So, you have a vagina...
Let’s just get it out of the way, say it with me, VAH-JINE-AH!!!
Vagina's are completely natural (and even necessary!) but how often do you actually hear the word? Not a lot, because we try so hard to avoid saying it. At my house, you hear it quite a bit. I believe in normalising bodies for my girls. I worry that if we can’t even name our own parts, they are going to think that their vaginas are weird and taboo, which they’re not.
Until I was brave enough to look at my own vagina in the mirror (I was at least 20…) the only vagina I had ever seen (well technically vulva – look, another scary V word!) was a line drawing in my biology book at high school. It was all clean space and smooth lines – like this one.
You can imagine my horror then, when upon looking at my own vagina, it looked more like something I once got stuck on the bottom of my shoe tangled up in a ball of wool - disturbing. This got me thinking, is my vagina normal? Do I need to go on some weird makeover show where they give your girly parts an overhaul? My vagina looked nothing like the white bleached hairless one I had once seen in a porno, was that one normal? My squishy pink version seemed remarkably un-glamorous and not at all the man trap I thought It was supposed to be.
A few years later when I was living in the UK, I saw an amazing documentary about the female body. The presenter visited an artist who was making plaster depictions of vaginas to show how different and beautiful they all are. He called it, 'The Great Wall of Vagina' - nice. Well, they certainly were all different (beautiful is perhaps an overstatement, I am sticking with squishy as my adjective of choice). But I didn't see one I’d rather replace my own with, so I concluded that I was probably doing alright in the world of vaginas. Maybe my vagina was even in the popular group and had it’s own trendy nickname, who knows?
You can click through and see the amazing 'The Great Wall of Vagina' sculptures made by Jamie McCartney here: http://www.greatwallofvagina.co.uk/images
No one is going to force you to look, but I promise it is tasteful and you will be surprised how different vaginas are from one another. Show your teenagers! Girls need to know they are normal, and it wouldn't kill your sons to know what to expect.
Women alter their vulvas in all sorts of ways these days; they wax them, pierce them and sometimes even bleach them (I am crossing my legs in horror!). Gwyneth Paltrow steam cleans hers - I think if I was her vagina I would be requesting to be consciously uncoupled. Then you have the extreme option which is to have your inner and outer labia surgically altered by having a labiaplasty. I am not at all criticising women that have to have such a procedure for medical purposes, merely pointing out that if you are doing it voluntarily, maybe you need to have a long look at ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’ before you decide to iron out your wrinkly bits. Also FYI, your sexual partner will be so happy to get an opportunity to be near your vagina, they don't care what it looks like!
Vaginas (sigh, vulvas) are great and normal and useful. They are also wrinkly and pink and weird looking. But still great. Say it with me VAH-JINE-AH!
Until next time,
Be you, wear the jewels - or hell, get vajazzled if that's your thing!