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Women and Words: Vajayjay - the latest term

(It's just the first two and a half minutes...)

Interesting article in the NYT about how this term for vagina has spread through popular culture like wildfire. Introduced to the public through a Grey’s Anatomy episode, the term has since been used on Opera a number of times and is popping up on blogs and website. Producer of the show explained that even though they use the word ‘penis’ on the show in several episodes, without any problems from the broadcasting standards board, ‘vagina’ got the board too riled up and the writers needed to look for an alternative. An intern suggested 'vajayjay'.

It’s easy to see why people use. It’s so cutesy-tootsy and sweet, no one can be offended by it. And I know that a lot women have trouble talking about their vaginas and that such alternatives terms apparently empowers them to discuss it more, which is all good for a limited period of time. Steven Pinker points out that nicknames for genitalia are so prolific because they always acquire a negative usage and the warm-fuzzy, puritanical feeling you once had when using it, is quickly lost.

Frankly, I would be mortified if I used vajayjay in any serious conversation unless I was talking about a celebrity who has lost the ability to pull on knickers or recounting to someone the list of stupid names people have for vagina. Children’s language or post-modern humour is what comes to mind whenever I hear the word. Its origin comes from the fact that our culture is too uptight, in all the wrong ways, to handle the public discussion of a women’s vagina, so we either make fun of it or turn it into a puppy.

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Posted by on October 29, 2007


why does the word penis not get the board riled up?
And f*ck Grey's Anatomy for even using such a term. If they can write about a womans vagina, they should have the courage to use proper terminology.

Posted by: /. | October 30, 2007 5:28 AM

I admit that I have been referring to my va-va-vagina (pretending to struggle to say it...) as 'va-jay-jay' in any blog posts where I reference it ever since I watched the episode. I think it suits my sense of humour and it's not that I have an issue with saying vagina, it's just that 'va-jay-jay' is more in keeping with my tone whereas if I said vagina in this context, for some reason it sounds more clinical. It is shameful though that there is such an issue with using this word on television or even showing one, yet men get to wave their penises around at will and nobody so much as blinks when the word is uttered.

Posted by: Natalie | October 30, 2007 8:43 AM

That's the most depressing thing I've heard today.

Posted by: Alex | October 30, 2007 9:45 AM

Much better is Elliot from Scrubs term - Bajingo.

Posted by: Gemma | October 30, 2007 10:04 AM

Sure everyone in Grey's Anatomy can sleep around and get std's but censors forbid the word Vagina...

Law and order: SVU used the word VAGINA in tonights episode! Where was the board?? Its not as if they didn't have enough ratings to be concerned.. I'm not buying that we had to use a different term crap.

Posted by: /. | October 31, 2007 6:01 AM

I think the standards board can't actually censor the use of the word 'vagina' but rather that the use of the word is undesired. Very strange. Too bad the execs on Grey's Anatomy seemed to take this on board.

Posted by: Carter-Ann | October 31, 2007 11:42 AM

I am personally disgusted by va-jay-jay. It sounds like a baby word or a pet name for vagina. I say vagina because I'm an adult. Sometimes I'll say vag, but that's b/c I'm a fan of abbreviations... not because I've picked a favorite pet name for my vagina.

Posted by: Liz | November 1, 2007 5:27 PM

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