“Down there,” “you know… that,” “it,” “or “this area,” some of the vague expressions we use when referring to or speaking about our vulvas. The sometimes seemingly awkward nature in which we talk about our vulvas, gives the impression that it’s some deep, dark, mysterious black hole or something. We are so embarrassed by and disconnected from our vulvas that that we don’t even associate it part of our own body. And why is that?
There are many reasons women disassociate themselves from owning the beauty of the vulva; some of which date back to slavery. In addition the messages we receive from media, family, friends and even ourselves regarding women’s vulvas, are not always the most empowering. Not to mention, some are even over sexualized and downright degrading. Society perpetuates the belief that the vulva is this dirty thing that needs to be cleansed of its filth, as evident by all the feminine hygiene products on the market. Constantly being inundated with such messages, how does one not hold a shameful view of the vulva? 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 and so much more.
When was the last time we grab a mirror and looked at our vulva; touching and exploring its delicate and intricate folds? How many times have we actually taken the opportunity to get to know our vulva? If you could have a conversation with your vulva, what would she say? Would it be a reunion between happy old friends or a bittersweet greeting of strangers on the street? Would she embrace you with a hug or be like girl......... where have you been all this time? Would you have to open up the windows to air out the room? Perhaps she’d limp into the room itching, scratching, burning and coughing sick; expecting a few apologies because you abused her feminine power? Or maybe she’d just burst into tears because you constantly dogged her out. If another one of your friends happened to walk in on the conversation, would you be embarrassed to introduce her? Or would you be proud of her power and beauty? If asked the question, could she honestly say you took good care of her all these years? Or would she be ashamed of the fear, stigma and judgment from others which caused you to disassociate yourself from her?
It’s time for a shift. We must begin to break those negative intergenerational patterns that contribute to a lack of esteem when it comes to our genitalia. Just as no two women are alike, no two vulvas are alike; they are just as unique as each of us! It’s important to become intimately acquainted with our vulva. Not just the correct terminology and function but also understanding the power our vulva possess. We need to learn to value, embrace, honor and celebrate all of our womanhood. For our vulva is the door of life and also a means of providing pleasure, how could we not respect its power, purpose and beauty!