Female parts

Female parts: relatively transparent (and stylistically neutral) name for the sexual organs of a female (person, animal, or plant), with male parts as its counterpart. But there’s also a whole world of slangier, more euphemistic, or “cuter” expressions (the effect depending on the context) for this purpose: lady parts, lady bits, girly parts, girly bits, girl parts. And most of these are up for playful manipulations in proper names.

lady parts. The story starts on this blog in my 9/18/14 posting “lady parts”, about this bit of euphemistic slang (note the very restricted range of uses of lady in current English). I noted there that the expression is ambiguous, as between (a) the external parts of the female anatomy and (b) the vagina, and this potetial ambiguity persists in other feale-parts expressions, though it’s probably not important in what follows.

Though the expression hasn’t made it into many dictionaries, it’s of suffient currency in vernacular speech to have been used as the basis for language play, using various senses of parts. Three examples:

(1) LadyParts Automotive Services, a woman-owned and -operated garage in Redwood City CA, now closed (a play on automotive parts)

(2) playing on parts ‘roles in a performance’:

Lady Parts was founded by Katrina Day, a NYC based actor, writer, and director. Initially, Katrina started the blog to catalogue the hilariously bad, heinously sexist casting calls she was reading on a daily basis. But soon, the project evolved to include a series of short comedic webisodes, personal essays from other actors and writers, a video collaboration with Upworthy, and a fair bit of gif-based humor (because why else exist on the Internet?) Since its launch, Lady Parts has grown into a community of young feminists working in all aspects of entertainment, holding each other accountable, and fighting discrimination at every turn.

(3) also playing on performance parts, in the Lady Parts Justice League (with an allusion to the comic-book Justice League of America):

We are a rapid response creative production team, made up of comedy writers, comedians and activists, on call 24/7 to make videos, artistic memes and create national actions that respond instantly to the breaking news surrounding reproductive justice issues. We will within minutes, or hours, blast the perpetrators dispensing damaging information about abortion, crisis pregnancy centers, birth control as well as taking down those who shame and stigmatize women for wanting, having and demanding safe and healthy sex lives on their own terms.

lady bits. Here we have the reference to female parts in a book title:

(#1)

(Doctor of Physical Therapy)

girly parts. Again, plenty of anatomical references, but also Girly Parts, a waxing and skin care business in Dallas TX:

(#2)

They do in fact attend to girly parts.

girly bits. Anatomical references, plus the expression with bits ‘things’in it, as in Girly Bits Cosmetics (“proudly made by hand in Canada”):

(#3)

girl parts. Again, plenty of anatomical references, often mixed with other senses of part:

(1) Girl Parts, a 2010 young adult novel by John M. Cusick, with the premise: “What happens when a robot designed to be a boy’s ideal “companion” develops a will of her own?”

(2) Girl Parts, a tv series (2011- ), with a premise involving performance parts:

Meet former child star Ash Barlow and her three actress roommates. How they all decided to live together is not important. It’s how they haven’t killed each other yet that’s impressive.

(3) At least two bands whose names seem to refer to musical parts: GirlParts, based in Atlanta (YouTube interview and performance here); and Girl Parts, three “nationally-touring singer/songwriters who come together for a few tours a year”:

(#4)

(4) Plus a Whittier CA two-piece punk rock band Girl Parts, Lou Kohokie and Jim “Yaya” Tannenbaum: “For kids who like to drink 40’s and skate.” And, I’d guess, appreciate girl parts in a bro kind of way.

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