The Vagina Dialogues: conversations around women's bodies
LE3 .A278 2016
Bachelor of Arts
The complexity of female genitalia is frequently ignored in school based sexual education as well as contemporary discussion of the female body. Conversations of female genitalia are often uncomfortable for participants according to contemporary research. The current study looks at the ways in which language and education shape experiences with discussions of female genitalia. The historical production of anatomical and medical knowledge, as well as the women’s self-help movement in the 1970s, are used to contextualize the results of a survey of 282 students at an Eastern Canadian University and their experiences with genital education, language usage and comfort. Drawing on cross-tabulation and logistic regression analyses, the findings revealed that early socialization regarding the female genitals as shameful and mysterious made future conversations of female genitalia more uncomfortable, despite respondents indicating that they are comfortable discussing female genitalia. The research found that there is a lack of knowledge of the specific female genital organs, particularly in regards to the vulva, and the conflation of the vagina and vulva is problematic for educated understanding of the complexity of the female genital organs.
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