A You Gov survey has revealed that almost half of the UK can’t identify where the vagina is when asked on a diagram. It’s not necessarily the male half of the population either, and before we all snigger in feminist and mutter “yeah, they can’t find the clit either”, lets have a look at what was discovered:
So there we are. There are 45% of women who couldn’t identify where the vagina was, 29% who couldn’t find the clitoris, 43% didn’t name the labia and 55%- over half- couldn’t tell where the urethra was.
So why do so many of us not know about our own bodies? It was a terrible diagram to be fair, but we should still be able to name what each of these parts are. There were some even stranger results. 18% of women thought a tampon would have to be taken out to have a wee, and I’ve met a shocking amount of girls who didn’t know that menstrual blood and urine come from completely different holes.
I remember in my early twenties when I was about to go for my first smear test, reading the leaflet they give you before, when it dawned on my that I didn’t actually know what a cervix looked like. I knew very roughly where it was, as looking at the speculum there was only one possibility really. I know some women say they can see theirs with the aid of a mirror, but mine is that far down and well hidden I’ve nicknamed it Saddam Hussain. I was kind of stunned that I didn’t know what it was even meant to look like. In school we were shown diagrams of where our internal organs are and what they were supposed to look like, but I don’t ever remember anything that had the cervix on, just a vague diagram of a female reproductive system that looked a bit like a rams head and wasn’t anything we could really relate to ourselves.
It’s hilarious but also sort of terrifying. The number of women, particularly young women aged 25 to 35 going for smear tests has plummeted, with 72% citing embarrassment, 69% felt uncomfortable with a stranger examining them, and 58% were afraid it would hurt. 37% also didn’t know what would happen during the test and ticked it as one of the reasons they didn’t go.
I know many victims of sexual trauma for who screening is a terrifying, traumatic and triggering experience and I believe more support is needed to help survivors access this, but for the majority of those missing their appointments it’s about self consciousness and shame even in the Age Of Vajazzle. Though I suppose it is hard to put a dog face snapchat filter on your vagina. Or maybe not. I’ll let you know as soon as I’ve finished writing this. Either way, with so many products and social trends telling us everything that is wrong with us and why we should pay lots of money to make it look different, it’s little wonder so many are mortified by themselves in natural form.
We should at least be able to look at our own parts and name what’s down there, if we can’t, how can we be expected to let a health professional have a look? If we don’t help people know their own bodies how can we expect them to know when something is wrong? For things like ovarian and prostate cancer, most people ignore the first symptoms because they simply don’t recognise them, which is why tackling this is so important.
Being familiar with your own body map and feeling comfortable walking around it is a matter of life and death.
So grab a mirror and blast this on in the background to get you in the mood. It might just save your life in the future.
http://youtu.be/wv-34w8kGPM – Divinyls- I Touch Myself