Vagina is the anatomical word for part of a woman’s reproductive organ. So, why is there still such a reluctance to use it in conversation? This Twitter thread reveals part of the problem.
Dr Jennifer Gunter is a Canadian obstetrician-gynaecologist who regularly writes for the New York Times. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada and of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. And she regularly publicly challenges new women’s health claims.
Basically: she’s at the top of her game, with a new book to prove it.
But there’s a problem. According to Gunter, Twitter won’t let her promote the book because it uses a certain word in the title. This means that the social media platform won’t run the title in any Twitter adverts or promotions.
What is the outrageous title of this contentious book, we hear you ask? Well, it’s called The Vagina Bible.
Yes, that’s right.
In a thread of tweets, Gunter has claimed that the word “vagina” is what blocked the book from being promoted. Although the word isn’t found under the “prohibited content” policies for advertisers, there is a ban on “vulgar, obscene or distasteful” content and “adult sexual content”.
“Just so you know my publisher is not allowed to use the word “vagina” to promote my book on @twitter. The image can have it, but they are not allowed to use “vagina” in the text,” tweeted Gunter. “Dear @jack, Vagina is an anatomical term and not a “dirty” word. Jen”
She continued to explain that this is only applicable to Twitter ads, writing: “This is a @twitter ads things, my publisher @KensingtonBooks is very pro vagina and pro anatomy. But because they can’t write an ad with my book title that @twitter will accept because…VAGINA”
“Our societal inability to say vagina like we say elbow is one reason I insisted on VAGINA in the title. When we’re not allowed to say a word the implication is it’s dirty or shameful. Not being able to buy an ad because of the word vagina for a book about vaginas is ridiculous.”
Followers have responded by writing “vagina” as many times and sharing their views on the issue.
It’s certainly sparked a discussion about how we need to stop using alternative words for vagina in order to normalise it.
A Twitter spokesperson has responded to the tweets, telling AdWeek: “We did not take action on Promoted Tweets from this account because of references to sexual organs as those are permitted within our rules. The rejection of some of the promoted content from the account was due to a combination of human error and violations, including the use of profanity and adult products. We have reinstated the tweets we took down and have informed the account owner of the reasons why we blocked the content that violated our ad policies.”
If anything, we hope that this viral thread has helped to promote the book even more than it would have done via Twitter ads.