“Cock” vs “Down There”

When I ask students what they call a penis and a vagina in everyday words, two responses stand out: “cock” and “down there.”

The difference is telling. Cock: Cocky, proud, boastful, swaggering, self-satisfied. Image of a strutting cock, eh, rooster.

But “down there”? Unspeakable. Embarrassing. Shameful.

Male sexuality is something to brag about, while female sexuality is something to hide.

The difference is reflected in Zestra’s difficulty getting ads on TV for a product that arouses women’s sexuality – while songs of “Viva Viagra” fill the airwaves.

The New York Times reports that TV networks, national cable stations, radio stations, and Web sites like Facebook and WebMD have all resisted airing ads for Zestra. Some agreed to broadcast ads in the early morning when most people are asleep. Some wanted disclaimers: “Not for people under 18.” Most felt that no amount of tweaking could make the ad suitable.

Many stations want to remove the words sex and arousal. Yet “An erection lasting more than four hours” is O.K.?

The manufacturer believes the resistance comes from our culture’s discomfort with women’s sexuality.

Meanwhile, normal processes of the vagina are shrouded in secrecy. Ads for one brand of sanitary napkins simply said, “Modess … Because.” Ok, that was the 70s. But even today women are embarrassed when tampons fall from their purses. Ever hear anyone say they had a “visit from Aunt Flow” when their period started?

Because female sexuality is deemed dirtier, more evil and more unspeakable, insulting slang for the vagina packs a bigger punch than slang for a penis.

Call a man a dick, and you’ve called him an idiot. Dictionary definition of dork: a whale’s penis. So a dork is a giant penis – an even bigger idiot.

But a cunt cuts deeper, moving into deeper disgrace.

Whether “down there” or “cunt,” it’s just degrees of shame.

We think that women will enjoy sex as much as men? In this atmosphere? It’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Georgia Platts

See related post: DO Women Like Sex Less Than Men?

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3 Responses

  1. Half the Middle East, Rush Limbaugh and the organized men of labor are pumped up on Extenz and Viagara. It would hardly be worth taking if women had an equalizer, now would it? Those suicide-bombers giving it up for the 21 virgins? The number 1 users of Viagara are in the middle east. And, really, how can TAMPAX make a connection between gyrating members of the Grambling Marching Band and protection? The mariachi take off

  2. Broadblogs – Thank you for your insightful post as well as highlighting the NYT article (Nightline also covered the story). We are also quite surprised at the resistance to our message “in this day and age” and so appreciate you sharing it with your readers. Due to all the feedback we’re received about the double standard (shock & outrage), we launched a petition for equal advertising rights for women. We’d absolutely love it if you could sign it and share it with your readers so their voices can be heard. http://chn.ge/brDHyM

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