I hear about body shame, eating disorders, chronic dieting, and body dysmorphia on an almost daily basis in my psychotherapy practice. Seems like everyone with a heartbeat and a Facebook account thinks that their thighs are too big. Somehow, fitting in with our peers is predicated on fitting into our skinny jeans. This is sad and it is dangerous. The emotional byproducts of negative body image are poor self-esteem, isolation, self-neglect and a hungry loneliness that's never quite satisfied.
If we take a page from almost any ladymag, we end up with more than just tips on how to f*ck like a vampire or undress for success. It’s an oversimplification for sure, but without proper community and self-support, internalized messages from popular culture can turn us into bullies against our own bodies.
And these days, our vaginas are next on the hit list.
Vagina shame is making a frequent appearance in my practice. For many individuals, the idea of throwing some Crest Whitening strips and a pair of Spanx on their vaginas seems like a perfectly viable way of combating feelings of inadequacy. That’s not quite how it works. The only way to dissolve feelings of shame is through mindfulness, awareness and empathetic acceptance of our experience in the here and now. This is something that can be done alone or in the company of a trusted other.
As for your vagina, she called last night - this is what it had to say:
Your vag is a huge fan of Bruno Marz, and she wants you to play Just the Way You Are to her on repeat. It is not too dark or dingy, flappy, loud, or ill-proportioned for you to love exactly as it is. Please stop bleaching, rejuvenating, tightening, revirginizing, or g-spot amplifying it.
your vulva is flawless & remarkable in its own way... like a snowflake or a Kardashian sister.
Your pussy is politically active and she is opposed to deforestation. Please leave at least a little hair there. According to the book What’s Up Down There, pubic hair has a life expectancy of about three weeks. So don’t worry about having to buy expensive vagina baretts to hold your unruly bush in place. It’s never going to get that long. Pubic hair is there for a reason. Frequent hair removal causes irritation and leaves microscopic open wounds on your skin. Throw in the warm and moist environment of your genitals and you’ll find yourself in the fast lane to a bacterial pathogen superhighway.
Whoever is spending time in between your legs should know they are beyond lucky to be there. If they bring a measuring tape and level, direct them to their next contracting job and lose their number. If they run screaming from the room because of what they see, trust me, you’ve dodged a bullet.
Please stop "adorning" (vajazzling) your lady garden. Know that nothing can enhance what is already there.
The taste of your pussy is couture - a one of a kind creation, fashioned from your personal body scent, diet, detergent, and soaps. Don’t try to turn it into something you can buy en mass at The Body Shop. The global market for feminine “hygiene” is to reach 15.2 BILLION by 2017!
I have an idea, why don’t we stop making our vaginas taste like Febreze and instead, let's make our room fresheners and office candles smell like pussy!
If you take care of your cupcake, your cupcake will take care of you. Get regular check ups, buy yourself pretty (cotton!) underwear and unscented products. Try a sponge instead of tampons. Buy lube sans sugar, and use that lube sans jerks.
Summers Eve is an awesome name for a drag queen, not something for your cookie.
Stop referring to your vag as "down there.” Your pussy is not unmentionable or dirty. It a secret agent or in the witness protection program. Try talking about your pussy freely, and in whatever way feels comfortable. Make it a vagina dialogue! Tell your honeypot everything you’d want to hear from your lovers. Then listen to what it has to say back to you! Confront the way family, culture, religion, anti-pleasure, and anti-body campaigns have disconnected you from your own body.
Love Your Body Day 2012 is Wednesday, October 17th. Get a head start by giving your vagina some love. It's good for you, and it's great for your relationships.
Lonely Forever? No Way.