Our society has traditionally valued the mental over physical, not in terms of mental health but in the meaning of ablism. They called Mind as noble and Body as a base, this idea is particularly damaging to the womxn (or people with the uterus) who are mostly defined in terms of their appearance and are systemically made to stick with being base. The messages around them inform, that there is nothing worthy to know about or feel good about their body as a result many grow up misinformed and unprepared.
Only when Womxn (people with the uterus) are young can enjoy using their bodies, playing outdoors and running or throwing tantrums when they feel like. As they grow older every part of the body is used against them. Nearly every physical experience they have is so alienating, every part of the body is an area of potential disgust to oneself- faces, vaginas, buttocks, breasts. They are never allowed to feel home in their own skin. These Parts are alienated from individuals and treated as commodities which need products that make them more appealing to ‘his senses’ and make millions for BusinessMEN. Womxn’s legs, eyes, mouths, fingers, hair, vaginas are used for selling products like hair removals, bras (boobjails), fashions, hair colouring, powders, sprays, perfumes and deodorants for vaginas.
The major focus of this article is about the understanding of what’s the matter with “down there”
Few Dominant Discourses about Vagina
“Vaginas smell bad”
Menstruation has long been portrayed as a hygiene issue in commercials, the focus is on cleansing and deodorizing with the underlying message being that periods are dirty and smelly. Again the major theme of these products is to ensure “discreet protection” and giving the message that it is important for individuals to hide the fact that they are menstruating.
Some of the products also informed how their softcup can hide the fact that one is menstruating, from their significant other (so one can go about their sex life “without him knowing.” )
“Period blood is blue”
It is widely known how the blue liquid used in many ads send a confusing message to young people about what periods are and what these products are for. The most important suggestion these commercials offer is period blood is too disgusting to show on TV (but it is okay to show blood oozing from any other body parts)
“Hymen was created to prove woman’s virginity”
However hymen is relatively a bloodless membrane and not responsible for bleeding, it is seen as a way to prove the bride’s innocence and is believed that it was created to prove the woman’s Virginity (purity). In fact, the blood is due to the aggressive penetration by men, in the words of Reveenthiran, “Violent penile penetration leading to minor laceration of the vaginal wall rather than that of hymen appears to be responsible for blood-stained bed-sheets.”(V. Raveenthiran, 2009, p. 224). This falsely constructed idea by the hegemonic patriarchy puts many womxn under pressure, danger and fear and conveniently ignores to see womxn as a whole complex creature of emotions and intellectuals.
Until this moment, the vagina and blood that was treated as something to be ashamed of are suddenly seen as a symbol of purity. Till its unveiling, in this dark room, it was placed in darkness and in the silences of everyday conversations. Establishing the strong (but absolute False) message that its existence is real only when it comes in contact with the penis.
This process of mystification doesn’t allow one to talk about their own bodily experiences without subjecting individuals to private anxiety and pain. It is this mystification that causes the vagina to become a passive object which needs to be controlled by the patriarchal system and internalises the belief that golden penis is the key for all the locks and mysteries it carries.
“Down there” is no magic it’s called Vagina, it has a bio’logical’ functioning of its own, unlike the illogical myths and magical appearances and disappearances exists and happen only in a box called patriarchial mind.
“We are our bodies? First, they are us and we do not inhabit them we are them.”
Language of objectification (or appearance)is the language of alienation of woman’s experiences from her own body and from her genitals.
#let’s create the language of function.
Scott, B. A., & Derry, J. A. (2005). Womxn in their bodies: Challenging objectification through experiential learning. Womxn’s Studies Quarterly, 33(1/2), 188-209.