why should a word like ‘vagina’ be such an affront to peoples’ morals? Why is there still such a stigma and shame around female sexuality? Isn’t it time we began questioning the validity of these silly reactions? Then perhaps we’ll be free to start focusing on some of the world’s more pressing issues that really are an affront to humanity.