Vagina.

The word sounds like nothing out of the ordinary to me. But that’s because I’m a hard core feminist who loves everything there is about women and wants better for women across the world.

For this reason, I find it hard to believe that many people can’t even say the word “vagina” without feeling uncomfortable. A vagina isn’t something to be afraid of. It’s just another wonderful part of the human body.

The Eve Appeal, a gynecological cancer research charity, recently conducted a study of 1,000 women and determined that 65 percent admitted they have a problem just saying the words “vagina” or “vulva.”

Forty percent of women surveyed said they have “code names” when referring to their vagina and 45 percent said they never talk about their vaginal health to anyone, not even their doctor. How are women supposed to properly take care of their bodies when they don’t have the confidence to talk about it with professionals behind closed doors?

One in seven women have considered getting “labial-plasty” which is trimming and tucking the lips of the vagina and tightening up the entrance for a “better” looking vagina, whatever that looks like. This is a crazy thing to do because there is no crème de la crème of vaginas. Yet, one in five women compare their vaginas to those seen in pornography. These comparisons are unrealistic, to say the least.

It’s a fact that no vagina, clitoris or labia is the same. Each vagina can be compared to a snowflake in this aspect, each is unique and individually crafted.

In a Huffington Post article, OBGYN and women’s health expert Dr. Sherry Ross said: “The fact is that the two lips of the vagina are not identical on the same person. Just as our two eyes are not identical, nor our ears or breasts, the lips of our labia are neither identical nor symmetrical. Likewise, a man’s testicles are neither identical nor symmetrical, but we don’t comment on how pretty a man’s balls are, do we?”

Men are rarely heard talking about their penis or testicles looking “ugly” to them. Men aren’t expected to undergo surgeries to make their testicles tighter or prettier. Why should women be bothered with this pressure to be beautiful from her face to breasts to labias?

The only qualities that make a vagina “perfect” are personal confidence and good health.

Ross said: “You know what else is normal? It’s normal for women to be curious about the wonders of the vagina ― everything from its smell and taste to its care and maintenance; from the subject of masturbation, orgasm, female sexual dysfunction to gender equality in the bedroom!”

Get to know your body now while you’re young and healthy. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Get comfortable with yourself because you’re the only person in the world you’re responsible for. If you don’t know your own body, how is anyone else supposed to?

Email Laura Schmidt at opinions@cardinalpointsonline.com

<a href="http://cardinalpointsonline.com/byline/laura-schmidt/" rel="tag">Laura Schmidt</a>