Hey, Look, We All Have Bodies!

I just had my IUD taken out. It gave me nine years of wonderful service but I don’t need it anymore–ain’t no fertility left in this old chicken.

I just talked about a) contraception and b) menopause. Should I be embarrassed?

No. And I’m not just saying that because I’m the sort of person who’ll talk about anything at any time with anybody. It’s because I think this world would be an infinitely better place if people just talked freely and comfortably about their bodies and its drives, needs, and physical make-up.

I hate the concept of shame more than anything else. I want that word stricken from our vocabulary. The only thing people should feel shame about is being mean, unfair, petty, or callous. But no one should feel shame because her body has desires, impulses or needs. Obviously, we need to be in control of those desires, impulses, and needs–if we ate ten donuts every time we got hungry, we’d be harming ourselves (although . . . what a way to go).

But feeling shame because our bodies get aroused or have some sort of dysfunction or simply because they’re BODIES? Think of how often you hear people try to shame women for wearing skimpy clothing, as if the body itself is shameful and it’s the woman’s responsibility to keep hers covered up. That’s bullshit–it’s a woman’s right to show as much skin as she wants. Period.

There are two things that scientific studies have linked to a reduction in teen pregnancy (and therefore abortions); access to contraception and sexual education that’s NOT abstinence only (that ridiculous approach doesn’t work because URGES). In other words, teach kids to understand how their bodies work, allow them to feel comfortable with its desires and needs, then educate them in the ways to SAFELY act on those desires and needs. (And of course, by “safely,” I mean in ways that are safe to OTHERS as well as yourself. Anything non-consensual is not safe.)  It’s astonishing to me that there are people who preach against masturbation and contraception. What’s safer than masturbation? It’s good, clean, calorie-free fun. And contraception lets you have sex without worrying about getting pregnant or getting an STD–it’s like the greatest thing in the WORLD and I dream of being the contraception Easter Bunny, tossing out condoms where e’er I go.

We have bodies that shit, piss, get boners, get aroused, vomit, eat, produce earwax, mucus, and that weird black stuff between our toes. Educating ourselves about how to keep those bodies as healthy as possible–without denying that any of that exists–is the only way to be at peace with ourselves and accepting of others. Frankness, honesty, acceptance, education, shared experiences, a sense of humor . . . those are our salvation.

Let’s own our bodies’ urges, figure out how to act on them safely, and educate others to do the same. Above all, let’s TALK freely and openly about what our bodies want and need. There’s no shame in that. The only true shame is ignorance and small-mindedness.

That said, I’ll spare you the blow-by-blow of my gyno exam today. Not out of shame. Just because it was boring.



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4 responses to “Hey, Look, We All Have Bodies!

  1. I’m so done with the body shaming crap. My oldest daughter is fifteen. A couple weeks ago she told me she was walking home when some people shouted at her to “put some clothes on.” She was wearing shorts and a tank top. The shorts were short because she has a hard time finding anything to fit, and the shirt was loose, but she had a cami on under it. She’s 5’2″ tall and weighs 80lbs. She looked fine to me. I thought her outfit was cute. There was no reason for her to cover anything–it’s not like her ass was hanging out of her shorts (unlike the shorts she wears around the house that she wouldn’t be caught dead in outside) or her nipples were showing. My almost thirteen-year-old daughter wears a lot of the same clothes, and I have no problem with that.

    I’m tired of hearing how wearing “short-shorts” makes them “sluts.” Neither of them are trying to be sexy–they are just wearing things they like and make them feel good. I stopped dressing them when they were toddlers, and I leave their clothing choices to them and their own judgment. If they feel comfortable then I’m okay with it. I’m not sure my husband feels the same, but he doesn’t make them change clothes.

  2. Claire

    I am one thousand percent with you, Jen. Girls should be able to wear whatever they like without strangers feeling like they have the right to comment on it in any way. It’s just part of how women are treated in this country–it all goes back to the old, “They are here to tempt men” thing. Shaming a girl who’s wearing short shorts is part of a tradition that forces women to shave their heads and shroud themselves head to toe in shapeless cloth.

  3. Julie Checkoway

    Yes to all!

  4. The idea that girls have to control boy’s behavior pisses me off to no end. Women shouldn’t be removed from society if men can’t control themselves–it’s the men that need removing until they can learn self control. I expect my thirteen-year-old son to control himself–he’s the only one responsible for his actions. Why is that so hard for so many men?

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