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Living / Eva Caiden

Why The New Campaign To Legalise The Word ‘Vagina’ Matters

Last week a new public health awareness campaign launched in America with a very simple aim: to normalise the word ‘vagina’.

The Legalize V campaign was supported by a video featuring successful female business leaders including gynaecologists and CEOs of companies focussing on women’s sexual and reproductive health.

In the video (which is funny AF btw) women question why the word ‘vagina’ is censored in society, while poking fun at the stupidity of the situation. They say,  “We can’t say the word ‘vagina’, but we can say things like ‘va-jay-jay’, ‘cooch’, ‘punani’?” Well, indeed.

We don’t just need to change the word on the streets. One particularly powerful example of why the campaign is needed involves an American politician being stopped from speaking in the House of Representatives after her use of the word. In 2012,  a former Democratic state representative, Lisa Brown, was banned from speaking on the floor after her speech protesting against proposed abortion bills included the word ‘vagina’.

That’s right; she was prevented from exercising her right to speak on behalf of her constituents for using the anatomically correct word for a body part that 52% of the population has. Go figure.

That’s in addition to a recent survey by the Eve Appeal, which found that just 35% of UK women could correctly name different parts of their reproductive organs – leading to a lack of awareness about their own bodies and a reluctance to talk about them openly. 

You can read about even more reasons here.

The Legalize V campaign seeks to change this by asking supporters to talk, share and ultimately sign a petition with the aim of meeting Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and other public figures to raise the issue.

But even though the video didn’t use the word ‘vagina’ on purpose, when they tried to run it as an ad, it was taken down by Facebook for – the irony – using ‘profane language’.

Campaigners said they received the following message: “Your ad wasn’t approved because the video used in the ad has profane language. Such ads may offend users and lead to high negative sentiment. The language of the ad should be focused on the product and not users. You can recreate your post with these guidelines in mind and try to boost it again. If you used ad creation, you can edit it in your Ads Manager.”

What do you think about the issue? Will you be supporting the campaign? Let us know in the comments.

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