I don't think my body is disgusting. You probably don't think your body is disgusting either. But talk about certain parts of it in public, even when it's relevant to the conversation, and you may as well be running naked down London's Oxford Street shouting "look, I have tits!"
As you may have heard, Michigan has banned a female representative for using the V-word in a debate about abortion. Lisa Brown apparently said that the controversial bill represented a personal attack and so, in discussing this, she happened to mention part of the female reproductive system. She said of the ruling:
"There have been many occasions of inappropriate behavior by men on the floor, and they haven't lost their voice. I was speaking to the bill at hand, I didn't use any curse words and I was using anatomically correct language."
So why ban her? Are vaginas really that disgusting, or scary, that the mere mention of them in polite society should be punished? Should she have talked about her hoo hoo or vajayjay instead, or simply skirted around the issue as if she was a nervous mother talking to a five year old?
Would it have been better if she'd said womb? Perhaps. I guess mention of a womb doesn't make repressed idiots think of sex. But, if we're talking about the law, abortions, and women's bodies, why the fuck can't she say VAGINA? (Apologies, I just said 'fuck' there. Not only is it a bit of a swear, but you're all thinking of sex now, aren't you?)
But was it the fact she said a word that some people, stupidly, still consider to be rude, or is it the fact she's a woman? Now I want a man to use the word penis in a discussion in the Michigan State House chamber, just to see what would happen. Not willy, cock or dick, but PENIS. An anatomical term to describe a part of his body in a relevant debate.
When do men's bodies ever get mentioned when laws are being passed? When have men's bodies ever become public property? Silly me, it's only women who have to put up with that bullshit.
You'd think that women's bodies were disgusting the way they're constantly kept in check with abortion laws, arbitrary rules on breastfeeding in public, newspaper slut shaming stories, rape victim blaming and the like. And sometimes we can't even question it, because doing so would mean using 'rude' words.
Bodies are amazingly wonderful things and we should be proud of them. We should be able to talk about them without fear of embarrassment, or being silenced. But then, we should also be able to live in a world without narrow-minded idiots. I won't hold my breath wishing for that though.
Lori Smith is an Erotic Award nominated writer, blogger and sex-positive LGBT feminist. She will probably now spend the rest of the day trying not to say the word vagina for no reason.
Dirty Bitch plate by Trxie Delicious on Etsy.