It’s 2019, Why Are We So Afraid to Talk About Our Vaginas?
I imagine where historical feminists and reproductive advocates thought we would be in 2019. I’m sure they didn’t picture us fighting for control over our reproductive health and still unable to utter the word Vagina.
Leona Chalmers patented the first menstrual cup circa 1937 (1) however these toxin-free reusable menstrual devices only picked up in popularity as of late with a major period brand, Tampax, releasing the Tampax Cup. Do you think she thought it would take this long for menstrual cups to go mainstream?
I was sitting with a good friend, in a common scenario, talking about menstrual cups. I was giving her a bit on the importance of cervix height when picking a menstrual cup and I was taken back when she said: “I don’t think I can touch my down there to measure it.”
It’s your vagina. Touch it. Look at it. Get to know your body.
How have we become a society of people who can’t talk about an important body part out loud, in regular conversation in ways that would benefit our own health and the health and well-being of others?
Why in 2019 are we so afraid to talk about our Vaginas?
I often wonder: With more than half of the people in this world being born with a vagina, why is it that we talk about our vaginas, our vaginal health and menstruation like it’s some big secret.
“Your lady parts.” I can hear my Mother whispering in the background. “Don’t let your brothers see your pads.”
As if menstruation is some giant secret we have kept hidden from our penis owning counterparts for all these years.
As if the world would collapse in on itself if people started talking about their Vagina in everyday conversations.
As if the level of uncomfortableness would reach some catastrophic level if suddenly, we all talked about our vaginas and our health as if they were normal, non-stigmatized normal things.
The look on the faces of a line of people at Walgreens said it all.
My 4-year-old struck up a conversation with an elderly gentleman behind us in the pharmacy line at Walgreens and after mentioning his brothers…he got this look of awe on his face. He turned back around and yelled, “Hey, do you know that babies come out of vaginas?”
The look of utter shock and horror on the faces of those waiting in line said it all. It’s 2019 and we still can’t say Vagina out loud.
When we got into the car I told him that some people see the word vagina much in the same way they do a curse word. To which he replied: “It’s not a curse word Mom, it’s a body part like my arm.”
“You’re so smart,” I said.
And that’s the truth. It’s a body part.
Having a website with Vagina in the title.
When I first opened this website I thought for a long time about what I would call it. I wondered if “Vagina” was too strong a word to use in everyday type. I wondered if it would deter some people from visiting and reading the content of this website and I tossed around other names that equaled Green Vagina.
I thought, why beat around the bush…pun intended.
Vagina Vagina Vagina Vagina Vagina.
There I said it. Now you try.
Every so often someone tells me I should change this website’s name and I brush off that moment of doubt and see it as an opportunity to educate and normalize.
When the majority of the population both has a vagina and refuses to talk about it’s existence, health and function in daily life there are consequences.
The truth is that talking frankly about our anatomy reduces abuse, gives us more power and control and reduces the rates of molestation in children. Start early, be honest and even if it makes you uncomfortable the benefits outweigh your temporary moment of embarrassment.
“There are several reasons it’s important for young children to learn the anatomically correct terms for their genitals, Dr. Wurtele said. Knowing the terminology may make children less vulnerable to sexual abuse; prospective offenders may understand that children who are comfortable with the right names for body parts are children whose parents are willing to discuss these subjects, and children who probably will have been told about the kinds of touching that are not O.K.” (2)
I firmly believe that this statement applies to young persons and adults as well.
So, for the new year perhaps we should shrug off resolutions involving things we won’t end up doing anyway and make an effort to say vagina once a day in everyday conversation.
(Pinterest image below)