Thursday Thirteen

13 things about Vagina!

1. OK, this Thursday will be dedicated to vagina! Now, I’m very interested about your first reaction. Is there any initial uncomfortable feeling? Or one big simple WHAT? Seriously; since I’m medical worker when I talk with my colleagues (of course if it’s in context) we are using without any problem words like: vagina, penis, erection, clitoris, penetration, sperm, vulva, uterus, …etc. and don’t even notice that ‘something might be unusual’ until we have someone who is not from our professional world. Their reaction is indeed, different which is OK I guess. It seems that genital organs are not preferable topic in general. 2. I hope it’s OK for me to talk about vagina in spite that I don’t have it – between my legs that is and I always had to try hard and sometimes be what I’m not to get one (very wrong way to conquer vagina or is a good way to conquer wrong vagina which is worse!) And now why I choose to write about Vagina?

3. Well last week I saw movie V-DAY: UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS about the effect of Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler.
4. Touching and witty, one of the favourites of the Sundance festival, the film V-DAY: UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS documents how Eve Ensler’s Broadway hit monodrama developed into V-DAY, the international movement to end violence against women. The film by the director Abby Epstein shows emotionally charged interviews and readings by both ordinary and famous women from diverse local communities, namely, those in New York, the Philippines and Kenya (including Rosie Perez, Selma Hayek, Rosario Dawson, Jane Fonda and Lisa Gay Hamilton). These women bravely reveal their intimate experiences and join forces to break the silence surrounding abuse.
5. The Vagina Monologues has been widely recognized as “a celebration of women’s sexuality and a condemnation of its violation” (The New York Times) and praised as “frank, humorous and moving” (Chicago Tribune). Over eight hundred cities around the world have participated in V-Day by staging benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues.
6. It is there I saw that actually saying “vagina”, “cunt”, “coño”, pička“, …etc. can be so ’liberating’ for many women. Yes it is funny when you see on the stage some actress (or local woman) who is screaming „Vagina!!!“ on the stage and then the whole audience is joining her, but then you have to ask yourself and then it;s not funny anymore.
7. This film was is to raise awereness that women are abused in so many, so incredibly many ways…
8. Violence against women is deeply embodied in society we live in. It shows in different ways – through underestimating almost all that women do, insult and humiliation, making fun rituals, economic exploitation and exhausting women resources, fear and disgust over female physiological needs, viewing female body and female sexuality as something dirty and dangerous, through suppressing female body and sexuality into the silence.

9. The most horrifying story in the movie is the story of Mrs Agnes from the Valley of Rift River who (with support of V-day Project) erected sort of asylum for girls who escape (or were banned from their families because they refuse to do) female circumcision or Female genital mutilation (FGM).
Genital cutting, or excision, is a coming-of-age ritual that signifies a girl’s entry into womanhood. It is accompanied by public celebrations and is often a source of pride for the girl. For some it also carries religious significance. Usually performed on girls between the ages of 4 and 12, but also on teenagers, it involves the partial or total excision of the external female genitalia.
10. It is performed by a female elder using a razor, knife, or piece of glass, usually without anesthetic, while several women hold the girl down. Agonizingly painful, it robs her of sexual pleasure and frequently causes medical problems, including hemorrhaging, infection, urinary incontinence, infertility, and complications in childbirth. There are several methods:
• Type I – excision of the prepuce, with or without excision of part or all of the clitoris;
• Type II – excision of the clitoris with partial or total excision of the labia minora;
• Type III – excision of part or all of the external genitalia and stitching/narrowing of the vaginal opening (infibulation);
• Type IV – pricking, piercing or incising of the clitoris and/or labia; stretching of the clitoris and/or labia; cauterization by burning of the clitoris and surrounding tissue;
Vaginas that were stitched stays with stitches until the wedding day when the husband tear them off. Or the best man takes a horn of the goat to make a passage for the husband.

11. And the reasons are:
– psychosexual reasons: reduction or elimination of the sensitive tissue of the outer genitalia, particularly the clitoris, in order to attenuate sexual desire in the female, maintain chastity and virginity before marriage and fidelity during marriage, and increase male sexual pleasure;
– sociological reasons: identification with the cultural heritage, initiation of girls into womanhood, social integration and the maintenance of social cohesion;
– hygiene and aesthetic reasons: the external female genitalia are considered dirty and unsightly and are to be removed to promote hygiene and provide aesthetic appeal;
– myths: enhancement of fertility and promotion of child survival;
– religious reasons: Some Muslim communities, however, practice FGM in the belief that it is demanded by the Islamic faith. The practice, however, predates Islam.

12. Of course there are loads of other types of violation toward women but this one is really even hard to imagine from this point of view. Sorry for this kind of TT but the feeling from the movie was just too strong so I had to share it with you.
13. Awareness is the first step!