Children's books accused of being vague about girls' genitals

Caroline Allen
Contributor
The books have been criticised for using the word "willy" but not using the female equivalent. [Photo: Amazon]

children’s book has been criticised on social media for using the term “willy” in its book aimed at boys but failing to use the equivalent vernacular to describe a girl’s vagina.

The now viral tweet by journalist, Rosemary Bennett said: “Girls’ genitals considered so mysterious they don’t even have a name in these new books.”

It brought to light a disparity in the way adults use the term “penis” or “willy” compared to “vagina” or “vulva”.

Many parents describe a girl’s vagina as a “hoo ha” or a “mini moo”.

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Rosemary Bennett argued that by not using the word “vulva”, the author implied it wasn’t suitable for the front cover of the book, giving impetus to the gap between the two genders.

Although the book isn’t released until 31st October, one Twitter user jumped to the defence of the author: “I had an advance copy of the book to review, if you read it, it is full of the correct anatomical terms and as this thread shows, there’s a plethora of words for vag compared to willy... hence the need for the book.”

A lot of people argued that there’s no equivalent colloquial term - like “willy” for the vagina.

One tweet read: “It's true though, there's no socially-acceptable, conventionally-used colloquial term for female genitalia in the English language... Which is a problem I think.”

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Ruby Tuesday Books asked people “not to judge their book by its cover”.

“Far from skirting around the subject (pun intended), the book's title was carefully chosen for the exact purpose of highlighting the confusion around the terminology for female genitalia.”

For further context, the publisher of children’s books shared a page from inside, which highlights the use of the word “vulva” along with an explanation of what it means.

This appeased some scepticism, but many people were still surprised at the way the male version of the book gave boys ownership by using the term “my willy”.

One woman said that “What’s down there?” would appear as a “random horror for girls”.

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