Friday, May 02, 2008

on pudenda

My last post included several uses of one of the two most hurtful epithets in the English language. I'd like to state for the record that I used it repeatedly and intentionally because I wanted to make it absolutely crystal clear what McCain has been reported to have said (by the usually credible Cliff Schecter) because he is getting a free pass on a lot of stuff that nobody else would.

While I strongly feel that there are no offensive words, only offensive uses of words, that particular word has become very poisonous over the last few decades after literally centuries of common and popular use, even though the root of the word simply means "triangle" and the term had no pejorative value for a very long time. Today, it is widely reviled because it is almost always used as a hurtful expression and virtually never as a descriptive conversational term. It is definitely not a usual part of my own lexicon. I have used it on a few occasions, almost all of them under my breath as an expression of my own personal disgust with someone, and more often than not, someone male.

I have used it to directly address a female on one occasion. I'm glad I did, the party it was directed at deserved far worse.

There are a multitude of words for both male and female body parts, and it seems that other common slang term is the one that is in vogue today. Although I dearly love cats, that one isn't a regular part of my vocabulary either. Nor is the more clinical selection, the completely inaccurate "vagina," inaccurate because you pretty much have to be a gynecologist armed with speculum and flashlight to see that part of the female anatomy.

Nope, I don't like any of the other obvious ones, either.

The term I prefer is "vulva." A soft and elegant little word, it even sounds like the name of some kind of exotic little jungle mammal, like a tiny lemur with golden eyes and a luxuriant pelt, and carries overtones of "velvet" and "lava." And, not only is it musical to the ear, it is anatomically correct because it refers to the visible external female genitalia. I invite you all to join me on my crusade to educate the public and to make it the popular term.

Meanwhile, please don't write me and gripe about my use of language.

I might call you a dick.


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