This piece of television changed my life
. Not dramatically or noticeably. It changed my life in the same way a good book does: it forced me to look at the world from a different angle, and I couldn’t go back to looking at that little part of reality the same way.
We, as a society, don’t really talk about vaginas. I fully appreciate where feminist types are coming from when they attempt to normalise this sort of thing. Male gross things are normal and “funny” so it’s hypocritical for female gross things just
to be gross. Until I saw this piece it had never occurred to me how potentially damaging such a simple thing could be.
It wasn’t the censorship that appalled me so completely (although it is clearly ridiculous). What affected me was that I didn’t know there were different types of vagina around to be discriminated against.
I had never been told that protruding labia was a thing. No one, in all my 18 years, had ever explained the complicated physiology of the vagina to me, beyond what you learn in year 8 science. Without this story I would happily have continued in ignorance.
And if I had no idea, how many other females where totally in the dark? With the simple addition of ignorance a perfectly normal physiological trait could suddenly seem like a horrible, worrying thing. If our perception of what a vagina looks like is so incomplete, it becomes alarmingly simple to feel as though you are outside the norm.
I couldn’t bear the idea of girls growing up thinking they were abnormal or weird or ugly.
Who do you go to when you’re worried about something like that? With this taboo over the subject, finding someone to talk to becomes way too difficult. You certainly can’t Google questions about vaginas. The amount of people who have nothing better to do than hang around medical message boards posting naïve and unhelpful things is terrifying.
One of the people who Hungry Beast spoke to while researching this story
was a woman in her fifties who had visible labia minora. She had, for her entire life, believed her ‘protruding bits’ were a physical result of the sexual abuse she suffered as a child.
I refuse to believe that we should be content to live in a world where that happens.
No one should look at pictures like this
and be surprised. Is anyone ever surprised by a picture of a penis? Unless it leaps out at you from behind a bush (no pun intended), probably not. Vaginas should just be vaginas. We should know what they look like, all the things they can look like. That’s just something we should KNOW.
There’s something terribly disconcerting about being confused by your own body. Maybe that’s part of why we spent so much of our teenager years feeling like we’re missing something.
I still find it rather difficult to comprehend that this hole exists in our education. How hard would it be to write a page into those ‘What’s Happening to My Body’ books that is titled ‘Vaginas Come In All Shapes and Sizes!”. WE SHOULD BE TAUGHT THAT. We shouldn’t be allowed to spend our lives assuming that body parts (especially those body parts) look a certain way based on what outside agencies tell us. And we certainly shouldn’t be made to feel less than adequate if ours doesn’t look like theirs.
Put simply, this is something we should talk about. Even if it makes us feel uncomfortable. Because a little bit of awkward is a lot better than years of doubt and uncertainty.
In conclusion, here is a short song that Kirsten Drysdale (of Hungry Beast) wrote for this blog
last year. It is very good.
Do your flaps hang low? Do they wobble to and fro? Can you tie them in a knot? Can you tie them in a bow? Can you throw them over your shoulder like a regimental soldier? Do your Flaps. Hang. Low?
Does your clit hang out? Is your pudenda rather stout? Is your vulva not real ‘neat’? Can you touch it with your feet? Are you an outie not an innie and don’t think that should be a sin-ny? Does your Clit. Hang. Out?
(If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, please take a closed-legged photograph of your cooch and send a copy to the Australian Classification Board.)