Ladies, let’s not beat around the bush here. No pussyfooting around. You’ve no doubt had cause on occasion to rue the paucity of positive, useful English language words for the hoohah. You know what I mean. Yes, that. The snatch. The vagina.
Language is taking from you your right to express yourself positively, with ownership, when discussing a part of your body you have every right to feel happy with and empowered by and this has affected our culture in myriad ways, small and large.
When you pick a word, or a meaningful shrug of the shoulder or a raised eyebrow and swift glance down, it cannot be comfortable to find that you’re limited in choice by overly clinical terms or words heavily loaded with abusive or twee connotations, hence the proliferation of almost one-use words whose meaning has to be divined based on context and body language.
Perhaps we can do better. Please find herein for your consideration and discussion a set of words derived from a common root, designed to cover a wide variety of social situations. They’re certainly far from perfect, but perhaps they can represent a starting point on a journey to reclaiming in language and hence perhaps culture that which is yours to express.
For the root word, purely as a starting point, a word designed to be a replacement for ‘vagina’, consider if you will a little two seater Italian sportscar built for fun, something with some Va-va-voom. Perhaps if Alfa or Fiat were to make an MX-5?
How about ‘fa-jini’? It’s less harsh sounding than the alternative. You can even say it with a lilting Italian accent. Go on, give it a go, then try it again slightly Anglicised. Gesticulate a bit even. Then go back and look at the alternative.
Next, it’s always useful to have a good coarse word at your disposal. One you can wield in the bar, a few cocktails to the wind, shouted over the music. What we’re looking for here is an alternative to the irredeemably harsh and profoundly negative ‘cunt’.
How about ‘faj’? It’s short, it’s punchy, it’s feisty. It’s very close to ‘fab!’ which of course opens the possibility for Cosmo to start using ‘fajulous!’.
‘Hey! You! You think it’s funny to stare at my faj?’
Now we need a word with a little mystery and potency to it. Something a little bit sassy and maybe even a little romantic, a better version of ‘pussy’. May I suggest ‘jeanie/genie’. It’s already a feminine name, which is a good start, and it’s also a powerful and magical entity contained in something small.
Heck, it also lets everyone hum Christina Aguilera; ‘I’ve a genie in a bottle, baby…’
Perhaps most importantly, what’s needed is a word for situations where one just wants to describe a part of the body. One needs to be able to say it swiftly, it needs to be a word you can say quietly, surreptitiously, with small motions of the mouth.
Consider ‘jin’ or ‘jun’ or ‘j’n’. The shortest possible spoken combination of J and N. Something you can insert into a sentence as a tiny spoken marker with meaning, that you get past and then onto the rest of the sentence but that does not require that you have to jiggle your shoulders just so to get the point across.
This is a word you could use sitting in a cafe or in conversation while waiting outside school.
‘That stupid woman there just smacked her damned shopping basket right into my j’n’
It has tremendous compassionate utility. Consider the situation where a counsellor or care worker or solicitor needs to talk about something sensitive, but also wants to distance herself from the clinical terms that a victim or patient might’ve heard from medical or police personnel.
Finally, we have the case where one needs to have a chat with or about a lil’un. Perhaps you’re at a doctor’s surgery or talking with your sister about your niece or having to mention something to a friend’s young daughter. These are the situations that can haunt you for days. The sheer terror of overcoming the linguistic barrier can stop you from discussing an issue completely.
There is a beautifully simple solution. One that doesn’t involve ‘vajayjays’ or ‘froofroos’. I suggest ‘ini/eenie’. Short, sweet, simple.
If you’d like to write your own Whisper, we’d love to read it! The submission guidelines are here.
Lovely article, but I don’t agree that cunt is either irredeemably harsh or profoundly negative at all – rather the opposite. It’s one of my very favourite words. Using it all the time takes the sting out of it when it *is* used nastily, and it can’t be beaten for comic effect when deployed correctly.
Great post! Have often pondered this with girlfriends. One calls it her “fangita” or “foo foo” (which was also the name of her son’s comforter, confusing!). My mum used “yoni”, which I can’t say or hear now without cringing. My husband likes “fandango”.
Too many of the words for “it” were invented by men, and many are derogatory, or have been requisitioned for use as expletives. As a graduate of Anglo-Saxon, I think we women should reclaim the C-word for ourselves: it’s lusty and earthy and it belongs to us!
Fanjita said in a Mexican accent works for me. Would it be wrong to christen the cock Juan.