My news-feed was exploding this morning with posts about women who are seeing their vaginas for the very first time. When I saw that no less than ten of my friends had shared this video, I thought I’d better see what all the hoopla was about. Watching the video, I couldn’t help but think of why we women might never have seen our own vaginas. Logistics aside, the reasons we keep our nether regions a secret, even from ourselves, is because something more nefarious is at play than just not ever thinking to grab a mirror.
As a little girl, I remember being taught that my “hoo-hoo” was disgusting and dirty—the “thing below” requiring avid hand sanitizing after contact, but what about boys? Not only is self-contact required, it’s allowed, and so is self-exposure.
Boys are taught to pee in the snow whilst girls hide away behind closed doors to perform the exact same bodily function. While girls are probably not going to be able to write their names in pee, it’s not about logistics as much as it is about shame. Because while it’s sort of a joke that boys masturbate, when we speak of females masturbating, we think of porn more than natural enjoyment. Boys get to “whip it out” and girls are told “go where no one can see you”.
Beyond boyhood, the penis is accepted on the big screen. How many times do we see a vagina—even a hint of vagina—in a movie that we aren’t charged 15 dollars to view in the privacy of our own home? People are for some reason offended by the flowery companion women are born with, when seeing female genitalia shouldn’t be more taboo than seeing a hand or a foot, or dare I say: a penis. So why is it more taboo for women to flaunt their naughty bits than men?
Men are allowed to be sexual. Moreover, men are allowed to be control their sexuality and the sexuality of women.
That vagina I’m setting on? Yeah. It’s supposed to belong to a man. Whatever man decides my vagina is his, according to societal standards, should have the say over the coming and going of my vag…pun intended.
We live in a culture where women are only supposed to be sexual when and if a man allows sexuality. Rape culture allows men to dictate that we have to put out whenever they are good and ready, but if they don’t invite us to be sexual, we’re supposed to stay closed up like Fort Knox.
Our vaginas are for the pleasure and enjoyment of men only.
So, while men are supposed to be taking the advice of every television commercial and growing their penises bigger while simultaneously wooing us women with a smile and a raging hard on, we women are supposed to keep our nether regions clean, shaven, hairy, or whatever else Bob with a smile wants. Don’t be mistaken, though, if Bob doesn’t want it, we shouldn’t even be thinking of sex.
The world in which we live allows the Elliot Rodgers of the world to become enraged because some women don’t give it up, and meanwhile “honor killings” allow killing the victims of rape or women who actually choose whom they might marry. So if we women keep our vaginas to ourselves then we’re prudes, but if we’re having sex without male permission (and sometimes even with not only permission, but rape), we’re whores. It’s sad, but this is the way the world works.
All the while I’m writing this, I know there will be men who say I’m just one of those “angry feminists who hates men”, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. You see, I think men would stop holding our collective vaginas hostage, if society could let them be in touch with their emotions. There would be no need to shame me or control my sexuality if men realized that holding the key to the chastity belt didn’t make them more male.
My son told me the other day that although I’d given him a world of self-confidence, with no real male role model, he grew up not knowing quite where he fit in within the masculine world. There was too much machismo—too much bravado and too many exaggerated tales of sexuality and violence. For him to fit in with his stories of liking to cook or respecting women, he had to “score”. He needed to beat guys down and be at the control panel of as many vaginas as possible to “be a man”. He says it’s easier (somewhat) now that he’s grown and married, but this is the garden in which we sow our young men—the garden of violence against each other and women.
As simple as the solution sounds, it’s also difficult. Somehow, we have to encourage boys and men to step away from their fears of each other and us. We women do not want to rule the world. Feminists don’t want to collectively castrate and emasculate men. All we really want is equal time and equal control. All we want is to look down at the reflection on the low-lying mirror without shame. We want to control our sexuality, and most of all, we want to live in a world where rage and crimes against women disappear along with the stigma of having a vagina.
Tammie Niewedde shares her life with 24, 21, and 16 year old sons. She also has a 2 year old grandson whose energy level reminds her exactly how old she is (40, and she owns that proudly!). In her home, you will find a 120 pound fur factory named Dexter and a few cats whom have decided that she is merely their staff. The root of her love for books, writing, and animals comes from being a child whose only siblings were books and her animals. She is a full-time student, mother, coordinator of all that is chaos, and a hopeless list maker. Most of her writing is creative non-fiction that describes her real life adventures. Her acerbic, biting sense of humor may capture your heart, or it may induce rage. Nonetheless what she writes is true to life. You can often find her hanging out with the kiddos, studying, reading, writing, and making lists…of everything! You can find her on Facebook!