Archive for May, 2013

One Year Anniversary of Vagina Protest in Lansing, Michigan

Posted on: May 6th, 2013 by llewin No Comments

I can hardly believe it has almost been a year since Lisa Brown, a Michigan state legislator, was banned from the House floor for using the word “vagina” in a debate about abortion.  After this happened Lisa Brown did not just sit there rather she used social media to garner support and attention and attention she got—Eve Ensler, living goddess who wrote the Vagina Monologues, came to Lansing a few short weeks later and she organized a performance of her award-winning play on the steps of the capitol building.  Thousands of people attended. I used my frequent-flyer miles and flew up from Charlotte to be there.  I was in the middle of writing Vagina Revolution: A Candid and Informative Conversation About Vaginas and I could not miss what I thought was part of the beginning of the actual revolution—women taking back the word vagina and owning it and using it because after all, it is a body part that half the world’s population has.

 

The one-year anniversary of the protest in Michigan is upon us and I read a fabulous article today about Eve Ensler and her thoughts on the word ‘vagina’.

“You can say ‘scud missile’ and ‘acid rain’ and ‘nuclear war’ and ‘terrorist bombing’ on the front page of any newspaper, but you say ‘vagina,’ and people freak out,” Ensler says in a phone interview last week. “Why is that? People say all kinds of degrading things about women’s bodies and it seems to be fine. I think ‘vagina’ is like one of those words which actually represents women power. … It’s not degrading, it’s not undermining. It’s real.”

The article was written by Kristen Jordan Shamus at the Detroit Free Press.  Here is a link: http://www.freep.com/article/20130505/COL26/305050040/Eve-Ensler-Michigan-Body-of-the-World

Ensler has definitely made the world a safer place for women and for the word vagina and she shows the connection—the importance of the connection—in her new book which is profiled in the aforementioned article. But she also talks about how we have much more work to be done.  We need to normalize the word vagina, and the body part.  I try to do that in my book Vagina Revolution. Because after all, the year is 2013, information is at our fingertips, but many women still feel disassociated with and uncomfortable with their vaginas and their bodies.  Enough is enough!  It is time to own what is rightfully ours—our bodies and our feelings associated with our bodies. Vagina Revolution helps women do that because it is a book about vaginas—twenty-two topics/chapters in all (http://vaginarevolution.com/about-the-book/table-of-contents/) , and it is written in the form of a conversation between two women.  Some of these topics can be a bit uncomfortable but reading the book is like eavesdropping on a conversation between two women—very comfortable and familiar, yet also informative and life-changing.

There has been some work done in this area over the past year—the word vaginas has been mentioned hundreds of times on popular tv shows and in the media—much more than any previous year.  But there is so much more to be done.  The more the word—and the body part—is normalized, demystified and destigmatized, the better off women will be.

So hats off to you, Eve Ensler—for starting the fight and for continuing it.  I hope to join your league of warriors as we fight for change for all women.

 

Warmly,

Laura

My kids are reading Vagina Revolution: A Candid and Informative Conversation About Vaginas?

Posted on: May 6th, 2013 by llewin No Comments

When the big box of my books arrived last week from Amazon I wasn’t surprised when my three children, ages 12, 10, and 9, asked me for a copy of the book.  After all I have been working on the book and talking about it for the past couple of years and they were so excited to see a big box of my books arrive in the mail.  They are no longer squeamish about the word vagina—in fact they may be too comfortable about it!  My sixth grade son Max wanted to bring my book to school to show everyone. I was so happy that he was proud of his mom writing a book but I did worry that he would get in trouble for having a book with the word vagina in the title and pictures of open vaginas within the book. Even if we as a family are entirely comfortable with the word vagina, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools is just not there yet!

I must admit though, that when I went to put my 10 year old daughter to bed last night I was actually surprised that she was reading my book.  I thought my three children wanted a copy to have and to hold…but not to read!  But there Kate was reading my book in her bed. When I walked in and said it was time for bed she said “Mommy—I’m learning so much from your book!  Like I didn’t know what a clitoris is (she pronounced it all wrong) and cervical fluid. And it’s so easy to read because it is written like a conversation!” Ok, so I have to admit that my first thought was “Should I be letting my 10 year old daughter read this?  Is it appropriate for someone her age?” Then I thought about clitoris’s—they are just a body part, just like vaginas are just a body part.  Is it too early to learn about them? No, I concluded, it is not.  Many girls discover their clitoris’s when they are little girls though they have no idea what they are discovering—they just know it feels good.  Research has shown that even babies can have orgasms.  This is entirely natural and normal.  So why shouldn’t girls know about this—and know the proper word for the part of their body that feels so good?  The same thing with cervical fluid—as children get closer to puberty their vaginas start to secrete more fluid.  Many girls worry about this—is it normal? Why does my vagina feel wet?  These are normal worries and fears but they are unnecessary—if girls were taught that this is normal and a normal part of growing older then they would not worry as much.

I do worry that some people will cringe when they read this and some people will not understand. I guess that is in part why I wrote Vagina Revolution—to “normalize” vaginas—to take topics that were once taboo and uncomfortable to talk about and to show that vaginas and everything about them are totally normal. Including clitoris’s and cervical fluid.  I’m still not sure what age is too young to read the book—I think it would be different for everyone and as a general rule I say that the book is great for women ages 18 and up.  But I am happy my ten-year-old was reading the book and learning about vaginas at an early age.  I think (and hope!) that this knowledge will prove to be beneficial to her throughout her life.

 

Warmly,

Laura

 

 

Is there such thing as being too comfortable with the word vagina?

Posted on: May 6th, 2013 by llewin No Comments

OK, so I wrote a book about vaginas and I am interested in all things vagina so of course I set up a “Google Alert” to alert me any time there is an interesting story on the internet about vaginas.  The Google Alert tends to filter out a lot of porn but they are not squeamish about a lot of topics and I have seen really interesting articles and blogs thanks to my Google Alert.

So last week I saw a funny story (well, at least I thought it was funny) about a woman in Hong Kong who ordered a Starbucks drink but when they wrote her name on her cup—Virginia—they wrote it down wrong and it came out Vagina.  She got all bent out of shape about this and wrote a blog and then it ended up on a few blogs.  I haven’t checked it lately but if you are curious then google the story—or better yet set up your own Google Alert with the word vagina in it J

Soooo…my son Max had been wanting to order a Starbucks drink and when they asked for his name he wanted to say “Beyonce”. I thought that this was pretty funny.  He finally did it and he took a picture of it and texted it to me. I laughed!  Then last weekend we were in another Starbucks and I was on my way to drop off Max at his friend Alana’s house so the two could rehearse a duet they were singing in an upcoming show.  He asked if he could get a drink for Alana, too, and I said yes.  Max thought it was funny, when asked for the names on the cups, he said his was “Barney” and hers was “Dora”—after the children’s TV shows.  Then I said to him—“watch this—I am going to give them the name vagina”.

“Mom!  You’re not really going to do that are you?”

“Of course I am—I’m sure all Starbucks employees have heard the story about the woman in Hong Kong getting upset about her name being written wrong on her Starbucks cup.”

“But suppose they haven’t?  I’m getting out of here!” and he started to walk towards the exit but then came back because he realized he didn’t have his two hot chocolates for Barney and Dora. He said to me again “You didn’t say it, did you?”

“I did!” But at this point I think it hit me that maybe I was just a bit too comfortable with the word vagina.  The employee did write down the name Vagina but he also looked at me like I was crazy.  I asked him if he had heard of the news story about the woman in Hong Kong and he said he had not.  Then he passed the cup on to the Barista—a woman I have known and seen in Starbucks on and off for years—and she also gave me a concerned look.  “Did you hear about the news story in Hong Kong involving the woman named Virginia…but the Starbucks employee accidentally wrote her name down as Vagina and she got all mad and blogged about it?”  Oops—confused look—I guess she had not heard about that story, either.

At this point Max had retrieved his two drinks and bolted for the door.  I laughed and tried to explain my story and reasoning—again—but too late.  They thought I was nuts!

So the moral of the story is that in researching and writing this book I have gotten extremely comfortable with the word vagina and even though the word has been used increasingly in the media and on television shows—even though Vagina Monologues has been performed thousands of times all over the world, and even though the Los Angeles Times proclaimed in an article last year: “’Vagina,’ Once Unmentionable, Has Become a Fashionable Term”, this is Charlotte, North Carolina and I guess not everyone read that article—or is comfortable with the word—or has a Google Alert set to vaginas—or better yet the employees at Starbucks just expect people to use their real name…so maybe I should now go back to saying Laura…

 

Warmly,

Laura

 

Vagina Revolution is born!

Posted on: May 4th, 2013 by llewin No Comments

Wow—it has been a long time since I have written!  It feels so good to be back.  I started my blog last Spring but then I stopped writing so I could finish the book and boy did that take much longer than I thought it would.  I guess having three kids, a husband, family and friends, and a job, it does not leave much time left for writing a book!  But I am thrilled that after many revisions and much editing it is DONE!!  My book, Vagina Revolution: A Candid and Informative Conversation About Vaginas, is now on sale on Amazon!!

 

So what are my hopes for my book?  I remember asking the same question after having children—what were my hopes for my children?  For my children I wanted them to be safe, healthy, and happy…I wanted them to love to learn and to have friends and to love to play…I wanted them to feel a sense of peace and balance…As they got older I wanted them to give back to the world and give back to their communities.  For my book my feelings are both similar and different.  Vagina Revolution did feel very much like a baby—especially at the end of my pregnancy when I was sooooo ready to deliver.  I have so many hopes for my book—I want it to be informative and to teach women things they never knew—men, too, perhaps.  I want it to reach women who have felt disassociated from their vaginas and women who feel shame and embarrassment and I want the book—the process of reading it—to be cathartic.  I want the feelings of shame or embarrassment to melt away and women to become more associated with, more aware of, more appreciative of their vaginas.  After all, vaginas play such a huge role in our lives…yet they have traditionally been treated badly or ignored.

 

I would love for the book to spark many more conversations—between women, between women and their partners, their friends, book clubs, and of course their doctors.  That is my hope for my book as I write this post and start trying to get the word out that Vagina Revolution: A Candid and Informative Conversation About Vaginas, has been born.

Warmly,

Laura