Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I am a long standing feminist who used cloth diapers (loved them and loved hanging them out on the line, loved being a wife and loves being a mother/grandmother. I was reading one of my professional journals the other day and almost fell out of my chair. The article is "The Vagina Catalogue: Literature Review and Author Commentary" (Women's Health Care A Practical Journal for Nurse Practitioners July 2009 Vol. 8 No. 7 pp. 26-31)by Marjaneh M. Fooladi.
The article is about the recent evolution in cosmetic vulvovaginal surgery and the social, cultural, economic and emotional aspects of these procedures.
As a midwife I have spent almost 27 years trying to help women (including myself) to learn to accept their bodies. Women are poked at by the media, other women, men, and themselves to view themselves as imperfect if we weigh too much or too little or if that weight is distributed in "the wrong places". Our hair, our skin, our teeth, our breasts, hips and thighs. Health has almost nothing to do with this-when a women is 50 pounds overweight, has prediabetes and borderline high blood pressure and wants her thighs and bottom to be bigger because this is what her man wants I want to scream. When another woman is normal or underweight and still feels fat I sympathise and want to scream.
In the past I've had women tell me their man feels their genetalia is unattractive. I've tried to reassure them that they are normal and he is the one with the problem (I suggest maybe his poor "performance" has little to do with her and a lot to do with him but she is a convenient target.) Now there are people out there selling another way to make us feel bad and suggest ways we can spend our money to meet some nebulous unattainable version of perfection.
Legitimate repair of damage from surgery or childbirth or cancer treatment makes sense. Having your labia enlarged or made smaller because you don't look like the airbrushed picture in a men's magazine is just---I'm screaming. Having a C-Section so your vagina stays "tight" is just---me screaming again. When are women and the people who truly love us going to quit this utter nonsense.
I know this is a rant. I just can't help it. I respect and care for the women I attend and the women who are my friends. It is time for us to stand up and say to ourselves we won't belittle ourselves anymore and we wont' let others belittle us.