Shame on you Seventeen!

Va-jey-jey? Does anyone know what that word means? I guess it's slang for vagina, like on the new cover of Seventeen. And no, I was not reading Seventeen. I just happened to catch glimpse of it while at Walmart playing my favorite game (who ever spots the fattest, ugliest, and down right trashiest person at Walmart wins). We call it the Walmart game, and sometime maybe I'll photographically document it for you.

But back to the va-jey-jey. Tell me, have you ever used that word in reference to your vagina, or someone else's? If so, find the biggest dictionary you can and slap yourself in the face with it. It's called a vagina, as in V-A-G-I-N-A. Say it out loud with me ladies. Oh wait, might someone hear you? Might they snicker at the dirty word coming out of your mouth? Fuck them!

Do you want to know what my biggest problem was when I was seventeen? It wasn't acne, or dating, or grades, it was my fear of my vagina! It's true, me, the sexually liberated self proclaimed masturbater, was once afraid of my vagina. And do you want to know why?

No, it has nothing to do with an unfortunate experience with porn at a young age.

It was because the older women in my life didn't teach me how to embrace my vagina, and the older men in my life, like my evil step-father, taught me my vagina was a dangerous thing.

I'll never forget the first time I had my period; I was fifteen and at a friends birthday party. I went to the bathroom and found blood in my underwear. And as much as it pains me to admit it, I didn't know the brown goopy substance in my panties was blood. It took me the better part of an hour of pondering to figure out what was going on. And then do you know what I did?

I hid it because, well, I was ashamed. I had watched my step-father tease my mother for being on the "rag", which is in its self a rather unpleasant name. He would refer to my premenstrual mother as a crabby bitch, blame everything on her PMS, and make fun of her whenever she bought tampons.

So can't you see why I wouldn't want to tell anyone? I felt ashamed that I had a vagina, and I can honestly blame that shame on the way people like my step-father objectified anything vagina related.

A few months later my younger sister Mindy had her first period, but because I hid my first period everyone assumed she was the first of my sisters and I to start menstruating. I was OK with that because it gave me a chance to see how everyone would react, which I consider nothing short of a disaster.

First, my mother got on the phone and called everyone, and I mean everyone. Now, being a mother myself I understand the need to gossip about your kids. But when a girl gets her first period, that's a difficult moment in life for her. The last thing she wants to see is you, the mother she confides in, babbling to the world her very private information. I was mortified that my mother would call my aunt and my grandmother and tell them. I was too ashamed of having a period to let anyone know, but there my mom was breaking my sister's trust and sharing it with the whole world. What would come next? Pictures on the internet of the whole ordeal? As confused as I was by keeping my first period a secret, I was glad at that moment I chose the lonely path versus a national broadcast.

And you think that would have been enough for a young girl, but then my mother sent my sister with my step-dad to buy her first box of maxi pads. I'm not an expert or anything, but I'd say my mom really fucked up on that one. How could she send my sister off with a man who's personal logo was "don't trust anything that bleeds for a week and doesn't die" to purchase her first box of feminine hygiene products?

Because of that experience I hid my menstruation from my family for a year, a whole fucking year. Do you know what that can do to a girl?

For me, that was a very confusing time, and if my mother had simply taken a moment to sit me down and discuss vaginas in a safe environment, maybe she could have told me having a period was not as big a deal as she made it out to be, maybe she could have taught me the basics of vaginas and why they can be so spectacular, maybe they could have covered it in school. Just imagine a class called Vaginas 101: everything you need to know.

But you know what else would have been great? If I had an outside source to turn to, like maybe I could have used a friendly reference in a magazine I often read when I was younger, like Seventeen!

But not even Seventeen, a magazine dedicated to young girls of the proper age, can get the vagina thing right. Their first mistake was referring to it as a va-jey-jey. Are they trying to tell young girls through subliminal messages that "yes indeed, you should be so ashamed of your vagina that you can't even call it what it is."

I couldn't bare to buy the magazine so I could see what the article said, but the topic was "Your va-jey-jey, ten things you didn't know about your girlie parts."

I know it's illegal to put a vagina on the cover of a magazine unless it's sold in a porn store, or with a big black cover over it, but is it illegal to put the word vagina on the cover of a magazine? Is that why Seventeen feels the need to sugarcoat the topic.

That title should have read, "Your vagina, ten things your mother should have told you."

Seriously people, our youth do not need a sugar coating, they need the raw and unprocessed truth. I can't imagine the number of STD cases and teen pregnancies that could be prevented every year if only parents were more willing to toss the sugar coating and give their teenagers the cold hard facts straight up, no ice.

I know this because I became pregnant as a teenager. And do you know why? It wasn't just because I was having sex, it was also because I was so ashamed of my vagina I was too afraid to get on birth control.

OK, it wasn't so much the birth control that scared me, but the process a girl has to go through to get it. Mainly, pap smears. And for a girl who hid her period from her family for a whole year, opening her legs up so a stranger can poke around is a really scary thought.

So we tried condoms, but I think all of us can remember back to a time when we were teenagers, weren't we stupid? I'd think to myself, I just had my period last week, so I'm OK to have unprotected sex this week. Boy was I am idiot.

I've also discovered that teenage boys are not raised to feel ashamed of their penis' the way girls are of their vaginas. Heck, young boys are encouraged to enjoy the pleasures a penis can give them. Take the movie American Pie for example. remember the part where the dad gives porn to his younger son? But you never see a mother sitting down with her daughter to give her her first vibrator.

When my ex-husband got the sex talk from his father it went like this:

"Son, sex is good."

When my step-dad sat me down and gave me "the talk" it went something like this:

"Don't be a tramp, keep your legs closed."

Does anyone else see a problem with this? While he was told that sex was good I was told sex made me a tramp. Geeze, no wonder I got knocked up at seventeen. Hell, if my step-dad had told me not to jump off a bridge I would have done it just to piss him off. I guess being a rebellious teenager didn't work out so well for me though.

Now I'm older, I've gone out and searched for the sexual education my mother should have given me. I've discovered a period is not the mark of the devil, touching myself is OK, men like my step-dad are pigs who will eventually end up with a bad case of the clap, and we (as a society) need cut the va-jey-jey, sexual education is not a place for sugar coatings.

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