If asked, could you describe your own vagina?
Yeah, me either. That is until a few weeks ago.
I got curious when I saw a video about how a photographer asked to photograph women's vaginas like, REAL close up, but very clearly depicted. She then showed each woman the photos of her own vagina. Most of the women were surprised by the images. They didn't recognize themselves.
Not only were they surprised, they were disappointed. When asked to describe what they saw, every. single. woman. used negative adjectives to describe her own vagina.
HER VAGINA. Her life-giver. Her pleasure zone. Her health hub.
They didn't have any clue how they looked down there, and when they saw it they didn't like it.
There are a few things about this that made me sad.
First and foremost, I was saddened by the fact that girls aren't taught that there isn't just one way to be beautiful. If we're lucky, we're told we're pretty by people who love and care about us, but this is rarely accompanied by the explanation that everyone looks different, and everyone is beautiful in different ways.
This is especially true about more personal areas of the body. No one tells you that everyone's boobs and nipples are different or that butts are shaped differently. And certainly no one tells you that every vagina is unique.
I come from a pretty encouraging, body-positive household, but there was never talk of this genital diversity. So I can't imagine that it was happening in very many households at all.
And that breaks my heart.
Look, I know it's an uncomfortable thought, talking to your friends and daughters about what your vaginas look like, but this has to change. It might FEEL weird at first, but I assure you it isn't actually a weird thing to talk about. Talking about this stuff with the age-appropriate ladies in your life doesn't make you a weirdo; it makes you a fucking hero!
But you have to know about yours first.
Maybe if I tell you about my first date with my vagina, you'll feel more inclined to start learning and sharing.
My fiancé was at work. I was working from home when I came upon the video that started it all. I felt embarrassed that as a 30 year old sex-positive, BOUDOIR photographer and champion of TMI, I wouldn't recognize my vag any more than the women in the video recognized theirs.
So. I got to work. I grabbed a compact mirror I'd recently been gifted that ironically shouts in red glitter, "BE-YOU-TIFUL!" I took off my sweatpants (don't judge me; i work from home) and Target undies and sat on the floor.
I'm not going to lie to you; it took a few deeps breaths, lots of giggling, he-be-je-bee-shaking off, and several tries to look into the mirror longer than 3 seconds at a time, and that first date, I think I only reached 5 or so seconds before I got weirded out and clapped the mirror closed. It was when you run into someone and you try to get out of each other's way but go the same way-awkward. We didn't talk much, I was glad when it was over, and I still don't know a lot about her.
But I definitely wanted a second date.
So, here's your challenge for the week, ladies. (Significant others of women, if you're reading this, encourage your lady to give this a shot. Tell her you want her to see what you see.)
Go on your first date with your vagina. It might not even last a full minute, and that's okay. Just introduce yourself. Take a look. Don't be too hard on yourself--or your date. Be forgiving and open minded. See if you want a second date.
The only way to prevent future generations of women hating on what can only be described as their magical genitalia is to start the conversation now.
Next week we'll talk about ways to start that chat.