Thursday, April 10, 2003

Recently it's come to my attention that there is still some confusion over why we are blogging for labia. I'd like to address some of those question now.

  • Why blog for labia? Why not just blog for body image? Isn't this a bit "self obsessed"? We began blogging for labia last year in response to a very specific need we saw at Scarleteen. The same worries kept coming up again and again. "What's wrong with my labia?" "Are my labia too big?" "No one will want me because of the way my labia look!" "Is there any surgery to fix me?" "Can I just cut them off?" Week after week, users came to us with the same concerns. Their need was very specific. And their feelings of genital shame were not really being addressed anywhere else in a positive way. These youngsters wanted and needed to feel like they were being given personal attention. They needed to see other real people addressing their concerns.


  • But isn't it silly to blog for labia? No, I don't feel like it's silly at all. I understand that it seems a bit odd to ask people to wax eloquent about their genitals, but does that mean we shouldn't talk about it? Alot of the reason labia size and genital appearance is such an issue is because no one has bothered or been comfortable talking to young adults about their genitals. We assume they're going to know what's normal. Unfortunately, we also only present them with images of one type. So it's pretty understandable that people are confused. No one talks about their labia, and the only images they see are of tiny, bright pink labia. The only way to resolve this confusion is to address it honestly, head-on. We've seen that simply being silent does not work, so it's time to wake up and talk about it.


  • But what about other bits? Penises, breasts, and other bits are important too! I completely agree. An overall positive body image is incredibly important, and we're certainly not advocating positive labia image at the expense of other positive body image. As I said before though, we are addressing a very specific need that has been brought to our attention. And again, a specific need demands a specific answer.


  • And that is why we are here.

    Wednesday, April 09, 2003

    I must confess that I've never really worried much about my labia. Ever since I was little, I automatically assumed my genitals were exactly the way they were supposed to be. My mom is a nurse, so I guess I always thought that if there had been something wrong with my genitals, she would have noticed and had a doctor take a look at me. Also, in our home, genitals were not seen as something dirty or to be hidden at all costs. I was the little nudist as the family...I ran around with no clothes as often as I could manage, as did my little sister. Nudity was alright. Bodies were alright. Perfect exactly the way they were.

    And because of all this, it just never occured to me to find anything wrong with my genitals. I didn't become sexually active until I was 20. And even then I never worried about the fact that I had pubic hair. I never worried about the fact that my inner labia peaked out from between my outer labia. Or that they were not bright pink. I never worried about the way I smelled or tasted. They were my genitals, and I knew they were healthy, so why worry about anything else? My partner seemed to agree with this estimation of things. He loves me...all the parts of me.

    And beyond that, I love all the parts of me. I think my vulva is beautiful and wonderful. In fact, I think all vulvas are beautiful. Just think about it. They're incredibly astetically pleasing. Labia majora are so round and soft. To me, they are the embodiment of a hug. And if you part them and peak inside, the labia minora are equally seductive. Their gentle curves simply cannot be denied. They come in so many different colors, shapes and textures. To me, they seem like a finger print...they're each unique and special.

    They deserve to be treated well. All vulva's deserve that sort of treatment. They should be taken care of and acknowledged for the beautiful girl-bits that they are.

    Tuesday, April 08, 2003

    As I mentioned in my invitation...it's that time of year again. Yes, it's time to blog for labia.



    The Second Annual Internation Labia Blog-A-Thon will take place this year April 9-10, 2003. This year, Caro has been an enormous help in getting the blog-a-thon up and running, and has even helped to design a blog for our event. It can be found right here at the Labia Blog-A-Thon.

    This year there are two ways to participate:

  • Blog for labia in your own blog or diary. Then send us an email at labialove@hotmail.com with the link to your blog. We'll put you in the contributor's list as well as posting an excerpt (or full text, depending upon content limitations) and a link to your site in the blog itself.

  • If you don't have your own blog, or would prefer not to blog there, then write your entry and send it to us via email at labialove@hotmail.com. We'll post it in the Labia Blog-A-Thon blog. If you don't want your name posted with it, then let us know and we'll make it anyomous.


  • I feel that overall this issue is just as important now as it was when we blogged for labia a year ago. A majority of the searches that turn up my blog come from people searching for things like "abnormally large labia", "my labia are too large", "labia surgery", "ugly labia", and many similar concerns. And I still recieve email on a weekly basis from young women at odds with their bodies and desperately seeking reassurance that their genitals are normal.

    Yes, the problem is still alive and well. It's this issue that prompted extensive discussions between myself and some of my friends and collegues (especially Caro, Aria, and Kythryne). And these discussions gave birth to the idea of the blog-a-thon. And continuing concern brings us back to this issue again.

    The mere thought of a young woman being so disturbed by her genitals that she would even consider cutting bits off with scissors honestly makes me want to cry. Yet that is exactly what some of these young women propose. Others ask for a creme or a surgery that can "correct" the appearence of their genitals. The images they see in pornography (often the only female genitals other than their own that they have ever seen) or in book diagrams have convinced them that correct, normal female genitals should have tiny pink inner labia (rather than realizing that genitals come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and that long purple-brown labia are just as normal and perfect as tiny pink ones). And that labia minora of any other shape, size or color are obviously abnormal. Many are desperate to "correct" this because they are certain that no sexual partner will ever want them unless their genitals conform to what they have been taught is the norm. This is the battle that we are fighting, ladies and gents. It takes alot to convince these young women that their genitals are normal and that no surgery or other steps need to be taken. We must not allow them to be so wrongly ashamed of their genitals that they are willing to chop them into tiny pink submission.

    The subtitle of this year's blog-a-thon is Beautiful Strangers. This is the second part of our purpose at the this year. Many of these young women are not only ashamed of their genitals, but they are also afraid of them. Many have never taken a good look at their vulva's or touched them (unless it was in the shower or with a toilet paper covered hand). They feel shame and fear of what others may think of their genitals...and shame and fear at becoming familiar with them on their own. Part of blogging for these "beautiful strangers" involves encouraging a familiarity with one's own body. Masturbation may be a part of this, or it may not, and that's ok. Though masturbation is a wonderful way to become familiar with your own body, it's not the only way. Sitting down in private with a mirror and having a look at what's really going on down there is an excellent and necessary step too. We want to encourage becoming familiar and comfortable with your own body. There's no reason why labia have to remain "beautiful strangers" to a woman...it's even better if they become her "beautiful friends" whom she understands, accepts, and loves as a part of herself.

    So that, my friends, is why we're blogging this year. Again, I'd encourage you to participate if you're comfortable doing so. This really is an important issue, and a great cause to donate a blog entry to.

    We'll see you tomorrow! Happy blogging!

    Sunday, April 06, 2003

    Further evidence that my stress level is too high:

    So I started checking the stuff for my spanish class, since I missed class on Friday. And I was trying to figure out what we'd done in class this week. I started to panic because I couldn't remember what we had done on Thursday. The only thing I could think was that I'd skipped class on Thursday too...which would be a horribly bad thing. I was seriously about to have a heart attack...

    And then I remembered that I don't have spanish on Thursday.

    Saturday, April 05, 2003

    Better, things are definately better. Still not 100% fixed, I think...but better.

    Friday, April 04, 2003

    Three words: Venti Caramel Macchiato

    That is heaven. It has to be. That is the answer to all problems. Yes folks, I'm nearly convinced that the answer can be found at the bottom of a Starbucks cup. Yes, it was well worth the money. It just made everything seem not quite so bad. Like an injection of pure sweetness. How can one not smile in the face of that? Or, potentially go into a state of diabetic shock.

    The chaos looks a bit more managable when one's high on caffine and sugar and listening to some Avril Lavigne.
    I walked into my room this afternoon and realized what a mess it was. This is quite suprising in several ways. I'm usually quite a tidy person. My room, especially here at school, is nearly always imaculate. I simply cannot stand the mess.

    However, lately something has been different and I didn't even realize it until today. I made the connection that I'd forgotten about. You see, the state of my room almost always reflects my own state to some extent. Either consciously or unconsciously I allow my environment to be a visible manifestation of my inner state. I've known this for a long time, but I think I'd forgotten and I'd convinced myself lately that the mess was due to the fact that I was simply tired. But looking back, I realize now that I've been getting a bit mixed up inside for a while now. Just like my trash can, I've been letting the junk pile up inside me. Very quietly. Next to the trash can sits a pile of dirty dishes. They've been there for at least a week now. There's no good reason that I couldn't have washed them last weekend, but I didn't. So they sit there molding, just the way some things have in me lately. There's just chaos everywhere here right now. My room is chaotic, as am I inside. I'm afraid I've gotten lost in the chaos and the piles of dirty clothes.

    I guess I didn't even start to realize it until I went to yoga last night and just couldn't find my center. Class was alright, and by all definitions it should have been fabulous. But I just couldn't get connected. I was in my body, but I the connection wasn't there. Everything just felt terribly uneven and out of kilter. I think maybe that was my first indication that something was off.

    I think last night's conversation with the boy really just let it all out. The chaos finally started to show itself. It suprised him, and it suprised me. I'm not sure what's going on with me, I'm not sure what's going on with us.
    Well, I didn't make it to the gym this morning. My thought process went something like this...

    "Shut up...stupid alarm clock...What? It's only 6am!...Oh yeah, rec center, class...but I don't want to get up...I won't do it, you can't make me!"

    I tried, not very hard, but I tried. I just couldn't do it. And consequently I also missed my first class this morning and barely made it to work on time. Apparently it's just one of those days right now. *sigh* Such is life, I guess.

    The boy and I had a bit of a falling out last night. Wasn't a huge deal. But still, some things came up that I almost wish had stayed in the dark. Stuff seems to come out like that, especially when I start feeling jealous and defensive. I feel like we've got some things to talk about now.

    Wednesday, April 02, 2003

    I feel incredibly "blurg" today.

    (Yes, I just made that word up.)

    I don't know what it is. I feel heavy and rather sedate. No, I'm not saying I feel "fat". But rather that I feel less healthy lately than usual. I'm considering starting a new sort of routine. I'd really like to take my lazy tail over to the fitness center in the mornings. The rec opens at 6am...if I went early, I'd still have time to make it back for a shower and some breakfast. Now of course that does mean that I'd have to stop procrastinating and "getting up early" to do my homework. I'm so not a morning person, so I tend to doubt my ability to get off my ass and actually leave my room before 8:00am. I need to start taking better care of myself though. I know that I'll feel better if I start actually doing something physical like that. I take yoga, which is great and makes me feel wonderful...but I don't really have a place to practice other than when I have class on Thursday nights. My room is far to small to do most poses. I can achieve some of them, but for the most part, I don't feel like I can really stretch safely or to the full extent of my ability. Additionally, it simply feels too claustraphobic to do yoga. There are really no other rooms that I have access to where I could do yoga safely and that have the proper vibe...unless maybe I started going to the rec in the morning. But if I'm going to go all the way to the rec anyway, why not exercise while I'm there as well as doing a bit of morning stretching?

    Hmm, I think I shall have to consider this a bit more. I know I won't be going to the rec tomorrow morning, regardless. I've got yoga tomorrow night, and the class is too intense for me to want to risk wearing myself out before I ever get there.