You're normal. I promise.
I honestly wasn’t really thinking about my vagina.
I was thinking about the hot the guy sitting next to me and feeling pretty good about our date. Everything was great. We had ordered a few drinks, our food was coming, and the opening act walked on stage.
It wasn’t something I meant to do. I wouldn’t have even thought about my lady parts if it hadn’t been for the comedian's jokes. (No, he didn’t see my stuff.)
But he did joke about how ugly his last girlfriend’s vagina was and how he had to break up with her over it. He told the crowd that her vagina looked like the burrito a guy in the front row was eating and that the way it fell apart reminded him of the time he tried to have oral sex with her. With head nods, the men in the audience roared in laughter. I waited for a few high fives or selfie shots to be shared across meal plates. But none of that happened.
Not that it would have mattered. I lost my appetite. The hot guy I was with went from uber sexy to big time fugly. He busted out laughing and yelled up at the comedian, “My ex-wife’s looked like a turtle neck sweater turned inside out.” The guys sitting across from us snickered and elbowed each other. The girl next to him munched on her salad. I took a sip of my wine and looked around the room.
Not a single woman in the crowd laughed. None of the guys seemed to notice. For a moment in time, the man energy in the room bonded over ugly vaginas and messy burritos.
I started to wonder — Do I have an ugly vagina?
Although I have never been into girls or had a same-sex encounter, I have seen other women’s vaginas. As a medical assistant, I saw all types of vaginas when I helped with pap smears. Never once did it cross my mind if a vagina was pretty or ugly. A vagina was a place where babies came out and sex took place. It was a thing all women had, and the goal was to not look at it. It was just meant to have a little respect in the form of privacy and some good grooming.
Mostly, when I think of vaginas, I think of things like healthy, clean, STD free, and groomed. I never cared to know if my vagina or anyone else’s was turned inside out or not. But apparently, this is a hot topic for males and a real humdinger of a funny joke.
I excused myself to the ladies' room and did what any curious female would do — research vaginas on my smart phone to find out if mine was normal.
I discovered there are no twin vaginas parted at birth. There is no such thing as the way a normal vagina, or more specifically, vulva, looks. (You can't actually SEE the vagina. The vulva are the exterior parts of women's genitals. And that's really the part we're talking about here.)
While working in health care, I have heard vaginas refer to as hamburgers, tacos, bearded clam, and peach … and there are some similarities.
But the real fact is there’s no way to really describe what one looks like without seeing one up close and personal for yourself. And seeing one does not mean you’ve seen them all. No single vagina looks like another.
I was amazed at how different each one was, and yet I couldn’t say any was exactly “pretty”. When I think of pretty, I think of things like rainbows, flowers, art, but not vaginas. Vaginas are body parts, and unless you need a body part at the moment, you really don’t pay much attention to it.
I had to ask myself if I’ve ever really studied how my own looks. I mean, I have considered whether or not I have saggy arms or flabby legs, and a perky butt, but a pretty or ugly vagina had never crossed my mind. I discovered that I wasn’t alone.
According to Labia Library, there’s a rise in female genital cosmetic surgery, but they believe the problem is ignorance in what healthy female genitals look like. According to the site, most photographs are airbrushed. And, what women see online, in magazines, or other forms of print media are not the real deal.
The Labia Library project gathered images of women’s vulvas and placed the photographs side-by-side to view. (Here is the NSFW link to view those images.) These images originated from photographer Wrenna Robertson’s book I’ll Show You Mine who photographed women’s labias to “help women feel comfortable about their bodies.”
At first, I might not have understood why images like these are necessary. To be honest, I probably would have even considered them inappropriate. But, I changed my mind. After hearing how men with a little nudging can think about women’s private parts, I support women’s awareness. Women need to know that their bodies are normal and some crude joke doesn't make it ugly. Why should women resort to cosmetic surgery to change what is unique to their womanhood?