“Go campaign green premises to big corporations with heavy footprints, and leave my vagina alone,” says the 32-year-old communications professional.
“We still have the culture where you stay a virgin until marriage, so women who haven’t had sex don’t want to put anything in their vagina,” said Jakarta-based gynaecologist Christo Ekapatria.
CHENNAI: The evening started with chants of the word ‘vagina’.
Men and women — even those who admitted to not being comfortable saying the word out loud — lending voices to what has long since been filed under the category of taboo.
For when The Vagina Monologues is in town, you don’t hesitate or hold back, there’s no place for squeamishness or euphemism.
You learn to accept the vagina — the word, its world and the stories it has to tell — in all its musk-scented glory.
And the stories were aplenty — a young victim of abuse finding her sexual awakening and acceptance in the hands of an older woman, the brutal assault of a Bosnian woman by Serbian soldiers, an old woman’s recollection of never-spoken of wet dreams and flooding-prone vagina, a young one finding delight in hers after watching her lover devour the piece of heaven between her thighs.
Working off of the narrative created by American playwright and performer Eve Ensler, these stories were interspersed with hilarious yet hard-hitting commentary on the everyday travails of vaginas like yours and mine.
When they talk about women not having seen their vagina in years, you know how true that can be.
Your vagina has clamped up too in preparation for those dreaded visits to the gynecologist.
And pleasure — the elusive world of pleasure and a vagina-bearer’s much-judged tryst with it makes you want to stand up and scream “me too!”.
One prominent response to “what would your vagina say if it could talk?” was a woman pausing mid-moan to exclaim “don’t stop!”.
Contrary to its name, a vagina quotient isn’t actually something you measure.
The term, which was thought-up by the founders of Bean Flicks – an ethical feminist porn festival that will be hosted in Birmingham next weekend – actually relates to the level of knowledge you have about the vagina.
From periods and menopause, female pleasure and desire, the vagina quotient is all about learning more about women’s sexuality, and by doing so, destigmatising these often taboo topics.
‘The VQ is a play on IQ/EQ, so it’s vagina quotient – basically, it’s a way to up your vagina knowledge,’ Dr Abbott tells us.
‘We’re taught in society that we shouldn’t talk about periods, for instance – they are taboo and dirty.
‘But also menopause in older women – again they get over one taboo and then go straight into another.
Dr Abbott says: ‘If we are going to overcome stigma, taboo, silence, we need everyone to be part of the solution, and the discussion.
And that’s the importance of knowing your V, or better known as the Vagina or Vulva.
It doesn’t help that Vulvas and Vaginas are considered quite the taboo topic in Malaysia.
Many of us tend to refer to the outer and/or overall female genitalia as the “Vagina”.
When in actual fact, the Vagina only refers to the muscular, elastic canal which extends from the cervix to your vulva.
Your weight, blood pressure, urine and/or blood samples as well After taking your family history, menstruation cycle, and so forth, your gynae may run a physical examination to check your pelvis, abdomen, and possibly the external genitalia as well Followed by a bimanual examination to check your inner genitalia, a.k.a the vagina
Vaginal discharge is NORMAL and helps keep your vagina clean
Most of the time, vaginal discharge is normal, so don’t panic! It’s basically your reproductive system’s way of doing the housekeeping.
The fluid from the cervix and vagina helps carry bacteria and dead cells away, preventing possible infections.
After all, Vaginas and Vulvas are more prone to infections compared to male reproductive organs, a.k.a the penis.
Under the umbrella of body dysmorphia, mostly caused by social media and peer pressure, we often hear the term ‘designer vaginas’ which refers to having everything tucked in.
Dr Lakhani added: “The vagina itself is the birth canal so when people talk about designers vaginas, they are talking about the vulva, not the vagina.
“It’s an incredibly misogynistic term because most women aren’t looking for a designer vagina, they’re looking for functional improvement in their intimate health.
It showed that 45% of women could not label the vagina and around half of both genders failed to label the labia .
Tools like the BritSPAG pamphlet ‘What is vagina anyway’ or places like the Vagina Museum and the Great Wall of Vagina in London are made available for women to connect with their body.
Over the next three days, audiences in the Forest Roberts Theatre can expect to hear wild moaning, discussions of pubic hair and lots of talk about vaginas.
“The Vagina Monologues,” sponsored by Voices for Planned Parenthood , is back at NMU for another round of vagina-loving celebrations.
The play is centered around several monologues which all relate to the vagina, be it through rape, menstruation, masturbation, mutilation, birth or orgasm, just to name a few.
But I feel there’s a lot of mystery and taboo about vaginas.
We can talk about breasts but we can’t talk about vaginas.
That makes a lot of women uncomfortable about their vaginas.
“I don’t think keeping so much mystery and cloudy mysticism around the vagina is the ideal way to go about that.”
“What I think separates ‘The Vagina Monologues’ from that is that it never stopped being a social statement, and it never stopped being a story.
Welcome back to V for Vagina with gynaecologist, Dr. Sejal Ajmera.
This is not a taboo or something that needs to suppressed.
Guess what? Sex toys shouldn’t be taboo either! While it is very important to make sure you’re not sharing your toys, being safe, and hygienic, don’t let anybody tell you that masturbation is ‘wrong’ or ‘immoral’.
But that’s about to change on Tuesday night thanks to British photographer Laura Dodsworth, whose project Womanhood is the subject of a new Channel 4 documentary, 100 Vaginas, that tells the stories of women and non-binary people through images of their vulvas.
The fact that her work has been considered revolutionary – a selection of interviews and photographs from Womanhood have already been published in several media outlets to great praise – she says, points to a wider problem with the way female sexuality is framed as taboo in society.
“I’m using a physical taboo to open up a conversation about social and emotional taboos.
The five biggest taboos surrounding female sexuality
Dodsworth’s project comes at a time when the consequences of such taboos seem more relevant than ever.
Pradnya Pisal, consultant gynaecologist at London Gynaecology, explains that the vulva, often confused with the vagina, is the term prescribed to female external genitalia.
The vulva includes the lips surrounding the vagina , the clitoris, and the Bartholin’s glands .
The vagina, on the other hand, is a “tube-like muscular canal leading from the cervix to the external genitalia,” she tells The Independent.
After publication, a man who went by the name of Paul Bullen tweeted the article, writing “the correct word is vagina” in an attempt to correct the reference to the vulva.
“Saying vagina to describe the entire area is just ignorance, but there’s an embarrassment with naming our specific parts.
As viewers will see in the Channel 4 documentary, which has “vaginas” in the title as opposed to “vulvas” so as to use language the public will recognise, examining the photographs of their vulvas up close elicited a range of deep emotional responses from those involved.
100 Vaginas will air on Channel 4 on 19 February.
Following powerful projects normalising penises and breasts, the British artist had decided to destigmatise the “final taboo“.
As a consequence, a recent BBC report revealed that girls as young as nine years old are so distressed about the appearance of their vaginas they are seeking labiaplasty.
It’s done to shorten or reshape the lips of the vagina, which naturally come in a variety of colours and shapes and can measure anywhere between 6-12cm for the labia major and 2-11cm for the labia minor .
In 2017 professor Sarah Creighton, then Chair of the British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology said: “Girls will sometimes come out with comments like, ‘I just hate it, I just want it removed,’ and for a girl to feel that way about any part of her body – especially a part that’s intimate – is very upsetting.”The annual “Vagina Monologues” was performed by the Dickinson Community Players last weekend.
A cast of female characters ranging from all ages and sexual identities was celebrated at the Dickinson Community Players’ rendition of “The Vagina Monologues,” performed this past weekend in the Chenango Champlain Collegiate Center Multipurpose Room.
“The Vagina Monologues” is a 1996 play written by Eve Ensler that discusses vaginas and everything about them through a series of monologues based on real-life interviews with women of various ages, sexualities, races and backgrounds.
The play discusses vagina-related topics like body image, femininity, sexual experiences, rape, female genital mutilation and sexuality.
The Dickinson Community Players perform “The Vagina Monologues” every year during the month of February, and the proceeds from the show go to RISE, a local women’s shelter.
The characters of the play include a 72-year-old woman experiencing an orgasm for the first time, a grown woman struggling to find her clitoris during a “vagina workshop” and a transgender woman embracing her femininity.
Bella Martinez, an actress in the show and a freshman majoring in business administration, said “The Vagina Monologues” brings audiences face-to-face with the uncomfortable topics of women’s health.
“My favorite aspect of the show is that it brings up a very taboo subject in our culture,” Martinez said.
“It forces the audience to feel a bit uncomfortable for a few minutes but that works to help break that taboo feeling down.
I love that ‘The Vagina Monologues’ is all about women empowering other women and encouraging women to take charge and embrace who they are.”
“Being a part of ‘The Vagina Monologues’ was an amazing experience that gave me new confidence in ways I did not know I needed,” Martinez said.
“It felt really powerful to be part of such an amazing show and have the ability to give back to other women in need and help them get to where they need to be.”The orgasm: elusive, taboo, the forbidden fruit of the purveyor’s experience — but what exactly defines it, and how should we define our understanding of it?
For women, it is not spoken of, thought of as taboo and occasionally dismissed as fiction.
“Vaginas are very much stigmatized in our media and stigmatized as we grow up.”
For most of history, the dominant literature about female anatomy and women’s health was written by male scientists and medical professionals, further feeding the myth that the majority of female orgasms are vaginal orgasms — despite the fact that only eight percent of women can orgasm from vaginal penetration alone.
Far from the nondescript bulb it appears to be, the clitoris branches out several inches around the vagina in an extensive array of nerve endings.
For women, is not spoken of, thought of as taboo and occasionally dismissed as fiction.
In his “Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality,” Sigmund Freud wrote that during puberty, the location of female sexual arousal shifts from the clitoris to the vagina, a statement that is patently, scientifically false.
According to Freud, “proper sex” was only experienced through vaginal intercourse, and any woman who preferred clitoral over vaginal stimulation or indulged in any other means of achieving sexual pleasure — including masturbation — ought to be diagnosed as psychotic.
This year, “Our Monologues” moved away from its previous title, “Vagina Monologues,” to promote inclusivity, and bring to the stage the voices of transgender, nonbinary and gender nonconforming individuals as they explore their relationships to gender and sexuality.
It explains that the evolved separation of the clitoris from the vagina is a sign that female orgasms were not reproductively necessary — and therefore not prioritized by society, despite its significance.
Sexual liberation activists advocate a regaining of power over one’s own body through an act even more historically taboo than the end goal itself — masturbation.
Simply put, orgasms stem from an understanding of our own bodies and a broadening of the conversation around sex, breaking down the barriers that make the topic taboo.
Vulvas and vaginas have long been considered a taboo subject matter – a topic to be whispered about quietly, usually while blushing.
But, according to Lynn Enright, author of Vagina: A re-education, this taboo is damaging to women.
Lynn tells us why it is important to overcome the stigma around vaginas, and explains what’s normal down there…
Why have vaginas been such an out of bounds topic for so long? Male genitalia is well documented – in TV, books, and in general culture.
What does a normal vagina look like?
The vagina actually isn’t the correct general term for our intimate area at all.
Our vagina is inside our bodies.
Lynn explains that the vagina is actually, “the muscular tube that leads from the vulva to the uterus.” Most people use the word vagina to describe the visible parts of female genitalia, but this area is actually called the vulva.
She speculates that its lack of popular usage could relate to society’s struggle to address female sexuality, saying, “Female sexuality is just still such a taboo.
We don’t like to talk about except for in relation to male sexuality… The vagina is something that a penis goes into, and a baby comes out of, so we’ve become more comfortable with that word“.
The vulva is all the external genitalia: the pubic mount, the inner and outer labia, the clitoris, the uretheral opening and the vaginal opening, and so on”.
With all the secrecy surrounding vulvas, it’s no surprise that women are wondering “is my vagina normal?”, “should my labia look like that?”.
Lynn revealed, “When you’re looking at your vulva, you’re looking at your clitoris, your inner labia, your outer labia, the vaginal opening, and the uretheral opening.
Labia are the folds at either side of a vagina.
Once again, it all circles back to the taboo surrounding our vulvas.
“Some girls and women will also notice how their labia change over time – the inner labia…might appear different after vaginal childbirth.”
The hymen looks more like a fringe of tissue near the vaginal opening.
While a smell from your vagina is perfectly normal, there are some instances where you should seek the advice of a medical professional.
As with all aspects surrounding our vaginas and vulvas, the main way to tackle the stigma is to talk about them.
Lynn Enright is a journalist and the author of the book, Vagina: A re-education, which is out now.
The world’s first museum dedicated to the vagina is set to open in London‘s Camden Market this November, but it needs public funding.
The Vagina Museum has launched a crowdfunding campaign in order to raise £300,000 to cover the costs of opening.
The purpose of the museum is to de-stigmatise vaginas, vulvas and gynaecological health.
According to the campaign, research has found 65 per cent of 16-25 year olds ‘say they have a problem using the words vagina or vulva‘, and ‘more than 1 in 10 of 16-35 year olds said they found it very hard to talk to their GPs about gynaecological health concerns’.
‘Our top priority is to fight the taboo that surrounds our bodies and provide a place where we can have an open and honest conversation,’ says founder and director Florence Schechter.
‘Museums act as the custodians of history for society and give the public access to their history,’ she added. ‘Vaginas and vulvas have often been relegated to the backs of cupboards by curators because they are commonly deemed too controversial or difficult for the public. ‘
The museum also hopes that by tackling the taboos and talking about vaginal health, more women will attend their cervical screenings.
Donate to the Vagina Museum here
Disco parties, comedy nights, school tours and art exhibitions may be unusual ways to help break the stigma associated with female genitals, but that is exactly what the world’s first vagina museum in London plans to do.
“Just anything and everything that’s taboo with that part of the body is what we’re going to be addressing.
Menstruation is still taboo in many countries.
She added that the museum will be inclusive of all genders because “not everyone who has a vagina is a woman, and not every woman has a vagina“.
The Vagina Museum, due to open in November in central London until a permanent location is decided, also aims to run outreach programs that provide sex education for local communities.
The word “vagina” is either medicalized or sexualized in today’s world, and it’s certainly not a popular term in Silicon Valley.
These testosterone-filled VCs, who happen to handle hundreds of millions of dollars in committed capital, are known for their dislike of the word “vagina“, making it harder for female-first startups to raise money.
In an article I wrote for VentureBeat, I cite three examples in which femtech brands have had their ads banned and removed for using words that relate to the vagina — while ads using terms like “sperm” and “condoms” were left untouched.
New York City-based Lindsay Wynn has decided to bet on the vagina.
The young entrepreneur recently launched Momotaro Apotheca, a 100% organic vaginal wellness brand.
“My vagina was literally in pain.
So I turned myself into a DIY vaginal wellness project and started creating new, 100% natural products.”
“We’re not trying to refresh your vagina.
“A lot of the ingredients in products on the market today are made with cheap, toxic ingredients that are not intended for the vulva or vagina,” said Alvarez in a statement.
These include the Healthy HooHoo gentle wash, Rael’s organic pads and Chakrubs’ Yoni Egg: a small quartz or jade stone that can help improve vaginal health and tone pelvic floor muscles.
Yet, despite progressive advocacy and research around sexual health, there’s one taboo that seems relentless: lube.
Our cultural aversion to it is doing a disservice to people with vaginas.
Contrary to popular belief, vaginas aren’t perpetual slip’n’slides, they can only produce so much natural lubrication, and wetness and arousal aren’t mutually exclusive.
It’s totally normal.” Vaginal lubrication is controlled by your autonomic nervous system, meaning that you can be horny but totally dry, and vice-versa.
Co-founder Tiffany Gaines says they want to help people with vaginas “take control of their wetness”, and make women more comfortable using sexual health products.
HPV can be transmitted through a number of sex acts, which means that any body part involved in sexual intercourse is at risk — including the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis and throat.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates HPV is behind about 90% of anal and cervical cancers, 70% of vaginal and vulvar cancers, 70% of oropharyngeal cancers and 60% of penile cancers.
In 2013, Michael Douglas blamed his tongue cancer on oral sex with women over the decades — suggesting the latent HPV cells in vaginas had traveled to his mouth.
This isn’t about the vulva-shaped soaps and cushions flooding gift shops, or Gwyneth Paltrow and her daft vaginal eggs.
Earlier this year, Channel 4 aired 100 Vaginas, a joyful, taboo-busting documentary in which Laura Dodsworth interviewed 100 women and photographed their vulvas.
This spring, the pop-up Vagina Museum – the first of its kind in the world – opened in Camden, north London, with the hope of breaking the stigma surrounding women’s bodies and sexuality, and has since launched a crowdfunding campaign in order to secure a permanent home.
Hot on the heels of journalist Lynn Enright’s Vagina: A Re-Education, about the shaming women experience in relation to their genitalia, is the release this week of the anti-FGM campaigner Nimko Ali’s What We’re Told Not to Talk About , which highlights the stories of women across cultures and continents related to sex, sexual violence, childbirth, menopause and more.
It’s more than 20 years since The Vagina Monologues, the play by Eve Ensler that told stories of sex, menstruation, rape and childbirth, and Tracey Emin’s period-stained bed.
Meanwhile, women are avoiding cervical smears out of shame; the demand for labiaplasty among teenage girls is rising; and the “vaginal hygiene” business is booming, despite being surplus to requirements .
The text of this article was generated by the Breaking The Silence system that collected 18 news articles posted on the web from January 2019 to September 2020 and clustered for the taboo subjects related to the vagina