Friday, March 02, 2007

What's in a Name?

The Atlantic Theater in the Jacksonville, Fla., suburb of Atlantic Beach planned to stage several dramas this winter, including Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues," but following an undisclosed number of complaints from parents who said they were uncomfortable seeing that title, management changed its marquee to "The Hoohaa Monologues." (The change lasted one day, until management realized it was barred by contract from calling the play by another name.) [WJXT-TV (Jacksonville), 2-6-07, 2-8-07]

So I ask you: does changing the name on the marquee make it seem all that different? Vagina is actually the correct anatomical name, is it not? By calling it a "hoohaa" were they helping the parents any? Imagine the scenario: a family is driving down the street, children in the back seat and all of a sudden Dad hears some tittering coming from behind him. Either he has seen or heard about the marquee before and he instinctively knows what the fuss is about, or he remains blissfully ignorant. No self-respecting pre-adolescent or teenager I know is going to confess that they were laughing because they just saw the word 'vagina' in lights. Alternately, the child(ren) are comfortable enough discussing tricky issues with their parents that they inquire as to the substance of the show itself. Big deal.

Now, for those children who haven't yet discovered the slang word 'hoohaa', wouldn't it be more embarrassing for the parents to have to explain what kind of show "The Hoohaa Monologues" might be? Honestly!

Eve was two and a half when she noticed her vagina in the tub and thought to ask what it was. I will admit I was a bit taken aback and surrendered to many cycles of wild-firing neurons in my brain before I decided the simplest answer was best.

"That's called a vagina." She didn't ask any follow up questions and I was pleased that I hadn't inundated her with too much information. I also felt good to have given her the actual scientific name for that part of her body. God knows she'll learn all of the strange nicknames it has someday, but for now I wanted to avoid confusion.

The following morning we were off to her toddler group. As we drove through the wet streets, Eve bounced in her car seat behind me, hardly able to stand the wait. She loved the art and music portions of the class best and was hoping to get there early enough to find a seat next to her friend Alexander.

As we entered the building her head swiveled back and forth, searching. At last, she saw him in the back of the room washing his hands. There were small groups of mothers and their children between her and the sink, and she took off running toward Alex.

"Hey, Alex!" she was using her outside voice in her excitement. "Guess what?  I have a hergina! Do you have one, too?" Glad I didn't call it something else...

10 comments:

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Great story - and great that you're spreading the word that vagina is not a nasty word, or thing! Quite the opposite! Proud of you - take an A!

Jenny Rough said...

Ha ha ha - this is so funny!

Scott from Oregon said...

Yeah, I went back to calling it a vagina and people think I am sort of edgy for it. OH BROTHER!

I had a Japanese girlfriend who called it her Va ghee Na. I never told her the G was soft...

Michelle O'Neil said...

I like "HERgina." It has a feminist ring to it.

Kim Meisner said...

I am flabbergasted by the fact that they thought hoohaa was preferable and plastered it on the billboard! Wow...

Catbird Scout said...

Thank you for making me laugh. I am so in love with your daughters!

Jerri said...

This is great, Kari, start to finish.

Like Kim, I'm amazed they thought hooha was any kind of improvement.

Hergina? Now, that's one for the books. I kind of like its feminist overtones.

Out of the mouths of babes. And very good writers.

Monica Holloway said...

I'm amazed that I've never heard or thought of "hergina." Your daughter's wise beyond her years. I love it!

Suzy said...

I'm amazed I haven't heard of HooHah!

Miss Devylish said...

First of all.. that town pisses me off doing that. By making a huge issue of it, they brought more attn to something they wanted to downplay. And they also need to realize it's not something to be ashamed of. It's a body part. Trying to change it continues on the road of making us all ashamed of our bodies and I'm so tired of that. When will they learn? Get over it already.

Second.. ha! That is supercute of E. I'm still wondering what Alexander said. ;)

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