Ladies, If Talking About Your Vaginal Health Makes You Awkward, It Really Shouldn't
If you can talk about things like toothaches, getting a cold, dealing with a pimple, and easing muscle soreness just fine, know that your feminine health deserves the same kind of openness!
Alright ladies, time for some real talk.
When was the last time you openly asked questions about your vaginal health—wondering out loud about universally experienced things like wetness, odor, and discharge. We're willing to bet that you never have outside of the confines of your OBGYN's clinic (and perhaps, not even there), or maybe the one and only time you did was when you slipped an anonymous note in the Q&A box at the super uncomfortable "puberty and sex talk" delivered at your school all those years ago.
The point we're getting at is this: all the time, women talk about empowering themselves and each other on topics of motherhood, marriage, breaking glass ceilings, pushing back against stereotypes, gender-based violence, sexuality, and body and self-love, but why is it that many still shy away from (read: cringe at) the thought of talking about vaginal health?
And by vaginal health, we don't mean going TMI with expounding on your sexual history (although, that can be part of vaginal health, but that's a conversation for another time). Vaginal health is essentially making sure that everything down south is in tiptop shape; it can cover all concerns about what you worry is "normal" or "not normal," its appearance, fertility and pregnancy, the relationship of psychological well-being with hormones, birth control, learning about diseases and infections (and their prevention and treatment), and yes, even all your questions about what goes on behind closed doors with a sexual partner, among other things.
There is still a ton of stigma and taboo related to talking about vaginal health no thanks to the prevailing "conservatism" that pretty much tells women that this is a private subject not to be addressed in public. But the thing is, vaginal health is at the core of women's health; if a vagina, cervix, or uterus has any problem whatsoever, a woman's entire body suffers. She might be in pain, she might develop other ailments as a consequence, she might be anxious and distracted, she might suffer in silence because she's unable to talk to anyone about it, and her intimate relationship might pay the price.
And if you ask us, all of those things are just plain awful. It's about time that women normalize and de-stigmatize talks about vaginal health, because, like any other body part, it deserves to be taken care of!
It's an advocacy that SPARK Philippines, a non-profit that works to develop women-focused organizations as partners in national development, and feminine hygiene brand Carefree and brand ambassador Gabbi Garcia staunchly support.
Starting the conversation about vaginal health and the need for women to be able to ask questions and find informed answers to them was at the core of their Women's Month campaign called the Pantry Proud Series in March.
At the virtual event that kickstarted their campaign, they invited celeb guests including Gabbi Garcia and Megan Young, as well as a team of trailblazing OBGYNs and other women leaders who want Filipinas to be able to develop a better relationship with themselves and their feminine health.
There's a long way to go before the stigma towards vaginal health can be gone for good, but we have to start somewhere, don't we? And right here is an excellent starting point—learning to be comfortable with ourselves and caring for a big part of what makes women, women.
Opening images from Pexels