On my weekends that I have off, my preferred way to relax is to watch the degenerates of society play out their painfully comedic lives on TLC (formerly known as the Learning Channel). Like millions of other viewers, Alana “Honey Boo Boo Child’s” southern charm and candid, pseudo-philosophical comments has captured my heart. She is truly a delight to watch. Aside from chronicling the ridiculous pageant adventures of Honey Boo Boo, the show features the teenage pregnancy of one of Alana’s older sisters, Anna AKA “Chickadee.” June, Alana’s mother, explains to her where babies come from, explaining that “a baby doesn’t come out of her butt, it comes out of her biscuit.” Alana eagerly anticipates her niece to pop out anytime from her sister’s “biscuit.” Anna refers to her own vagina as a biscuit even when Alana is not around her, with June giving crucial life advice that boys just want to get in their warm biscuit, and once they do, they leave.
What hasn’t captured my heart about this show, however, is the way in which her and her family refer to their vaginas. Although the biscuit nickname is funny, ridiculous, and (arguably) cute, I am fearful that Alana will grow up actually believing that babies come from biscuits, or that she will forever reference her vagina as such. Parents have adopted this habit of substituting words describing genitalia for more “cutesy” words: cooter, coochie, kitty, muffin are just examples of this on-going, creative list, and now biscuit can be added. Personally, I think “vagina” is just as fun to say as “cooter” or “coochie,” so what’s the harm in teaching children what a vagina is? Kids are taught the correct names for other body parts, but when it comes to explaining their genitalia, we feel the need to lie to them, or protect their innocence just a little longer. By renaming genitalia and avoiding using the correct medical terms, parents and educators are communicating the message that these body parts are shameful and too taboo to talk about. It promotes a sense of disunity with those body parts in relation to other parts of their body, and these cutesy nicknames suggest that we, as a society, cannot even take our own genitalia seriously. Kids subscribe to this culture early on to not talk openly about these parts, which will later transcribe to having more difficulty in talking about sex with their sexual partners or doctors.
According to a study conducted by Summer’s Eve, 70% of women do not know where or how to label the five major parts of their vagina, and 60% are uncomfortable with even saying the word “vagina.” The fact that Anna got pregnant as a teenager may be a result of this culture of not discussing sex properly to children early enough. It is important teach kids and teenagers to use the correct terms for their sexual parts, as it will aid in having easier conversations about sex, pregnancy, and contraception later on in life. How else are women/people with vaginas supposed to communicate about their genitalia if they grew up avoiding using the correct word? I can just imagine all the confusing conversations gynecologists may have had to endure because someone’s “biscuit” is having problems.
So tell me, when will my vagina stop being a pastry and finally be JUST a vagina?