thinking about my last post

My last post, a very menses post, resulted in a lot of my friends talking to me about cups. Like, a LOT of my friends. [Content note: sexual assault, women's rights, menses, Rush Limbaugh.]

The ones who had already been using them were high-fiving and talking about vaginas and being like, yeah! Awesome!

On the other hand, cup-curious friends who hadn't used them before, even the most independent, strong, self-aware, feminist, pro-vagina of them, brought their voices down at some point while talking about the cups. Like they were afraid of being overheard, or ashamed to be talking about menses.

I think that, as with many things, coming face-to-face with your fears, as it were, makes you re-evaluate them. Using a cup is one of many ways to be forced to confront your vagina, and, at least from the stories I was told, come out liking it better. It's sort of like using a Neti-Pot on your sinuses. Is it gross? Oh, hell yes. Is it also sort of weirdly awesome? Again - hell yes.***

This all made me think. While I was writing that post, I thought over and over about how people would react to it, and whether I should post it at all - whether it was too offensive a post to put on my blog, from which it is pretty easy to get to the rest of my life, if you're inclined.

Too offensive! That was really something I thought. That's like saying that writing a post about how I really like to use Ace Bandages when I think I've sprained my ankle is offensive.

Then, I was on tumblr, and saw a post that linked to [tw: epic douchery towards females] this article, in which Rush Limbaugh is a giant tool, and [tw: sexual assault] this post, which reminded me of victim-shaming and how we even do it to each other, us survivors, in a small way, by saying things like "I was wearing a parka, obviously I didn't ask for it," and this post, again about rape culture, and I realized I was seeing all of this in the space of a few hours, and I further realized:

The problem is vagina-shaming.

No matter what we're doing, no matter how we're dressed, whether we're cis or trans*, or anything, everything comes back to the idea of YOU ARE SOMEHOW ABERRANT BECAUSE YOU DO NOT HAVE A PENIS. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOUR BODY'S NATURAL PROCESSES. YOU SHOULD HIDE ALL REFERENCES TO WHAT YOUR BODY DOES, BECAUSE IT IS CREEPY AND GROSS AND EW EW EW EW EW.

My uterus does not make me less-than. Screw you, Rush Limbaugh, and everyone that taught me to fear the world and think that keeping my sex hidden was the only acceptable way to live. I'm not going to hide the fact that I go to a gynecologist for normal preventative care, or avoid saying the word "gynecologist" around male friends, because it seems dirty or wrong.

I feel like this is something I should've realized years ago, and maybe did to some extent, but it's only recently that I've realized how much I felt grossed out by/afraid of/embarrassed by the very existence of my female sex organs. Screw that.

*** My best friend just pointed out that she gets really freaked out whenever she sees blood - so, I guess, in that case, maybe cups are not the best route for you? Like, if the sight or smell of blood makes you pass out, maybe don't do it.