Donate Now
  New Poll  
my profile | directory login | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Vulvas and vaginas and labia, oh MY!

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Vulvas and vaginas and labia, oh MY!
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So, in the October issue of Seventeen magazine was a WONDERFUL two page spread with some basics about vulval health and anatomy, what's normal (even including medically plain but illustrative inner labia photos, and eve a differential for an intact and eroded hymen in the basic diagram!), what's healthy to do in vaginal care and what isn't, the works. It was really an excellent piece, and you can see scans of it here and here. (Not sure why we needed the photo of girls in their undies, but so it goes.)

A friend of mine passed this to me when it was published, and I was really elated, and thought Seventeen deserved big props for doing it.

But lo: while the usual sexist and sex-selling tripe was considered fine to have on the shelves in grocery stores, and the common content of teen mags which in effect tries to sell girls their own bodies via cosmetics and fashiion focus and advertising is okay, by one chain (and no doubt plenty more) this wasn't.

What do you think about this?

And statements like this: "'Once their innocence is gone, it's gone,' said Debbie Cottingham, 42, toting groceries alongside her 14-year-old daughter. She said it's her job as a mother to teach her three daughters about their bodies.

(As if knowing about your own anatomy makes you less innocent? Why the heck are vulvas and vaginas somehow different from elbows or mouths in this respect? And why is it okay to SELL the vagina, or the promise of its sexual use, but not to explain its health and functions?)

------------------
Heather Corinna
Editor & Founder, Scarleteen
ST blog about Heather & Scarleteen
"You have to love women who are brave enough to do things so big in a world where women are supposed to be so small." - Andrea Dworkin


Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DarkChild717
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 139

Icon 1 posted      Profile for DarkChild717     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Heh. Oooooh, boy.

I shop at that grocery store, and I've never heard of them actually pulling a magazine. I'd rather see a well done article on a woman's body than what Cosmo sells.

One thing in particular stood out to me (warning! history/senior research/rant coming on!):

"Once their innocence is gone, it's gone," said Debbie Cottingham, 42, toting groceries alongside her 14-year-old daughter. She said it's her job as a mother to teach her three daughters about their bodies.

Uh, not from my research, it ain't. Early in the 1900's, Victorian mothers passed that duty to the doctors and Girl Scouts. It was against their high moral ideals to discuss such unsavory topics.

In the fifties, they passed that duty to the product companies and to the schools. Heck, at least it wasn't the Girl Scouts anymore!

Today, that job has been passed to the product companies, the family doctor and the internet.

(See Brumberg's Body Project and Karen Houppert's The Curse for more info, if you'd like.)

There's a reason that 17 ran that article--it's because fewer and fewer mothers are actually doing anything to TEACH their daughters. I understand it's not all mother's who have passed on that duty, but it's quite a few of them. Besides--at fourteen, her daughter has already seen Molly Grows Up or some other modern variation.

The videos are crap, frankly. I hope they've gotten better. But anyhoo. Bravo to 17, and shame on the Victorian-esque parents who have gotten their knickers in a twist.

------------------
Treat with respect the power you have to form an opinion--Marcus Aurelius


Posts: 2789 | From: The Evergreen State | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Beppie
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 94

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Beppie     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
In my opinion, the pulling of these magazines by Albertson's or any other chain was not motivated by any true "moral" concern-- to me, it seems like the real, implicit concern was that this article might actually connect young women with their bodies. And if you have young women who are connected with their bodies, then they might *gasp* *shudder* come to believe that they actually own their own bodies, and start thinking that maybe THEY should be the ones who decide when and if they should remove hair, pierce skin, display flesh, engage in sexual activity and become pregnant or continue a pregnancy. Clearly, this sort of empowerment is something from which stores like Albertson's must protect innocent young women.

(No doubt my opinion here will seem a little far-fetched to some-- but think about it: these stores continued to sell magazines that presented a very narrow view of female sexuality, magazines which use SOME women's bodies as a means of narrowing that view-- any women who don't have that body type are excluded, although encouraged to strive for that body type, while women with that body type are constructed as being a particular "type" of sexual creature. This absolutely disconnects women from their bodies, and once that has occurred, the media has more social power to tell women what they should do with their bodies and when in any circumstance.)


Posts: 2710 | From: Australia | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PERVasive
Activist
Member # 25065

Icon 1 posted      Profile for PERVasive     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Beppie - I agree that that is probably why the store agreed to pull the magazine. There is another piece, however, which is probably why some parents complained. People are scared of their bodies, because they are scared of having to take responsibility for them. Why else would they sell their bodies to companies so easily? Parents are scared that their children may be more mature than they are, and so they do whatever they can to stop kids from taking responsibility for their own bodies.

------------------
- PERVasive

"Don't let your schooling get in the way of your education." - Mark Twain


Posts: 64 | From: Boston, MA | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm not sure it's accurate to say most, or even man, parents are scared their children are more mature than they are. That srikes me as really pushing it. Wishful thinking, perhaps.

But more informed? Yes, absolutely. I think that's both valid and common enough. More savvy? Maybe. More exposed? Absolutely.

I do think -- not to defend that mother, because I think it was an utterly moronic comment and really sexist, to boot -- that sometimes those concerns are coming from a sincere, caring place, from a wish that teen girls weren't wrrying, for instance, that their bodies as they are are not right, that they're not healthy, et cetera. From the realistic knowledge that their kids likely WILL get that information elsewhere, when parents wish it'd be from them, even if they know better from their own teen years.

Mind you, I think there are also crappy motives of control, envy and the lot, too, but not anything close to always. I also think that saying this shouldn't be available is hgwash: an attentive parent would snap up to the fact that it is, see an opportunity, and share that information with their kid.

And Beppie, I hear you, and I agree.

Caitlin: so glad the Houppert book ended up being so interesting to you!


Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DarkChild717
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 139

Icon 1 posted      Profile for DarkChild717     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Oh, the Houppert book is fantastic. Now I just need to find a copy for myself, since they don't appear to be in print anymore. I eventually have to give this copy back.

Just as an aside, I've noticed in my research a distinct change in attitudes about "ownership" of a girls body after 1972--that was the year a doctor was sued for giving a girl spermicidal foam and showing birth control during a lecture. Many of the things I'm reading hail that as a landmark.

There's still a residual, obviously, of the idea of "joint ownership" of a girls body. But I'm glad it's not nearly as prevelant as it was thirty years ago.

------------------
Treat with respect the power you have to form an opinion--Marcus Aurelius


Posts: 2789 | From: The Evergreen State | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Kafir
Neophyte
Member # 9270

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Kafir     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Just on book finding: I found The Curse on abebooks for a dollar (plus 3.50 for s&h). Get thee a copy!
Posts: 7 | From: WA + CA | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Sayna
Neophyte
Member # 28026

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Sayna     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote:
Originally posted by DarkChild717:
Heh. Oooooh, boy.

I shop at that grocery store, and I've never heard of them actually pulling a magazine. I'd rather see a well done article on a woman's body than what Cosmo sells.

One thing in particular stood out to me (warning! history/senior research/rant coming on!):

"Once their innocence is gone, it's gone," said Debbie Cottingham, 42, toting groceries alongside her 14-year-old daughter. She said it's her job as a mother to teach her three daughters about their bodies.

Uh, not from my research, it ain't. Early in the 1900's, Victorian mothers passed that duty to the doctors and Girl Scouts. It was against their high moral ideals to discuss such unsavory topics.

In the fifties, they passed that duty to the product companies and to the schools. Heck, at least it wasn't the Girl Scouts anymore!

Today, that job has been passed to the product companies, the family doctor and the internet.

(See Brumberg's Body Project and Karen Houppert's The Curse for more info, if you'd like.)

There's a reason that 17 ran that article--it's because fewer and fewer mothers are actually doing anything to TEACH their daughters. I understand it's not all mother's who have passed on that duty, but it's quite a few of them. Besides--at fourteen, her daughter has already seen Molly Grows Up or some other modern variation.

The videos are crap, frankly. I hope they've gotten better. But anyhoo. Bravo to 17, and shame on the Victorian-esque parents who have gotten their knickers in a twist.

(I just read "The Curse" a few months ago and loved it.)
Posts: 22 | From: California | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DarkChild717
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 139

Icon 1 posted      Profile for DarkChild717     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm glad. I'm figuring it, and Brumberg's book, should be required reading.

Thanks to her book, I can assure you I'll never use commercial tampons again. Nasty things.

And on topic, I actually used this story as the conclusion in that paper. Good stuff. [Big Grin]

--------------------
Caylin, Scarleteen Volunteer
Love Scarleteen? Donations keep us around for you. So give a little! (Or a lot. Whatever works for you.)

Posts: 2789 | From: The Evergreen State | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
ax50607
Activist
Member # 27650

Icon 1 posted      Profile for ax50607     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
What did her book have to say about commercial tampons?
Posts: 69 | From: NC, US | Registered: Feb 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DarkChild717
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 139

Icon 1 posted      Profile for DarkChild717     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's been a while, but something about the nasty, nasty corrosive chemicals they use to bleach the things, which aren't always washed out.

There's more, but I don't want to misquote the book or spread nasty lies about the commercial tampon industry. [Wink]

Fortunately, my local Fred Meyer carries cotton tampons, so I go with them. I notice a distinct different in how I feel, and how my vagina feels when I have to use them.

--------------------
Caylin, Scarleteen Volunteer
Love Scarleteen? Donations keep us around for you. So give a little! (Or a lot. Whatever works for you.)

Posts: 2789 | From: The Evergreen State | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
kindascared
Activist
Member # 24729

Icon 1 posted      Profile for kindascared     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Commercial tampons? What are these, and what are some name brands, because now you've gotten me curious!
Posts: 127 | From: Louisiana | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Commercial tampons ARE the "name brands."

These are most brands of tampons, generally made of a mix of cotton and rayon fibers, processed with bleaches.

In other words, ANY tampon which is not 100% unbleached cotton. If a tampon does not say it is made or organic cotton, then all the risks associated with dioxins, etc. and rayon fibers apply.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
kindascared
Activist
Member # 24729

Icon 1 posted      Profile for kindascared     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Oh, thats kinda scary! I thought the only risks associted with tampons were the TSS, but now i am gonna look into this. Thanks!
Posts: 127 | From: Louisiana | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
daria319
Activist
Member # 19692

Icon 1 posted      Profile for daria319     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
TSS can result from those chemicals, last I checked.(Along with leaving them in too long, of course.) That's WHY all these brands of tampons advise using the lowest absorbency possible -- lower absorbency tampons are generally smaller, so there's less tampon there to contain the harmful chemicals.

Unbleached organic cotton tampons don't contain those chemicals, and are safer, but still need to be changed often. The good news is that the DivaCup and the Keeper don't -- they're actually two forms of a small container used to collect your menstrual flow without drying out the vagina.

[ 03-23-2006, 05:17 PM: Message edited by: daria319 ]

--------------------
"You owe me two lifetimes and a pair of perfect blue eyes."

Posts: 407 | From: Georgia | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
...which results in not having those risks AND better vaginal health AND better vaginal moisture AND often even less cramping.

[Big Grin]

(Same goes for the use of either washable or unbleached disposable cotton pads.)

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
DarkChild717
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 139

Icon 1 posted      Profile for DarkChild717     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The best part about it for me, is that aside from the Costco boxes of tampons, the cost for organic cotton ones are essentiall the same. They range about $5 for a box of twenty. I only use max of three a day when on my 4-5 day period, because I use pads at night and if I'm not going anywear.

--------------------
Caylin, Scarleteen Volunteer
Love Scarleteen? Donations keep us around for you. So give a little! (Or a lot. Whatever works for you.)

Posts: 2789 | From: The Evergreen State | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

  New Poll   Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Get the Whole Story! Go Home to SCARLETEEN: Sex Ed for the Real World | Privacy Statement

Copyright 1998, 2014 Heather Corinna/Scarleteen
Scarleteen.com: Providing comprehensive sex education online to teens and young adults worldwide since 1998

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.

Powered by UBB.classic™ 6.7.3