We’ve had a lot of feminist/anti-feminist/quasi-feminist discussions here at PITNB. We’ve questioned Jenny Saville’s life-size paintings of nude women, applauded young girls who fought the evils of air-brushing, and talked about “who needs feminism” in 2012. This note that I’m about to share with you is– hands down– cooler than anything else we’ve seen on the subject. In my humble opinion, that is. Check out fourth-wave feminism (or womanism, or humanism) at its finest, inside. *Sidenote– The Powerpuff Girls have nothing to do with this story; just thought they’d make for a good pic.
A father on Reddit posted his eight-year old daughter’s response to a writing assignment he gave her on being a girl:
How awesome was that??? Right???
Now here’s the inevitable part: everybody is tearing this little note apart! Well, not everybody. Of course many people (like me) love, love, love every word she wrote. But lots of HuffPost readers were “concerned” that she referenced her vagina (or, vegina). Others constructed careful literary analyses and feminist critiques of the note (I get it; I took lit. theory). Ya’ll know I live in the comments section of every blog (including this one) so here are some of the responses I had to share with you guys. And of course I’m picking and choosing out of almost 600 comments, so it’s totally not an accurate account of the whole convo:
“i raised a daughter and helped raise a niece. at 8 years old, they were not thinking about having vaginas. and never would i or them ever answer the question of what is good about being female with an initial answer of we have vaginias. really! i don’t think she came up with this herself. dad helped her with that. ask any male of age what is good about females and the standard answer will be they have vaginias. another female raised to see herself as only being worth as much as her vaginia”
To which a reader replied:
“vagina is not a bad word. Grow up. your 8 year old needs to know that she has a vagina. She needs to know that a vagina is what makes her different from a boy. it’s the anatomical correct name for her vagina. my girls call their vaginas, vaginas and nothing else. Calling it something else and sugar coating subconsciously makes it seem like its a bad thing. If you can call an arm and arm and a leg a leg then you can call a vagina a vagina. once they turn about 3 or 4 they need to stop saying words like peepee and hoo haa and o my favorite “down there” like its some bad secret and their not supposed to talk about it. It’s a vagina. ugh old conservative Victorian prudes!”
And then there’s this:
“It IS wonderful to have a vagina, because with a vagina you can get a man, and once you get a man you can plan ahead on you are going to wipe him out in divorce court! Congratulations to vaginas everywhere!”
To which another reader replied:
“There are really good therapists who can help you find peace with all that mommy anger and wife anger and woman anger.”
“It’s interesting to see how an 8 year old girls acknowledgement of the great things about being female has so easily ruffled the feathers of misogynists everywhere.
Settle down, women-haters. A girl appreciating her girl parts doesn’t take away YOUR importance in any way, shape or form.”
“That little girl is very smart. She answered the question perfectly. The question made her focus on “being a girl,” so her answer stressed female things such as having a vagina, getting pregnant and being able to create milk. Nice to see that she included things like being creative and smart. BRAVO!”
One feminist critique:
“She immediately identifies her gender with her sexual organ. Isn’t this what feminists are striving against?”
To which someone replied:
“Please get laid.”
But someone else replied:
“No; read a book.”
This was my favorite comment of all:
“Vegina? This vegan crap has gone too far!”
Tell me what you think about this note– and the responses! I just don’t see the bad. I feel like she covered all the bases, but I’m totally biased. I have a
vagina vegina, I had milk in my boobs bobes, I was “creative” in arts school, I “get jobs,” (lmao) and I think I have been (on occasion) smart and/or powerful. Her response is exactly what I would write today. Exactly. Judge me if you will!