Beating around the bush
Thought provoking? Or gross out factor?
If you were in residence over this summer, you may have noticed a very peculiar poster attached to one of the corkboards on your floor.
In a rainbow of colours, a list of 61 different slang terms for vagina was written, followed by the words, “whatever you call it, protect it with pride.”
Most of the euphemisms were new to me, and while I was initially tickled pink (if you’ll excuse the pun) to read the words “tuna dungeon,” I’m now feeling a little conflicted.
The posters are long gone now, but the question remains: Why are we so uncomfortable talking about sex?
Eva Janke-Furman, a second-year visual communications design student at ACAD, who lives in SAIT residence, says that sexual euphemisms can be funny, but that they stem from a serious issue.
“There’s something funny about the juxtaposition between someone having sex and then calling it something like ‘bumping uglies,’” says Janke-Furman.
“But, if you’re going to participate in sex, you should be able to talk about it without having to try to allude to it. And a lot of people can’t do that.”
And because we are so uncomfortable talking about sex, says Janke-Furman, people end up not teaching their children about sex. Then those children grow up, having been taught that learning about sex is taboo, and the whole situation snowballs.
“Now another generation is having unsafe sex because they don’t know any better. People are stupid when they’re uncomfortable or afraid, and it is really screwing things up.”
Perhaps, then, instead of simply reinforcing our insecurities, these posters can serve to poke fun at them. By being shocking and addressing an uncomfortable topic, we open the door to further conversations.
First-year electrical engineering technology student Gazelle Farhady, however, believes the immature, flippant attitude of these posters do not promote a healthy dialogue.
“They shouldn’t be treating a vagina like a joke or a toy. Safe sex is a serious topic, and treating it like a joke makes it seem less serious.”
Farhady also has a point.
While these posters are certainly capable of drumming up a conversation, it isn’t necessarily the kind of conversation that we want to be having.
Almost all of what I heard people discussing when I first found out about these posters, was how obscene some of the terms were.
Instead of opening up a conversation about safe sex, people were laughing about how gross phrases like “meat wallet,” “fur burger” and “fish purse” made them feel.
And, worst of all, by going for shock value, the posters reinforced the idea that sexuality is something that we should be uncomfortable about.
As interested as I would be to see a penis-themed edition of these safe-sex posters next year, it’s more important that we approach this issue with an appropriate strategy.