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By Kristina Gardner
I’m a self-proclaimed feminist, I believe in equal rights, equal pay, and equal treatment for women. I believe in stopping the violence against women; and that’s why I work in the Women’s Center. But this semester has been an eye opener for me. I’ve learned that working in the Women’s Center and advocating for Women’s Rights and Violence Prevention, is more than just protesting, signing petitions, and putting on events. It’s about loving yourself for what and who you are….
And that meant coming to terms with my vagina…
But first I had to come to terms with just saying the word “vagina”. I stood in front of a mirror for 20 minutes at a time just saying the word, using it in sentences, and teaching myself that it is not a bad word, as I was brought up to believe it was. Not letting myself say some of the funny terms my parents and teachers used for it. That was the first step.
It really started to make me wonder why for eighteen years of my life, why have I never was allowed to say, or was never comfortable to say the word “vagina”. I mean, clearly, my parents and friends had a big part in it. I was raised to be modest and to act like a “lady” it just wasn’t something “ladies” said. They were never okay to say the word or talk about it, so neither did I, and I was perfectly alright with that.
Around this same time in my “blog rolling”, I stumbled across this documentary all about “the perfect vagina” and what women are doing to themselves (including get surgery to reduce the lips of their vaginas, and making themselves virgins again) to achieve “the perfect vagina”. The whole documentary is about learning to love what you have, and learn that everyone’s vagina is different.
Now, we had the Vagina Monologue Auditions, here at the UMKC Women’s Center, and the actual performance is in February. I had never seen this play before, so I watched some of the clips from performances around the world, and found myself agreeing with these stories, knowing those things really happen to people. Seeing stories about people coming to terms with their own vaginas and periods, etc.; I found myself inspired – and quite frankly, a little upset – that I had delayed this self-acceptance, for so long.
So, if you aren’t comfortable with your vagina (or even just saying the word vagina), I challenge you to do the same, because your vagina is yours. You should love it, respect it, and be proud that you are a woman!