{On the Parenting Post} Stink Box

When I was little, my mother had, like, a million names for my unmentionable. The stand-outs: Pum Pum. Pee Pee. Gina. Stink Box. Down There. I don't think I learned the real name for my lady part until I got to that one Scared Straight health class in the seventh grade the one where they separated the boys from the girls and showed us a really mind-blowing movie about our bodies morphing into boobs and hair in weird places and, if we looked too hard at the really cute boys, big-headed babies. By the time the instructor finished with us, the word vagina was the least of the things I needed to know about myself.

I never really considered what I would call it when I had my own kids not until I got my first baby, Mari, around Nick's mom. She's a nurse. And a vegetarian. And grown. And she believes in calling a spade a spade and a vagina, well, a vagina. I liked her philosophy on it: If you make up names for the baby's private parts but call everything else on her body by its anatomical name, you're telling her there's something wrong with her vagina that it's embarrassing and secretive and not to be discussed with you.

All of this has been on my mind this week after the massive uproar over the Summer’s Eve “Hail To the V” commercials. If the company was looking for us to talk about our vaginas, well, mission accomplished. There's been a whole lot of talk about vaginas in my house lately. But Summer’s Eve loses. Big time.

To read how I’m talking to my daughters about their sexuality, click here to check out my post, “Stink Box,” on the MyBrownBaby page at Parenting.com’s The Parenting Post.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. I went to the other site to read your article! Awesome! I have a 12 year old son, so I won’t get the opportunity to have the mother-daughter discussion.

  2. So agree with you. My parents’ discussions of sex came down to one sentence: Boys keep your pants up; girls keep your dresses down. And forget ever hearing the word penis or vagina ever come out of their mouths. I don’t want to do that to my daughter either so I use actual names when talking about her parts, no matter how awkward it feels. My husband cringes when he hears it, though, but I tell him, I am not going to make our daughter feel uncomfortale with her body. He prefers calling her vagina a “no-no,” which I don’t like, but I allow because I know how uncomfortable he is and it’s hard to get him to change. So we’ll have a case of the dueling names, for now.

  3. Bravo Denene! This post is right on time too, as we have 8 year old breasts sprouting around here 🙂 I will be sitting down with my little one for some early sex ed, because, its time.

  4. I am glad to hear that one of the ads was pulled. This was an epic advertising fail in my mind. And I’m part of their target audience! I really liked this post so I left dual comments – here and there. Thanks again for this.

    My best, Lynn

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