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Women's Bits

The study was conducted by women’s cancer research group The Eve Appeal to promote Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month. They say the results point to a potentially dangerous ignorance among young women about their own sexual and reproductive health. My personal concerns about the findings tend less to the medical ramifications and more to the sociopolitical implications, which can be summed up thusly: What the, SERIOUSLY??! I asked The Eve Appeal for their best guess as to how such a thing could happen. “We don’t feel it’s appropriate for us to speculate on the reasons behind young women’s lack of knowledge around gynecological health,” a representative told me. But I have no such qualms. So let’s speculate: I’ll grant that cartoony illustrations of the female reproductive system can look, as one of my male friends said, like a “headless alien pulling out its eyeballs from under its armpits.” Yep. I totally see that. And I’ll allow that young women may be less likely to have borne children and thus have not flipped through What to Expect books, which indelibly illustrate the whole egg-meets-sperm rom-com with its grisly didn’t-see-that-coming ending. (Mucus plug? Who knew.) But — don’t teens learn this stuff in health class? Sure, women’s plumbing is more complicated and less conspicuous than men’s, and yes, girls supposedly have weaker spatial skills than boys. But one shouldn’t need GPS to find one’s own front door. It would be forgivable not to know where, say, your soul was located. Or your G-spot. Or even your gall bladder. But any 30-year-old who thinks her hoo-ha is an outie rather than an innie really needs to schedule some quiet alone time. Which reminds me: The survey also found that most young survey respondents were uncomfortable using the words vagina and vulva, with many resorting to “code names” like lady parts or women’s bits and even fashion like woman uniform pants, women have codenames for everything (And leave it to the birth nation of James Bond to assign secret agent names to their naughty nethers, right?) The Eve Appeal believes this “shows the urgent need for us all to talk more openly about these issues in order to break down taboos.” Look, I’ll talk openly about this stuff ’til I’m blue in the … women’s bits, but I ought to be able to call it whatever I want and here’s why: 1. The Eve Appeal itself is a cutesy euphemism for “women’s cancer charity,” and 2. I could pin the tail on my vagina blindfolded.]]>

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