Way Too Many Women Still Can't Locate and Identify Their Vagina

Do you know what's really going on down there?

According to a new survey inspired by Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month and conducted by the Eve Appeal, a lot of ladies actually seem to have very little clue about their ladyparts. Specifically, 50% of British women ages 26 to 35 have no idea where their vagina is. This stands in sharp contrast to older women, ages 66 to 75, almost all of whom could identify not just the vagina but all the correlative ladyparts and reproductive organs on a map.

Seems like second-wave feminism, which began the tradition of women taking mirrors and finally looking at their anatomy, was onto something back in the '70s. Indeed, the practice hasn't exactly died out, as evidenced by this quirky video produced earlier this year:


With the rise of Freudian psychoanalysis at the turn of the 20th century, women shied away from their bodies, a tradition that has since plagued western culture and produced a further devaluation of women's bodies. One of the objectives of second-wave feminism, the movement that eventually brought us Roe v. Wade, was to reclaim the female body as something beautiful, as something that had value in its own right. The female body is not the negative of the male body; the female body lacks nothing.

And yet, this study proves a correlation between the stripping of women's rights and the rise in women's inability to locate parts of their body, which symbolizes the severance of women from their bodies on both personal and political levels.

This fact was brought to life onscreen this summer in an episode of Orange Is the New Black, in which a handful of the Litchfield inmates have similar problems identifying their ladyparts. In particular, they're not quite sure where "the pee comes from." Laverne Cox's character, Sophia Burset, takes it upon herelf to give her fellow inmates a little lesson:


Image Credit: BuzzFeed

What's seriously disconcerting about this survey, taken from more than 1,000 participants, is that it also signifies a serious lack of information about care, even of self-care, for women. According to the Eve Appeal, fewer than one-quarter of women ages 16-25 felt "well informed" about gynecological health issues. Additionally, as cited in the Telegraph, "[n]early one-third of women aged 16 to 35 said they had avoided going to the doctor with gynecological issues due to embarrassment, while 1 in 10 said they found it very had to talk to their GPs about these concerns."

This ignorance, willed or otherwise, results in women not seeking preventive care. "Each year in the U.K.," according to the Huffington Post, "20,000 new cases of gynecological cancers are documented and over 7,600 deaths reported... In the United States, it was estimated by the American Cancer Society that 91,730 new cases of gynecological cancers would be diagnosed in 2013, with such cancers causing approximately 28,080 deaths."

Anatomy lessons aren't just about sex education; they're critical for one's own health.

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Marcie Bianco

Dr. Marcie Bianco is a Staff Writer at Mic, a Contributing Editor at Curve Magazine, and an adjunct associate professor at Hunter College. She has contributed to AfterEllen, Feministing, The Feminist Wire, The Huffington Post, Lambda Literary, XO Jane, and The Women’s Review of Books. She writes and lectures about ethics, from feminism to race relations. Her current writing projects include a manuscript about lesbian academic affairs and a collection of feminist essays.

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