If you haven’t figured it out already, your role as a parent includes keeping your daughter off the pole, which requires setting standards of how she should expect to be treated by others, as well as explaining her anatomy to her. As much of a free spirit as I am about sexuality and femininity, I found the latter to be one of the more difficult lessons for me to relay to my 4-year-old. It all started when she was 3, and stopped wearing diapers. I was so proud of myself. Potty-training– DONE. The next thing I know, we’re watching cartoons and I see her chubby little toddler fingers exploring her nether regions. I mean, you can’t blame her– she’d never had access to that part of her body back in diaper-land. Undies offer a freedom that I had to teach her to respect.
“What are you doing, pumpkin?” “I’m touching my privacy,” she says matter-of-factly in her high-pitched little voice. (That’s what she called her private parts at the time.) I had no idea what to do. How was I supposed to teach her that it’s not socially acceptable to finger herself in the presence of others without making her feel ashamed? Knowing your body and the eventual art of masturbation are healthy parts of life, but not in front of your Mom. NOT IN FRONT OF YOUR MOM. Luckily, my fellow mom-boss Holly was there, and she’d already traversed this scary frontier with her two boys. “Bathroom or bedroom, bathroom or bedroom,” she whispered to me hurriedly, so that the madness would end. It was at that point that I realized I needed to have some answers ready… coming up with them in the moment was not an option.
And she’s going to have a lot of questions, your daughter… and you better have the answers ready that you want settled into the little “sex corner” of her mind. Otherwise, our fucked up world has answers ready and waiting, and they’re not the answers that will give your daughter a long and happy life with a satisfying and self-respecting relationship with her body, or with other people’s bodies. Like these “pole-dancing parties”. And I’m not talking about for adults, I’m talking about the ones that 12-year-olds are currently doing for their birthdays. Or the “rainbow parties” that involve junior highers, a line of girls with different colors of lipstick on, and a line of little dudes who, in my opinion, have years of work to do to earn that kind of love from a woman.
Mark my words: My. Daughters. Aren’t. Gonna. Do. That. Shit.
So here is what I’ve learned. It’s okay to shake your booty with your daughter while you listen to LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It”. It’s NOT okay to let them watch the video, and not just because it is not attractive when a guy can only lift ten pounds, or when groups of guys have penis-wiggling contests in bars. Also, it is not okay to let her say “shake my hot booty” (because she should not at the age of 4 know what “hot” means in that context). And when the word “sexy” pops up in the verse, tell her she can’t sing that word because, while sexy is not a bad word, it is a grown-up word.
When you explain her lady parts, don’t use words that have negative connotations that might invoke a sense of shame for having a vagina. Like “naughty” or “no-no”. Because the world is telling her that it’s a dirty, wicked thing. And it is NOT. The world is also telling her that, if she has a vagina, that she is dumber than her penis-bearing counterparts, and that she shouldn’t hold positions of power, authority, decision-making, strategizing, or influence. I find it’s simplest to use the technical term, but then apply a nice little word for her everyday use. Like “bottom”, or “private parts.” A nice little analogy to help your daughter understand what private means can be found in Where the Wild Things Grow, where the kid has a private boat. The boat is JUST HIS. And people have to ask nicely before they can ride in the boat, and he’s allowed to say no to anyone who wants to ride in the boat if he doesn’t want them to. And if people insist on riding in the boat after he says no, then it is more than acceptable to kick that person’s ass so they think twice the next time they feel like riding in whatever boat they fucking want to.
Also, try to avoid using the following terms to refer to her vagina:
Penis glove, cock sock, cock pocket, cum dumpster, sperm bottle, goop chute, love rug, poontang, poonanie, cooch, vertical bacon sandwich, bearded clam, meat curtains, hatchet wound, fur burger, front bottom, kebab, minge, snapper, catfish, love canal, the cum dump, chocha, black hole, sperm sucker, fish sandwich, cock warmer, whisker biscuit, deep socket, cum craver, cock squeezer, slice of heaven, flesh cavern, glory hole, man in the boat, DNA dumpster, tuna town, split dick, bikini bizkit, cock holster, cockpit, snooch, poody tat, cold cut combo, furry furnace, slop hole, nether lips, serpent socket, hairy doughnut, fun hatch, spasm chasm, bacon hole, belly entrance, sugar basin, sweet briar, breakfast of champions, wookie, fish mitten, fuck pocket, hump hole, Republic of Labia, fetus flaps, sausage wallet, Yo Yo Smuggler, Ninja Boot, Chia Hole, Furrogi (Poland), Fortune Nookie, Calamari Cockring, Displabia, Bluntfrunt, moneymaker, The Helmut Hide-A-Way, toolshed, snake charmer, Furby, Enchilada of love, queef quarters, cream canal, punash, salami garage, slurpee machine, pink cookie, penalty box, meat crease, pole hole, one-eyed python trail, bubble gum by the bum, horn of plenty, the indoor picnic, hamper of goodies, the welcome opponent, devil’s hole, pooswaa, south mouth, Lawrence of A Labia, ponchita,The Notorious V.A.G., baby oven, penis parking, cooter muffin, the promised land, cha cha, the virginator, scrumpter, cucumber canal, dick dungeon, cock curator, nice slice, weiner wrap, pachinko, fuck donut, the unmentionable, jaws of life, love cave, Indiana bones and the temple of poon, or pushin cushion.
If she, upon maturing, and from a place of self-awareness and long-established self-respect, decides to adopt any of those terms (really more because some of them are funny) then so be it.
A good one: Holie of Holies. Brought to you by the man who explained to me that, if a man wasn’t crazy about me, then he wasn’t fucking worth it. And that’s truth, people.