Date of Award

Spring 1993

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

Anita Fellman

Committee Member

Barbara Winstead

Committee Member

Janet M. Bing

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H85H45


Previous studies have indicated that, in our culture, female genitalia are unlabeled, mis-labeled, and/or negatively labeled, while male genitalia are not.

Twenty-five mothers of young children were interviewed to determine what labels they were teaching their children for sexual body parts. The women later met in small groups to discuss the i r reactions to a soft-sculpture of female genitalia.

The study found that twice as many male children were taught common designations for their own genitalia than were female children. In addition, a greater proportion of female children were given a label for male genitalia, than male children were given for female genitalia. Discussion of the soft-sculpture indicated the women were more comfortable discussing male genitalia than female.

The failure to label, or provision of unique labels for genitalia, discourages discussion, prevents the pursuit of accurate information, and hinders communication and exploration of female sexuality by females.


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