All things gynaecological (well some anyway)

When you call yourself the Vagina Museum, one kind of expects you to be a museum that centres women. After all, the vagina is an essential part of the female human’s anatomy (and that of almost all, if not all, female mammals). So it must be a bit of an up-hill struggle to make yourself sound more inclusive, and to appeal to a more edgy audience, with a name like that.  

The museum does its best in this respect, though some have suggested that, if this is what it really wants to do, it might be better if it changed its name to something less female centric. But recently it has attracted a fair amount of ridicule on social media for its, no doubt well-intentioned, if patronising, tweet opining that we should stop talking about non-inclusive ‘women’s health’ and to talk instead about ‘gynaecological health.’

Aside from being harder to spell – it took me three goes – it doesn’t need a Greek scholar, or a gender critical feminist,  to point out that the gynae… word is just a fancy way of saying woman: gynaeco-, meaning relating to women, is from the ancient Greek word, gunaik – woman.

Hence we have:

Gynaecology – that branch of medicine that deals with women’s diseases.

Gynaecocracy – a state governed by a woman or group of women

Gynaeceum – the separate women’s section of a house in Ancient Greece or Rome.

Gynaecoid – resembling a woman.

I could go on, but suffice to say that the museum’s advice is a tad silly, the the words woman / womanly are widely understood, and they are much easier to spell.

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Twitter: @meegrot

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