dorsetgirl (dorsetgirl) wrote in linguaphiles,

Meaning of words for female parts - USA

It seems to be impossible to do anything on the internet at the moment without seeing a lot about what's going on in the US, much of it pretty horrifying.

I'm not for a moment disputing that these things are happening, because we saw it here after the Brexit vote too. And it's awful. But one particular example has me very puzzled about word choice.

I wouldn't have been surprised - saddened but not surprised - to hear that there was an outbreak of "grabbing women by the pussy". But apparently what's happening is that girls are "having their vaginas grabbed".

Someone apparently had to pick up their daughter from school yesterday "because a boy grabbed her vagina". The person tweeting this information (@ShaunKing) stated "I have dozens just like this of young girls who had their vaginas grabbed yesterday in the name of Trump".

For context I'm English, aged 50s, and I'm asking: does the word "vagina" mean something different in the US? I mean, to me, it's inside. It's a hole, a cavity, a tunnel, whatever. The birth canal. So to "grab someone's vagina" would involve sticking a hand up there first and then grabbing the side wall. Which would obviously be excruciatingly painful, but keeping to the subject of word choice, it would legally count as rape.

Therefore you'd be describing this action as sexual assault at the least, or rape. Not "grabbing someone's vagina".

So - what does the word "vagina" mean in the US? And is the term "pussy" actually current in the US, or is the orange one just seriously showing his age there? [We have the term "pussy" here, and from Trump's usage I'm assuming for now that we use it in the same way as in the US - there were always a lot of sniggers in "Are You Being Served" whenever Mrs Slocombe talked about her pussy. Lady bits, external. But that was forty years ago.]
Tags: american english, english

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