Ask About Me: How Well Do You Know Your Vagina?
“Down there,” “you know…that,” “womanhood” or “this area” are some of the vague or slang expressions we use when referring to or speaking about our vagina. The sometimes seemingly awkward nature in which we talk about our vaginas gives the impression that it’s some deep, dark, mysterious black hole or something. We are so embarrassed by and disconnected from our vagina that we don’t even associate it as part of our own body. And why is that?
There are many reasons women disassociate themselves from owning the beauty of the vagina, some of which date back to slavery. In addition, the messages we receive from media, family, friends and even ourselves regarding women’s vaginas are not always the most empowering. Not to mention, some are even over-sexualized and downright degrading. Society perpetuates the belief that the vagina is this dirty thing that needs to be cleansed of its filth, as evident by all the feminine hygiene products on the market. There are even cosmetic procedures to “pretty up” the so-called ugly disgusting vagina.
Constantly being inundated with such messages, how does one not hold a shameful view of the vagina? It’s beliefs, attitudes and feelings like these that contribute to the unhealthy behaviors that put women at risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, victimization, abuse, body image issues, unhealthy relationships, mental health challenges and so much more.