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Is vagina shaming cramping your confidence?

You’ve no doubt heard of fat shaming, but have you heard of vagina shaming?

Look at your life. The jokes made in middle school about funky smells that didn’t exist. The way no new porn shows a vagina with a natural covering: Everything is shaved/waxed bare or covered by a tiny wisp of hair. Comfortable, healthy panties are called granny panties — if you don’t have a string of pearls up your rear, you’re not “sexy.” And don’t even get us started on the placement of feminine hygiene products! Tampons and pads do not belong next to the adult diapers.

Society’s rules for our vaginas aren’t just crude, they’re off-base and they need to be addressed.

Your vagina should not smell like lavender or “spring showers.” Your vagina should smell like you. This expectation of fruity smelling vaginas starts in middle school, and we’re not sure how. In junior high, your entire body probably smelled like cucumber melon or juniper breeze, right? Inevitably one gross boy decided to pick on a girl and his go-to insult? Telling her she smelled like fish. Where did that come from? Who taught him that? The minute one girl is accused of such a thing, everyone in the class suddenly becomes ultra-aware of how we smell between our legs. 15 years later, we’re still wasting insane amounts of Burberry Brit on our underwear before date night.

Speaking of date night: How many times have you had to plan an extra hour into your afternoon to hit the waxing place or take a lady’s BIC to your vagina? Why? Because, God forbid, your hot new boyfriend might see your vagina in its natural state? Puh-lease. Sure, some of us like the fresh, clean feeling of going hairless. But that doesn’t mean we should be embarrassed to unveil our vaginas in all their glory after a busy month. If your boy scrunches his nose at pleasing you after a missed waxing appointment, scrunch your nose right back the next time he thinks you should get on your knees for a post-game reward.

We can’t blame the guys for everything, though. At some point we have to dig a little deeper and examine where they’re getting their beauty ideals from to begin with. Of course the answer is porn. Would it kill for just one porn star to suggest that when her boyfriend “surprises” her in the kitchen, she’s wearing sensible underwear? (Or even underwear at all?) Why is it all strings, straps and strands of pearls? When a guy really loves you, he’s going to think you’re hot in some Hanes and his Smashing Pumpkins t-shirt. So, why are porn, Victoria’s Secret and other clothing catalogs trying to shame us into something more uncomfortable?

Nothing, though, is as shaming as going to the store for tampons or other feminine products. Why should buying these products be any different than picking up aspirin or toilet paper? Sadly, picking them up feels like a massive and embarrassing undertaking. Why do we feel we need to bury our box of tampons under the bread and apples as we pile it all onto the the conveyor belt? It’s pretty safe to assume you’re not the only person making that particular purchase today. There’s no need to be embarrassed.

It needs to stop. You look adorable in your polka-dot “briefs.” And half of the country also shops for tampons. In the ’70s, a full bush was hot and we’re sure it will cycle back around… especially if we stop letting our significant others talk us into landing strips. Own your vagina in all its natural glory. And tell middle school boys, porn and drugstore merchandisers to stuff it.

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