Offended by my shirt?

I have a vulva on my shirt.

Why? Well, I love vulvas. But I also teach people about them, and the shirt is for a sexual health organization I’m a part of. As you can see, it’s not a huge, graphic picture of a vulva. Just a small, contained vulva within the circle of the symbol for “female”.

The shirt itself has so far proven itself to be a fabulous teaching tool…except in one incident. I was wearing it downtown yesterday, and an older woman tapped me on the shoulder and asked me why I needed to feel the need to wear a shirt with a vagina on it.

My instinctive response was, “Lady, it’s not a VAGINA it’s a VULVA. Get yo shit straight!”

My actual response was different (yay thinking before speaking). I told her that I love vulvas, and that I also teach people about them.

She told me that regardless of my love for vulvas, my shirt is unnecessarily obscene. Then she walked off. She never gave me a chance to respond.

So, lady, if you’re out there somewhere, I just wanted to tell you…

My vulva isn’t obscene. And neither is a cartoon of it.

It never ceases to surprise me how many women support the war that is waged on bodies. You’d think they would have had enough of the bullshit. For the 2094382039420394820394th fucking time, there is nothing shameful about a naked body nor any of its individual parts. We all have ‘em people.


there’s no shame in toes
there’s no shame in feet
there’s no shame in calves
there’s no shame in knees
there’s no shame in thighs
there’s no shame in buttocks
there’s no shame in hips
there’s no shame in tummies
there’s no shame in backs
there’s no shame in shoulders
there’s no shame in necks
there’s no shame in arms
there’s no shame in fingers
there’s no shame in ears
there’s no shame in eyes
there’s no shame in mouths
there’s no shame in hair
there’s no shame in BREASTS and
there’s no shame in VULVAS
.

One step at a time.

5 Tips to Improve Your Self Esteem

Here are 5 things that I feel helped to drastically improve my self-esteem, and more specifically, my body image over the last 3 years.

1. Stop reading fashion magazines/body building magazines/stupid shit that glorifies unrealistic bodies. These are a huge culprit for poor body image. By bombarding you with unrealistic images, it’s easier to sell you things to fix yourself. The continued viewing of these images conditions us into the ideal of the magazine instead of an ideal that is healthy for our various body shapes.

2. Spend time naked. Routinely and as MUCH as you can! It helped me to get comfortable in my own skin. At first it felt awkward, but over the last year, I’ve come to love being naked with myself. Check out your body in the mirror. Don’t criticize, just explore. Identify all of the marks, spots, and bumps that are unique to you.

3. Exercise and eat well. Take care of your body so that it can take care of you. Learn to cook (YouTube has a TON of great tutorials and recipes!) so that you can feed it yummy, healthy foods. Save the salty, sugary, fatty foods for special occasions. These are hard on your body and will make you feel icky. Also strive to get at least a half hour of activity every day. If you’re like me, it helps to change up the activity so you don’t get bored!

4. When you notice yourself making judgment calls about your own body or other peoples’ bodies, step back and think about it. When I first started this, it was a near constant inner dialogue to work through my concepts of bodies and beauty. Consciously correct yourself before you move on. Remind yourself why it’s unproductive to judge, affirm your self love, and set a precedent to be more positive next time. This exercise works to build your self-awareness. The more self-aware you are, the easier it is to let go of the negative influences around you. I think this had the most effect for me.

5. Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself. Get rid of friends that expect you to live up to a certain physical standard and/or judge you for your body – I’ve found these aren’t real friends. They are offering you a relationship contingent on your physical appearance. If you are striving to accept and love yourself, it naturally follows that you need to be in the presence of people who do the same. If you notice your friends being body negative, use it as an opportunity to start a conversation about their judgment. With continued conversation, your friends might hop on board toward a healthier view of themselves and others right along with you! Using a gentle, genuine tone and the right questions, I’ve strengthened a hand full of friendships using these kinds of dialog:

i.e.:

Friend: Wow, look at that cow!
You: Why are you calling her a cow?

Friend: What the fuck is she wearing?
You: What does it matter what she wears?

Friend: Ewww look how little he is!
You: Little compared to what?

Best of luck. <3