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Hello, I have been looking for web links about the effect of teaching girls slang terms for their genitalia. Brought about by wondering why my sister-in-law would toilet train her boy with words like penis, but toilet train her little girl with the word woo-woo when vulva is the medical term. Can you give me some links to get me started?

Thanks for your note. Your question about how your sister-in-law teachers her son versus how she teaches her daughter, in many ways underlies the root of so many problems. For instance, starting at this early age, girls aren't really taught what "down there" is and what its purpose/function is--therefore, we get to spend most of our lives scared and confused, until some good girlfriend figures it out and dares to share it with the rest of us. At least that has been the "relearning" process for most of my friends. Much of this "confusion" is explained in Eve Ensler's book The Vagina Monologues--the book, which is also a performance piece, certainly underscores, how little women know about their genitals. In fact, we can't even say the words without giggling. I think that Eve's book and her accompaning work is the first step toward getting us more comfortable with our bodies and its function. So that might be a great place for your sister-in-law to start.

Unfortunately, the pattern she is repeating probably means that she doesn't even understand it herself--therefore, it might not be that she is "close-minded" but that she doesn't even know. The Vagina Monologues, could be a great first step in her education and hopefully, her daughters, too. I hope that helps - and your niece is so much better off having a caring and concerend aunt like you - good luck



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