Get It Poppin’: Would You Throw A Vagina Party for Your Friends?
I lead a lesson on female reproductive anatomy to a class of 9th grade girls the other day. As we stared against two dry erase sheets hung on the wall of the school library in between graphic novels and biographies, I asked the young women where they would like to begin, “Internal or external anatomy?” Of course they chose the “cow’s head” the reason being that it was a part of reproductive anatomy that they weren’t used to seeing and of more importantly because it looked so “complicated”.
Although I’ve had my reproductive organs for 33 years now, like many women there’s a fleeting unfamiliarity that can come with your feminine parts no matter how much masturbating, menstruating and baby making these organs may have been involved with. As I spoke to the girls in the class that day about how their cervix is supposed to resemble a “fleshy pink donut sort of like this” referring to my closed fist, it reminded me of a YourTango article I had come across a few weeks before entitled, “I Threw A Party To Find Out What My Friends’ Vaginas Looked Like”.
Now don’t go jumping to conclusions just yet. The post wasn’t some lesbi-honest account of some flower child’s journey down the brick road of sexual orientation before clicking her Birkenstocks to get back home nor was it a preview of a Bang Bros.-esque sorority sleepover scene in a film aptly titled “Pi Ate A Pu**y Part 2”. The piece actually centered on self-discovery, body image and a lesson that never gets old: Despite what any fashion runaway or Instagram model’s profile pic may say, our bodies are all beautiful in their own special way. The piece, written by blogger, Monica Bielanko and initially featured on her blog, The Girl Who talks about the totally honest conversations she and a few friends once had about their anatomy. The conversations compared the diversity of vaginas resembling everything from “rose petals to roast beef” and the insecurity that can come with achieving the perfect vulva. Bielanko recalls a time when the pressure to be beautiful down below even began to hinder her sex life:
“Thus began what I refer to as ‘The Roast Beef Years.’ Years I couldn’t orgasm from oral sex. Instead of losing myself in ecstasy I would imagine each valiant man who attempted as munching roast beef. Eventually, marijuana and liquor helped ease my insecurity and I achieved an oral orgasm.”
Years later liquor also helped break down some walls between her and a few close friends as they also revealed their own insecurities to the point where they ended up ditching a dinner party to get a closer peek at each other’s privates simple for the sake of education and empowerment. The girls took turns lifting up their skirts while comparing their anatomy to various menu items and deciding which ones males were attracted to the most.
As I learned in the high school library that day the pressure to have a “pretty kitty” starts young. As the girls filed into the library that day, excited because the “condom lady” had come to visit, the first thing they giggled about when seeing a picture of open thighs on the wall was, “Dang, her thing is fat. That’s how it should be right?” That comment was only followed by many more including the idea that “loose pu**y” comes from being promiscuous and my reality check of the fact that all vaginas are elastic and that’s a good thing. I mean in addition to accommodating penis sizes, vaginas are responsible for bringing whole human bodies in the world. They better have a little give to them.
I won’t be planning a pu**y party for me and my girls anytime soon, but the story did make me appreciate the candid conversations I’m able to have with my BFF’s about our own insecurities. After recently having babies, my BFF and I recently found ourselves bonding over “black bellies”, stretch marks, and battered immune systems:
“Girl I can’t shake this case of athlete’s foot since having mine. This kid just stole all my body’s damn defenses.”
“I know that’s right. I just need to get rid of this belly so I can at least see my vagina again to have some sex. Other than that, my shape is doing the damn thing.”
Conversations like the one Bielanko shared with her friends and also the ones I’ve had with mine made me think of how much we take our bodies for granted. I can’t remember a time since middle school when I wasn’t happy with the way I looked or even how my body functioned. After having a child, I realize that although most days I can still inhale a Chic-Fil-A meal without my metabolism missing a beat, the “snap back” isn’t cracking as hard as it used to. Suddenly these women using hand mirrors to get to know the in’s and out’s of their anatomy didn’t seem so strange, because as women it’s all too easy for our bodies to become as Gotye might say, “somebody that I used to know”. How often do we spend trying to break down the bodies of celebs like Nicki Minaj and Kim Kardashian to the perfect anatomy algorithm not realizing that we’re bringing quite a bit of beauty to the equation as well. How often have I found my libido being affected by my worry that my husband has some kind of issue with uneven vaginal lips or a c-section scar that sometimes look like I was a survivor in some Texas Chainsaw Massacre type movie? And how many times has he had to remind me that as a man, when it comes to having sex, the last thing he’s worried about is a stretch mark, a satin bonnet or set of asymmetrical labia majora?
You may not need to play a game of show and tell with your girlfriends in order to get comfortable with your own, but I think if we can take away any favors from Bielanko’s vagina party is that when it comes to your own pu**y platter, instead of worrying if our vaginal lips are flapping like Wendy Williams on a good gossip day, maybe we should just accept our vaginas for rose petals, roast beef or whatever meal our body is serving. Because the truth is as long as you have a tight relationship with your girly parts that involves keeping them clean and healthy and accepting for what they are, most men will be happy just to be getting a plate.
Toya Sharee is a community health educator and parenting education coordinator who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee or visit her blog, Bullets and Blessings.
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