An Eight-Year Old Waxes Poetic On The ‘Wonderful Things About Being A Girl’

"We Have Veginas"

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.”

I concur:

“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!

#TeamVeginas

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  1. Beth

    I’m fine with it. I agree that people shouldn’t make vagina or any body part be some sort of taboo. So long as the child understands that there are times and places where this word shouldn’t be used then there is no problem. She’s beginning to own her body and that makes for a very confident adult woman, which we need more of.

  2. Lauri

    She’s an 8 year old! I feel like her saying having a vagina makes being a girl awesome, is more about her associating having a vagina with what makes someone a girl, not a boy. Personally I think it’s better they use the ‘real’ words for their parts so in a couple years when she gets the period talk, it’s not so scary and technical!

    Also, I was really hoping there was Powerpuff Girls news…

    • Lauri, lol. Sorry to disappoint. I miss them too, as you can see :)

    • shannon m.

      Totally in agreement with Lauri on her point that this girl is associating her vagina with what makes her a girl, not a boy. This was my immediate argument to the feminist comment you posted. And I totally LOL’d on the divorce

  3. Niecy

    What she wrote isn’t bad at all! You can clearly tell that the main woman in her life just had a baby, considering her knowledge. She probably just had the talk about where babies come from, how they eat, and a woman’s reproductive organs. The fact the feminists have read into this is ridiculous.

    • Niecy, good point– I read that she has a younger brother. Perhaps she’s drawing on memories of him as an infant. But what’s interesting about the “feminist” critique is that some readers read it as totally feminist (if you can call an 8-year old that) while others thought it wasn’t. Depends on how you define feminism. But I think it’s hella smart.

  4. Kelly

    Lol this is too cute! Love it! I asked my husband how he felt about this and he said the exact same thing as I was feeling. I told him other people views on this (the negativity) and he was very quick to point out the little girl ALSO addressed she is smart, holds power, creative and can get a JOB! Lol. Just loved this. I feel this Dad is doing a great parenting job. And ps. My husband and I are more on the conservative side and have NO problem with a girl saying vagina. It’s immature for any sex not to be able to say the proper name for her sex organ. Geez Louise these people need to get a life! Lol ;)

    • Kelly, thanks for weighing in (and for getting your hubbie’s opinion too)! I, too, felt like she covered all her bases here. And that’s VERY impressive for an 8-year old. Although I wrote that I would have said the same stuff she said, I probably would have stopped at “vegina” and “milk in bobes.” She’s right on.

  5. Kat

    We use the proper term for vagina and penis in our house as well. I’ve had conversations with my 3yo boy about why his sister doesn’t have a penis and if she’s “broken.” On that note, he’s also paraded around the house chanting about his penis. We’re not shy in our house. There is absolutely no reason why bkdy parents and their proper words should be taboo. I hate the word “peepee” or “lady bits”

    As for my “bobes” they are called breasts but “milkies” or mimis” are currently what comes out of them for my 15mo.

    I think this little girl interpretation of us is wonderful! And yes, obviousky someone in her life recently had a baby by the sounds of it.

    • Kat, thanks for sharing this. I’ve always wanted to make a list of all the times my 3-year old has references his “penis” in some strange way or another. It’s hilarious, but I think I prefer hearing him say that than anything else.
      Congrats on your “milks” LOL! And thanks again for commenting.

  6. If a child is mature enough to handle it without screaming it across the playground, they need to know what their body parts are correctly called.

    I learned at 6 due to my mother’s fear of her children being harmed by anyone. She always explained that when pedophiles had a nickname for a game or a child’s sex organ, they were masking and confusing a child to understand that this is wrong.

    However, if we knew someone was trying to touch our “vagina” “testicles”, “breasts/nipples”, and “penis”, no matter what the game is called, it is wrong and we needed to tell her or another adult.

  7. “we are smart. we have power”. easily my favourite part of the whole note.

  8. Jay

    I think it’s fantastic. She didn’t say, “We’re pretty, we can be princesses, we have nice shoes, we can get husbands.” She wrote about the physical parts that make girls different from boys and recognized that they were wonderful, not dirty or shameful. And the other characteristics she mentions (power, creativity, intelligence, etc.) are icing on the cake. What a brilliant little girl.

  9. Kelly

    Well said Jay, well said!

  10. rachel

    What a lovely celebration of being female! I can’t understand why anyone would be upset by this essay. Why shouldn’t she begin with the most obvious thing that separates females from males? There is nothing more unique about being a woman than having a vagina! The girl is just stating the obvious! Her essay is thoughtful and logical and her phonetic spelling is spot-on! Way to go, smart, creative and powerful girl – I can’t wait to see what kind of kick-ass job you’re going to have one day!!

    • rachel, yes! I also see this as a “lovely celebration of being female.” And thanks for pointing out how good her phonetic spelling is! Lol.

  11. muchacha

    Kind of curious to know her examples for the abstract concepts.. We are creative, we have power, we are smart (how? toward whom? when? sometimes? all the time?). Especially the question of power.. it shows she’s thinking about times when there might be an imbalance in a situation.

    • muchacha, there’s a lot behind these words! I didn’t get too deep into it because I love the seeming simplicity of it all. But your questions are questions for all of us because it’s important (eventually) to get specific about ideas like this.

  12. rOXy

    This little girl is going to grow up to be one kick ass woman!

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