Sweden has invented a feminist word for female genitalia

Evan Bartlett@ev_bartlett
Sunday 02 August 2015 14:00
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A sex education agency in Sweden officially endorsed the use of the word "klittra" to describe female masturbation back in June.

The move, following a public vote, was a response to the plethora of colourful words men have to describe their own experience of self-stimulation.

But it's now been revealed that "klittra" isn't the first instance of "feminist language planning" the progressive Scandinavian country has been implementing.

Following the viral success of a Swedish sex education video last year which showed a cartoon penis and vagina dancing around on-screen, Malmo-based journalist Richard Orange has been doing some digging on the origins of the relatively new word "snippa" which is used for female genitalia.

The only options they had were either particularly rude ones like "fitta" and "muff", euphemistic ones like "framstjärt" which means "front bottom" or the formal equivalent of "vagina", Orange reports.

In response, Anna Kosztovics - a social worker credited with its rise across the country - adopted the word "snippa", which is also used for small milk jugs and certain types of boats, in 2006.

It came from a gender equality perspective. Boys have a word for it, and girls don’t, and that made me mad. A friend told me she knew someone who used the word snippa, so I started practising it in front of the mirror.

  • Anna Kosztovics speaking to the Guardian

The word has seen a rapid rise in the vocabulary of Swedes after being promoted in schools and its success is partly cited with its similarity to the male "snopp" - although some Swedish feminists have argued that "fitta" (a term of abuse) should be reclaimed instead.

But Kosztovics said that using a new word was too important to get lost in academic argument.

If there isn’t a word you can easily use, there’s a very big risk that you don’t use any word at all, and that’s a problem.

If there’s one, and only one, part of your body that hasn’t got a name, then people experience that as a taboo.

  • Anna Kosztovics

Maybe it's time we invented a word for English too?

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