It’s Called My Vagina, Not My Va-Jay-Jay: U by Kotex Launches Campaign to Get Real About Women’s Vaginal Health
Down-there, va-jay-jay, lady bits, punani, beaver, box, coochie, cooter – the list goes on and on.
Well, guess what?
It’s a vagina. V-A-G-I-N-A, vagina and I’m not afraid to say it. Are you?
Yesterday, U by Kotex launched their new line of feminine hygiene products coinciding with their Declaration of Real Talk Campaign that calls on women to embrace their bodies – vaginas, periods, and all! The campaign’s goal is to change the way society talks about periods and vaginal health and for good reason.
U by Kotex surveyed girls across North America about their vagina health and found some shocking results:
- More than 1/2 of women feel that society looks down upon talking about vaginal health.
- 70% believe that it’s time for change, but only 45% feel empowered to make a difference.
- 72% of women believe that society is more open to discussing men’s health and 60% of these women feel that they’re expected to keep vaginal health issues to themselves.
- 60% of women are more likely to turn to the Internet than to other women, including their friends or mothers, for information or answers about their vaginal health.
- Nearly 1 in 3 women don’t know that a woman can get pregnant if she has sex during her period.
- Women with low-esteem are more likely to think of their vaginal area as ugly (58% vs. 29%) and to feel dirty when they have their period (67% vs. 47%).
- More girls put more thought into taking care of their teeth over their vagina.
- 76% of girls think of infections or disease when thinking about “vaginal health.”
- More girls rely on the media over a teacher or school nurse for vaginal health information.
- 64% of girls wish they could talk to their doctor about vaginal health.
It turns out that most girls aren’t even comfortable talking to their own doctors about their vaginas and grown women would rather turn to the web than their own friends or mothers for advice. Maybe that’s why nearly 1 in 3 women don’t know you can get pregnant if you have sex during your period.
That’s the very problem with the silence and secrecy surrounding the vagina – if we can’t even say the word how are we suppose to teach girls about their periods and how to prevent unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, and abuse. We need to empower women and girls to love their bodies, including their vaginas, not fill them with shame and embarrassment about the very part of their body that makes them a woman.
Over 500,000 girls have taken action to break the cycle of silence around the vagina with Kotex, including reality celebrity Khloe Kardashian who signed the Declaration of Real Talk petition and teamed up with U by Kotex in New York City yesterday to promote the campaign.
You’d think a feminine hygiene company would have a hard time avoiding the word vagina, but Kotex was recently banned from using the word in their newest commercials, which are quite funny if you ask me. I’m glad their website and online campaigns do not shy away from using the word and demand that we change the way society discusses periods and women’s vaginal health.
Over ten years ago, Eve Ensler, famous for her play The Vagina Monologue’s sought to transform women’s relationships with their vaginas through her play which spiraled into a movement to end violence against women and girls around the world through her organization Vday which has raised over $70 million for the cause.
Kotex’s new campaign reminds me of Ensler’s Vday – the highest of compliments in my book. Both dared to go where others haven’t – the vagina – in the name of women’s health, safety, and solidarity. Organizations like Ensler’s and Kotex empower women to take ownership of their bodies and demand its respect and for that I personally thank them.
Photo copyright: Image from U by Kotex website - http://www.ubykotex.com/