• Sophie Manning

Tootsies versus toes

Updated: Feb 1, 2020

The internet is getting its knickers in a twist about the sex ed sector’s advice to use precise genital language with our children. Must a preschooler be able to label a labia majora? What’s wrong with foo-foo and winkie? Is this anatomical correctness gone mad?


I stand somewhere in the middle. I don’t think there’s that much wrong with a “ladygarden” or a “pee pee” – I just think we need to use “penis”, “vulva” and “vagina” too, at the same time and with just as little shame.


Think of it like tootsies and toes. You wouldn’t teach one without the other, would you?


Friend B: I can’t. I just can’t, alright. I’m not taking my shoes off. I haven’t sorted out my… [points downwards]

Friend A: Your what?

Friend B: My toes.

Friend A: Toes? What the hell are toes?

Friend B: You know… don’t make me say it. Tootsies. Piggies. Foot fingers.

Friend A: Oh right. That is disgusting. Do not let my mum hear you saying the word “toes”. So go and get a pedicure then.

Friend B: Uh – no way! Only sluts get pedicures. There is no way I’m showing a stranger my tootsies.

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