Vulvalips - No reason to be ashamed!
Many parts of the external female genitalia are described with the prefix pubic, so also for example the pubic lips. But where does this designation come from? And why shame? Do we women have to be ashamed of it? I have made myself on the search for the word origin and for alternative designations.
The origin of the word
In the Duden dictionary I can read that the word shame was originally used in connection with embarrassment or disgrace. It was only much later that it acquired its current meaning in connection with the female sexual organs. Also, from the Old German, it has the meaning "that which is to be covered". But what MUST be covered here? Men wear their genitals proudly in most cases, why should women be deprived of this right?
Now this was written a bit exaggerated by me, but in my opinion, the terms for the male genitals are not negative connotations.
I also looked at what the labia are called in other languages and could not find such a shameful word in any other language. In many other languages they are simply called labia, which is the anatomical or medical name.
But it is just a word, isn't it?
So why do we have to call them that? Why should a woman be ashamed of her sex? The labia are part of femininity. They are part of sensuality and sexuality. They are no reason to hide or even to be ashamed. Female pleasure is wonderful. And I ask myself: Do we want our daughters to be ashamed of their lust? Do we want them to be ashamed of their sex? I think, no. I don't want my daughter to be ashamed of anything about herself.
And no, I don't think that's just the term for it either and that's just a word. I think language creates reality. If we always use negative words, how are we supposed to feel good about ourselves? If we always hear about birth pain, for example, how are we supposed to feel pleasure when we give birth? But that's another topic. I think it's important to find another word for all the "shame" words.
What would be the alternative?
For starters, the alternative for labia could simply be the term labia, just as in many other languages. Another possible term that I could find more often was Venus lip. The term is derived from the Roman goddess of love, Venus. I personally find that very appropriate.
At the moment there is also an online petition by Dr. Gunda Windmüller and Dr. Mithu M. Sanyal, who are demanding that the term Vulvalippen be included as a synonym in the Duden. Currently, there is no other term in the Duden. They also call for the term labia to be completely replaced by vulva lips in perpetuity.
There are so many respectful alternatives and I wish they would replace the outdated word. Because that's what it is: a sign of oppression of women and taboo of sexuality.Image source:
The cover image comes from unsplash.com.