Tuesday, April 08, 2003

i'm almost late for my own party, folks, how embarassing. - just been too much happening round here lately.

in any way, it is that time of year again.
spring. the birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and it's time for the second international annual labia blogathon.

labia blogathon? like labia...uhm..."down there"?
labia, people.
sarah and i, we invite you to blog about labia with us this coming wednesday and thursday as part of the 2003 annual international labia blogathon.

since the winter of 2000, i've been a volunteer and sexpert at scarleteen, a website run by my friend and scarletletters founder, editor and allround sex goddess heather corinna.
scarleteen provides real life sex education for teens in an open, honest, inclusive way. we provide information that's valuable, realistic, and accessible to teens, without moral jusgement and preaching, - apart from our eternal sermon on condom use, readiness, and contraception, of course.

scarleteen features message boards where users (we have more than 12.000 registered of those at the boards alone) can discuss the information presented at the actual scarleteen site and ask questions.

besides the never-ending "am i pregnant?" questions, we get lots of posts regarding anatomy and body image. - by far the biggest group worrying about the same thing are young women asking for advice because they are upset by the state of their labia.

their issues were, and still are, countless:
many are upset because they deem their labia too large or not symmetrical enough, many think their labia have the wrong colouring or texture or shape. - too many of them express certainty that their labia are abnormal and horrible and that no one is ever going to be interested in having sex with them, ever. they inquire about whether there was any creme or exercise that might decrease the size of their labia, and most also inquire about surgery.

don't believe this labia madness? here's a selection of threads i picked out in a good 15 minutes of looking around the boards:

not supposed to be there · would they think it was weird/gross? · doesn't seem normal at all · kinda wrinkled · can i get it cut off? or do it myself? · any way to make them shrink? · I have vaginal lips that hang down · is this needing surgery? · I look nothing like them down there · my coloring "down there" · getting rid of the "extra labia" · he will be totally turned off · way to get the skin removed through surgery · an operation I can have to get rid of it? · can i have surgery or just cut it off? · too afraid for him to touch me · my boyfriend has had sex with a gurl before and i'm worried that he might like hers more than mine · will guys be freaked out · mine aren't like that

get my drift now? how much time and energy is wasted worrying about labia?! unbelievable, isn't it? how much enjoyable sex is ruined because of these worries?

sarah was acutally asked via email by several lasses if they could cut their inner labia off with scissors.

cut. labia. off. with. scissors.

yes, i too, think that this is a rather disturbing thought. how desperate must someone feel to think about mutilating her genitals with scissors to comply with a perceived ideal genital look?

to me, this labia worry and hate seems to be a part of a general shame many girls feel about their vulvas. - they are rarely encouraged to look at them or touch them, ever.
even if and when gals drop their panties to take a good look at themselves, they are unsure what they are looking at and what's normal and what isn't. - gals simply don't get to see any real images of the variations of vulvas, there are no female genital images in the mainstream media, and vulvas don't conveniently dangle at the front of the body like penises, either, which makes getting an overview and comparing awfully complicated.
most of the girls who come to scarleteen with labia worries have -besides their own vulvas, and i bet most haven't even looked at theirs closely enough- only seen drawn vulva images in biology books or close up porn crotch shots on the internet. - no need to tell you that the latter are often highly photoshopped to make the labia very small and very pink.

it takes a lot of effort to convince gals that labias are normal and healthy in all their variations and that they don't need surgery.

as a reaction to all this labia madness, sarah had the idea last year to get online people together to blog and journal for labia. on april 2nd and 3rd 2002, 20 people of all genders, many of them seasoned sex writers and online-journalists, joined in for two days of blogging and journaling on labia love.
now, a year later, we're doing it again: there's still an enormous need for labia love- ever since the blogathon, sarah has been getting an unbelievable amount of traffic to last years blogathon material on her site from searches concering any variations regarding "ugly labia".

i hereby urge you to join us for some labia loving blogging this week.
even if you don't usually or have never before talked about sex or anatomy in your diary or blog, even if you're a bloke and don't have labia yourself, even if you're a woman who has never wasted a thought on whether her labia were wrong, even if you've never thought much about labia before at all: join us.

on the 9th and 10th of this month, this coming wednesday and thrusday, sarah and i encourage you to take a picture, write a poem, rant or just talk about labia.
voice labia positive thoughts. share experiences. be explicit if you want to. be personal. be general. be political. share cultural observations on genital shame, body dysmorphia and body image and how to overcome it. above all: be honest and positive and loud.

the purpose of our labia blogging is to provide support and encouragement to all these girls and young women out there who waste so much time worrying about their small/big/plump/long/ugly labia, while they all have perfectly healthy, lovable bodies. we want to give them a really positive outlook. our message should be that they're perfect just the way they are. - of course not just in regards to labia.

now how can you participate?
check out our little website. if you have any questions or want to join in and be listed as a contributor, please leave a message with your website details in the labialove guestbook, drop me a line at puenkt_chen@hotmail.com or leave a comment to this post.
if you'd prefer having a look at what happened last year, before you decide to join in, check out the 2002 annual international labia blogathon at sarah's blog.

please participate if you feel comfortable doing so.
should you decide that labia writing isn't your cup of tea, we'd muchly appreciate if you still spread the word about the blogathon and linked to us. - we appreciate any help in blogging for this worthy cause.

thanks in advance - i'm looking forward to your labia loving posts.


anat, first non-scarleteener to join as a contributor this year, send me this great little line in her sign-up email:
"tops and tips
for all our lips!

i second that.