I read Fifty Shades of Grey because I wanted to see what all the fuss is about, and I hoped I might be titillated. The book didn’t excite me, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. The trilogy is written by a woman for women, and what excites some women doesn’t necessarily excite some men. I also hoped to learn something about the way at least some women really think. What I learned was disappointing. Specifically, if Anastasia Steele (the protagonist) is any indication, some women don’t know what to call their genitalia. Whenever the alpha-male love interest Christian Grey puts his hand or tongue into Anastasia’s nether region, she refers to it as simply “down there” or “my sex.” How lame! Now, Anastasia is a bit lame herself, modeled on Twilight’s Bella, but in her own mental monologue I’d expect her to have a better name for it than “down there” or “my sex.”
But perhaps I shouldn’t have expected more. What should she call it? Certainly not her “vagina.” The word is too clinical, “That’s definitely a word that a man came up with,” as one female friend said to me. Maybe, but the word still seems to make some male politicians queasy. In Anastasia’s defense, she does sometimes refer to her “clitoris.” But “clitoris” sounds pretty clinical too. Why not just call it her “clit”? That’s what a guy would call it. And of course guys would have no shortage of words for her vagina, such as p*ssy and c*nt. But despite efforts by some feminists to take back the word c*nt, the word seems much too vulgar to many women.