I’ve been thinking about this recently: http://jezebel.com/5921451/i-dont-care-about-your-stupid-vulva-its-all-vagina-to-me
Because here’s the thing. I do think it’s important to teach distinction among different parts of the female anatomy. It drives me crazy when people say things like, “I shave my vagina.” It just bothers me. Because, ow. Mostly, I feel like it’s just a bad habit to get into, because younger people who haven’t had to learn all that anatomy yet (or who don’t have a sex ed program that will make them memorize what part’s the labia and what part’s the cervix) are more likely to have a warped view of how sex and female pleasure works. And of how different women enjoy different things.
I was in Vagina Monologues not too long ago, and a character has a line about how unsexy the word “vagina” is, and she uses, “Darling, would you stroke my vagina?” as an example. The use of “vagina” in that play bothers me a ton, actually, but this was the worst one for me. I would NEVER say that. Not even because I think it’s weird to refer to the whole general area by “vagina”, but because I think it’s seriously vague and possibly misleading. That doesn’t tell your partner what you want AT ALL.
But, going back to the article I linked: I have less of a problem with “vagina” being used generally around Jezebel, because most of the people reading are interested in, and therefore more educated about, women’s issues. And she makes a good point about writing humor, which is probably where a lot of the word choice in Vagina Monologue comes in, too. I GET that. I don’t really appreciate the author posting an article like that, but I understand her point. I just also think it’s very important to teach specificity.