It's a weird phenomenon -- the naming of things and all the social norms around it. Penises, for example. Lots of names. Most of them proud, something that conveys strength: wang, cock, willy, pecker, schlong, one-eyed monster... I could go on. As strange or silly as some of them might be, most people can come up with a word they would use without blushing, in conversation, for a penis.
But what about vagina? Did even that very proper word for it make you feel uncomfortable? More than when I said 'penis' earlier? It probably did. Why? And what about muff, fanny, hoohoo... the dreaded 'c' word? What is it about women's parts--and the words that describe them--that are so taboo?
The Gynaecological Cancer Fund has decided it's about time we ladies (and then men who love us) pay a bit more attention to our area below the belt and get comfortable talking about it. Gynaecological cancers are a huge killer because they're hard to detect but also because women don't have the vocabulary to talk about them.
So this month, GCF kicked off the Lady Garden Campaign, and it's all about getting used to talking about your vagina and raising awareness & funds for cancer research for that area.
I didn't know much about this issue, although I've known women who have fought ovarian, womb and other cancers, so when I went along to the lululemon yoga event on Saturday I didn't really go with anything in mind other than doing a yoga class for a good cause.
What happened was so much more eye-opening thanks to an intro from one of the GCF founders Mika Simmons. She was passionate, articulate and totally relatable. It was fascinating to hear her story about starting this campaign around a table with female friends and when it came time to actually say the word 'vagina' they all froze! These were women who had known each other for years and some of whom worked in medicine.
It was so crazy to hear that but it also struck a chord.
These cancers and women they affect deserve a name and to be shouted about, not whispered. I'm so glad that lululemon took part and helped bring this to my attention and I really hope that Mika and her team achieve their goal of making GCF and the Lady Garden Campaign at least as well-known as Movember.
Thankfully, Top Shop, Black Score design, lululemon and other big names have gotten involved already to help raise funds and awareness but I'd love to help get the word out even more.
Find out more here and don't forget to comment -- feeling confident enough to share what you call yours? ;o)