October 9, 2013 at 12:36 am (gender, simple pleasures)

wow, looking at the comments on http://www.beautifulcervix.com , there is an awful lot of people out there who are completely unnecessarily terrified of their own bodies.

i can’t say i wasn’t one of them. when i first found my cervix, i was worried it was something that wasn’t supposed to be there, and i had nobody useful to ask. that was pretty scary.

what’s inside looks and feels nothing like those cross-section diagrams you get shown once in highschool, then are apparently supposed to remember throughout your life. the ones that show the vagina as something narrow and the cervix as a the end of the womb – nothing but another label, certainly nothing with a distinctive shape or behaviour.

from a quick look at this website, it seems that my embarrassing misunderstanding is very, very common.

at least i never suffered from the other thing that so many are panicking about – cervical fluid. i know i was told about periods, so i didn’t think i was dying when blood first came out. some people aren’t that lucky. maybe my mother mentioned the white stuff too, or maybe i just associated it with the right things myself.

think of the difference it makes to your life whether you had sex ed and that very basic knowledge that blood happens and is natural, or whether you didn’t get that and for years and decades you didn’t know what was happening to you and were afraid to ask.

now think of the difference it would make to your life if you had a useful education where you knew what your insides actually look and feel like – what’s healthy and what’s not, what comes out and when, and you never had to feel ashamed or terrified or ignorant of your own body, relying on (probably male) experts to tell you about it.

i remember talking with a friend about how we should make a zine of vaginas, because very few people who have their own ever see anyone else’s, to understand, to compare, to even know there are differences. it never happened, but something similar recently has.

honi soit, sydney uni’s student publication published a cover with pictures of vaginas on it. there was a big fuss and it was censored, but the cover went out, though there is a black rectangle covering the middle of each picture. the censored version can be found at http://www.honisoit.com/2013/08/honi-soit-week-4-semester-2-2013/  and is discussed by a participant at http://birdeemag.com/thats-my-vaginas-on-honi-soit/ . the uncensored version can be found at https://twitter.com/lucytheriveter/status/370006101078466562/photo/1 . yay for internet archives!

since then, there’s been more: vulvas on display at galleries and in a book: http://www.broadsheet.com.au/melbourne/arts-and-entertainment/article/101-vaginas-display and http://www.101vagina.com/

unashamed depictions of menstrual blood in http://www.theardorous.com/portfolio/there-will-be-blood/

and even more amazingly, in the mainstream: http://www.dailylife.com.au/dl-people/american-apparel-is-selling-a-menstruating-vagina-shirt-20131008-2v51f.html

and the site that prompted this post: http://www.beautifulcervix.com/

edit: and there’s more! performance art on the theme: http://www.iamnotthebabysitter.com/vaginal-knitting/ , coffee table book: http://www.101vagina.com/ , sculpture: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/08/the-great-wall-of-vagina_n_4556309.html


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