Ladies, have you looked at your vaginas today?

I pondered for hours the ‘appropriate’ headline for this post. And, it all came back to: what is the ‘acceptable’ term for a woman’s private part?
I don’t know why saying ‘vagina’ is a biggie. I just know it is – at least in Nigeria. Here, women don’t easily call their vagina ‘vagina’; We call it ‘private part’, ‘toto’, ‘punana’, ‘ohu’ and some other names. But, never ‘vagina’.
It’s like women shy away from the word ‘vagina’. Most shy away from owning up to the fact that they have a vagina.
When we go clothes shopping – jeans and leggings especially, we choose those cloths that don’t cling to or emphasize the vagina. If a leggings does that we frown and dump. Men on the other hand don’t have any qualms about owning their penis – and yes, they say penis. Men enjoy feeling it, touching it, giving it nicknames like ‘little man’, ‘power mike, ‘small boy’; they revel their penis; rejoice when they impregnate a woman and give glory to their ‘small boys’. This obsession – no, strike that, preoccupation with their private parts is the reason why most men discover anomalies in the workings of their ‘small boys’. Of course, Science says it’s because STD symptoms are easily discovered in men. I have my own theory, though. They love their ‘small boys’!
You might be wondering about my choice of blog post on such a holy day. Mind me not – I’m worried for my fellow women. Have you heard of the human papillomavirus – a DNA virus that causes cervical cancer in women? In fact, the bigger question is: have you taken a look at and/or touched your vagina this morning (or ever)? Will you recognize your vagina if you see it captured and blown up in canvas in a museum somewhere? Will you recognize your vagina if you lost it and go looking for it?
If the answer(s) is(are) no, you’re doing your ‘little woman’ a disservice and you ought to rectify that, NOW. Do a touchy feely, peeping-Tom and examine your vagina, NOW. In private, of course!
I was in Final year, when a Room-mate pulled up a chair, spread her legs and proceeded to thoroughly examine her vagina. We all (7 young women) went: ew!
She wasn’t fazed. She continued her examination and afterwards proceeded to educate us on the importance of ‘knowing’ our vaginas. Of the eight of women present that day, she was the only one that has ever taken a good look at her vagina before a mirror. The logic: she knows when something is amiss. She feels it, she sees it and she does whatever is necessary to rectify the problem.
I don’t need to tell you that our vaginas are sensitive orbits and need special care. What I am here to tell you is: know your vagina!
You see, the human papillomavirus is a deadly virus – a fast worker, a cervix hater, a killer.
The human papillomavirus is mostly the cause of most cases of cervical cancer. Hence, the need to look at and know our vaginas, conduct pap smears every month or as regularly as possible, and consult a Doctor if you have a funny-smelling, abnormal discharge.

God bless us all!


About Egoyibo Okoro

Beautiful. Friendly. Opinionated. Feminist. Scholarly. Political. Christian. Sometimes, I write in Engli-Igbo and/or pidgin English. Just so you know, I am naturally disgruntled about a lot of things, most especially gender inequality, human rights abuses, racism and corruption. #EndChildMarriage. #EndTerrorism. #EndPoverty. #EndRacism. #EndImperialism. The Igbo say, "egbe bere, ugo bere, nke si ibe ya ebena nku kwa ya" - Live and let live!
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