This is some serious mansplaining.

By Sam Silverman
February 14, 2019

We all have that one friend who thinks they know everything. They pride themselves on being a walking Wikipedia.

Today, that “friend” is Paul Bullen, a man from Chicago who found himself in a tweetstorm earlier this week with renowned ob-gyn Jennifer Gunter after he attempted to correct a tweet about the definition of the word vulva.

It all started after the British daily newspaper The Guardian posted an article and photo spread entitled, "Me and My Vulva: 100 Women Reveal All." The vulva, of course, is the external part of the female genitalia, which includes the labia, clitoris, urethral opening, and the opening of the vagina.

Bullen, however, thought The Guardian had it wrong. “The correct word is vagina,” he tweeted in reply to the newspaper's post. That's when Dr. Gunter entered the arena. As a women’s health advocate and nationally known ob-gyn with 129K followers on Twitter, she wasted no time clapping back her reply: “Well, actually, no.”

RELATED: 10 Eye-Opening Facts You Actually Didn't Know About Vaginas, Sex, Orgasms, and More

In the ensuing battle, Bullen tweeted back that his point is that "vagina" has two meanings, one narrow definition and another broader one. But Dr. Gunter wasn't having it, and no wonder—since the word vagina refers to the flexible internal canal that starts at the vulva and leads to the cervix and has a distinctly different meaning than vulva. She then accused Bullen of mansplaining to her...sparking a mini-tweetstorm between the two about what it means to mansplain. 

Like Bullen, many men lack knowledge about the female genitals, even though they might think they have it on lock. A 2017 survey of 2,000 adults in the UK found that just 17% of men felt they understood "how the vagina really works." And when shown an anatomical diagram of a woman's private parts, only 50% of men correctly identified the vagina, and 61% of men could not pick out the vulva. (To be fair, 44% of women in the survey couldn't ID the vagina, either.)

Bullen has since deleted his tweets, while Dr. Gunter addressed the episode in a short poem she posted on Valentine's Day.

Regarding the mix-up between the two V words, Dr. Gunter previously said she isn't surprised that both men and women commonly misuse the term “vagina” to refer to the enter genital area. But she feels it's important to use the right words when describing female anatomy. “Apart from just being empowered enough to know what’s what, there are real medical reasons why it’s important to be precise,” she previously told Health.

RELATED: In Today's Sad News, Half of Men (and Almost as Many Women) Don't Know Where the Vagina Is

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