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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Opinion

End the shame surrounding vaginas and women’s sexuality


End the shame surrounding vaginas and women's sexuality

Juana Garcia/The Cougar

Female body parts like vaginas are often stigmatized and have a lot of misinformation about them. It’s time for this to end and for people to become more informed and more comfortable around female genitals and sexuality. 

In Texas, it is not required for schools to teach sex education. If schools do choose to teach sex education, the main focus has to be abstinence. Because it is not a requirement, 25 percent of schools choose not to teach sex education according to Sex Ed for Social Change. 

This creates a huge problem regarding the conversations about sex and the education younger generations need to keep themselves safe. 

By focusing on abstinence-only programs, Texas denies youth the knowledge they need to make safe and sound decisions. Additionally, by telling kids to avoid sex, this leaves them in the dark and forces them to seek the information elsewhere which could be inaccurate or even dangerous. 

Young girls struggle the most with this because there is often a lot of information left out about their bodies such as hymens and clitorises. This lack of information around vaginas is dangerous because if girls don’t know what’s considered normal, it’ll be difficult for them to tell if something is wrong. 

There are a lot of myths about vaginas. The most common one is the myth over loose vaginas. Vaginas don’t get loose if you have an active sex life. There also isn’t a blueprint to the perfect vagina because all vaginas are different. 

“Once it’s no longer a ‘taboo’ for women to own their sexuality and body, we can openly discuss those matters,” said psychology senior Melody Johnson. “I believe that’s what’s holding a lot of women back from speaking their mind and opening up. We should stop holding standards and attempting to construct the ‘ideal’ woman.”

Many women and people with vaginas share the same sentiments but ending the stigma is easier said than done. 

One of the more unique ways in which people are trying to end the stigma around women’s bodies is by creating a vagina museum. This museum was created after Florence Schechter found out that a penis museum existed in Iceland but not one for vaginas. 

The purpose of this museum is not only to end the stigma around women’s bodies and sexuality but provide people with the knowledge needed for them to feel confident in their own bodies. A lot of people don’t even know how to label the parts of the vagina (labia, vulva, clitoris) because it isn’t taught in schools. 

In order to end the stigma around vaginas and women’s sexuality, you don’t have to create something as grand as a vagina museum. You can start small by being open to talking about women’s bodies and not cringing when someone mentions periods or discharge. 

Destigmatizing vaginas and advocating for sex education that aims to inform rather than avoid sex will make future generations lead safer and healthier conversations over genitals and sexuality. 

Cindy Rivas Alfaro is a Journalism freshman who can be reached at [email protected]

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