LET’S HEAR IT FROM THE KIDS
The latest comments by young people on sex & relationships topics
Vagina Museum founder Florence Schechter on using the correct terms for body parts, like vulva…
“Vulva shame contributes to body dysmorphia and body dissatisfaction.
Vulva shame and stigma make it harder for us to talk about bigger things in our lives, like reproductive rights, abortion, healthcare and sex.
Why does vulva shame exist? The patriarchy.
The Number 1 way to fight vulva shame is normalisation!
Teach your child the proper anatomical words from as young as possible.
You have to get there early before shame sets in and your child picks up on societal messages.
And target teenagers so they will have a lifelong love of vulvas!”
We were fascinated to hear Florence – author of V: An Empowering Celebration Of The Vulva And Vagina – this month at the WOW (Women of the World) 2023 festival!
In her talk The Big V, she set out to “smash stigma, label your labia and fight for your vulva’s rights”.
In March 2017 Florence tweeted: “PEOPLE There is a penis museum in Iceland but no vagina museum ANYWHERE. Who wants to start one with me?” After the Vagina Museum set up camp in London’s Camden Market, by March 2021 some 120,000 people had visited the site.
EXTRA CREDIT! Read Campaign begins to save world’s first Vagina Museum” – where exhibits include giant glittery tampons – after founders’ property guardianship ends at short notice (Daily Mail, 31/1/23) and our blog post Vulvas vs vaginas – what can I say? (31/1/22) IMAGE Islington Tribune
East London student Zaara Chadda, 16, discusses the new show Consent – which Channel 4 calls a “bold, authentic drama about an elite school where lines of sexual consent are dangerously blurred” – and her own lived experiences…
“You can’t even eat a banana at school these days, it’s become so overtly sexualised.
Snide provoking comments like ‘she knows what she’s doing’ and ‘girls are so dramatic’ and ‘girls are so sensitive’ are common. Boys will say things like: ‘Sure, the stuff [Andrew Tate] says about women is wrong, but he motivates people to go to the gym, so it’s not all bad.’
Consent portrayed the pressures we face as teenagers today: that boys need to have the
confidence to make the first move; and girls need to be attractive enough that boys will make that first move on them.
It also accurately shows how many teenagers make decisions based on receiving validation from their friends. These pressures are timeless, but the rise of social media, porn culture and toxic misogynists like Andrew Tate has only made things worse.
Naturally my mum found the show shocking, but vital. She says it’s helped her to feel she can protect me better as a daughter, and it opened up a conversation between us regarding party culture. It might have been uncomfortable viewing, but it’s certainly helped me to feel free to tell her about any experiences I may have at parties or elsewhere in the future”
WORDS & IMAGE Consent: “I’m a London sixth former and Channel 4’s new drama felt very real – that’s what made it horrifying” (Evening Standard, 17/2/23)
Teach Us Consent founder Chanel Contos, who made the BBC 100 Women 2022 list, age 24…
“Once I was kissing someone (quite casually, I might add) and he put his hand around my neck and started to choke me. I moved his hand away from me and said: ‘Why are you doing that?’ and he said: ‘I dunno, I thought you’d like it.’ When I told him I didn’t, he seemed genuinely surprised.
It made me sad to think about the amount of girls who would have just ‘gone along with it’ in that moment – including myself a few years ago. I would have known myself well enough to know that being choked wasn’t something that sexually turned me on, however I don’t know if I would have been able to distinguish between enjoying a sexual encounter because the man I was with was enjoying it, or because I truly enjoyed it myself.
Separating true consent from the desire to give your male partner sexual satisfaction is difficult.
But I suggest that a good place to start is to equip young girls and women, who have grown up in an era where pornography has shaped every inch of their sexual landscape, with the capabilities to decide if it is an act they truly want to engage in”
WORDS Sexual choking is now so common that many young people don’t think it even requires consent. That’s a problem – by Chanel Contos (Guardian, 7/12/22) IMAGE India Hartford Davis for Side-Note