As my last post suggests I have FINALLY moved out of my Third Year flat in Sheffield and am back home for the summer. I stress the word finally as the actual process of moving all of my possessions out of my room (being faced with the sheer amount of crap you own is sobering) and cleaning my kitchen and bathroom will only be a peril known to me and Jemma, my flat mate. It was truly an experience I do not wish on any other human being.
Whilst undertaking the lengthy process that was moving all of my rubbish into bags to then unload into my smaller bedroom back home I developed some coping mechanisms to get through. The first was to always have a bucket of tea at hand at any point (tea because I had run out of coffee and it’s the end of the semester so I am now too poor for Starbucks) and listening to podcasts. I am completely in love with ‘The Banging Book Club’ podcasts and videos. The Banging Book Club is led by three twenty- something girls Leena, Lucy and Hannah (who all have really awesome Youtube Channels) and they discuss a book each month. I was back listening to the podcast when I came across their discussion of Eve Enslers ‘The Vagina Monologues’. Despite not reading The Vagina Monologues I have seen some of the pieces performed a couple of years ago. It is a collection of fictionalised monologues based on real life interviews about women and their vaginas. Obviously being the grade A procrastinator that I am, instead of sticking to the task at hand I completely focused on the discussion the girls were having and how it was so reflective of my own feelings and real life interactions with my friends.
Just as a preface, I think the world should be 100% more sex positive and the sex education in this country is rather inept so opening up conversations about how we, as women and society as a whole perceives vaginas and the female body is so crucially important. The fact that we have so many words for the vagina and to talk about it is still taboo is a little bit ridiculous. We live in a world where at least half of the population has one yet we still find it difficult to talk about them. One of the pieces in The Vagina Monologues is called ‘Because he liked to look at it’. The title is pretty self-explanatory but in short the piece is about a women who did not like her vagina until she met a man who was a little bit too enthusiastic about it. This struck such a cord with me because it was so relevant to my own life. I have had so many conversations with friends who have felt self-conscious or ambivalent towards their own anatomy until they had had either a negative or positive reaction from a sexual partner. There is nothing wrong with this at all as long as it is positive and builds you up (like getting a complement on a new dress or perfectly shaped eyebrows) but in a society where we are bombarded with sexualised images of what women should be and porn holding such a bearing on the sexual experiences of many young people, it is easy to see how women can feel so differently about their vagina. I’m not saying that we should all think our vaginas are the most aesthetically beautiful things on the planet (although if you think that, all the power to you) but just to see that it is what it is, it works and is as normal as any other part of your body. I don’t really love my toes but I know they are there to serve a purpose in the same way. I understand that I come from a privileged position to know it’s okay to love it and why it’s not okay to be ashamed about it and if the notion of repulsion or hate that can sometimes be used to describe vaginas is expelled we all might feel a little more loving towards our own. At the very least I thank the feminist gods that more conversations are being had!
I will now go back to packing all my books into boxes…This is why I never get anything productive done!