Today marks the start of Gynaecological Cancer Awareness Month. This month you can expect to hear all things vaginas from Pretty Normal Me as I team up with the Eve Appeal to end the taboo surrounding gynae issues.
This September the Eve Appeal's main mission is their #IAmAdam campaign which aims to get men talking about gynaecological issues, pointing out that it is very much their issue too and their responsibility to educate themselves. And it can't come soon enough, in a study conducted this year by the Eve Appeal, they found that over half of men (56%), say that they are not comfortable discussing gynaecological health issues with their partners. They found that 21% of 18 to 44 year old men confessed that they simply found it 'too embarrassing'. Almost 1 in 5 men say the they know nothing about gynaecological health issues and don't feel that they need to know 'as it is a female issue.'
Most worrying at all though? The study found that 50% of the men asked couldn't not correctly identify the vagina on a diagram and nearly two thirds of them (61%) were not able to point out the vulva. THE VUVLA GUYS?!
When you take into consideration the fact that 21,000 women a year, 58 women a day, are diagnosed with gynaecological cancer and that only 19% of women said they would like to talk to their partners about gynae health issues they may be experiencing, it is more important than ever that we end this taboo.
There is such a stigma attached to vaginas. To everything gynae-related really. Over half the world has one and the fact that it is still considered so taboo makes me so angry, it actually makes me feel a bit sick.
Reading an article published in the Daily Mail yesterday, revealing these findings, I was shocked and disgusted by the comments. An ignorant bunch at the best of times, this lot of losers have seriously out done themselves. Take a look at what this group of trolls, disguised as normal, nice, family men had to say about something as serious as cancer when you throw a vagina into the mix:
"Man shaming article"
"This is not stuff men need to know..."
"Well, if women would not keep covering up their bits all the time and went about with no knickers on and exposing themselves we would have a much clearer view of what they've got down there"
"As long as you get her knickers off, you're pretty much in the right ball park"
"You don't have to know what i's called. So long as you know what to do with it is all that counts."
"Pss flaps. You missed them off."
"Gimme 10 pints and a kebab. I'll find it then."
"I don't need to name the individual part, I can find the bits I need just fine thanks"
"Easy to find when you want it ;)"
"I'm not a gynaecologist but I'd be happy to take a look if it helps"
"Just follow your nose"
"I prefer to keep a bit of mystery about that zone"
"It's the pink next to the stink - simples!"
"I habe 5 kids, I certainly know where to put my dong-dong."
"Hey ladies, lose the three stone of blubber before you point the finger."
And so it goes on... and on... and on... these were all pulled from the first page.
Sexist, ignorant comment after sexist, ignorant comment.
It's no secret that we live in a society that is not fair to women at the best of times, but if we still cannot talk seriously about these very real and very serious issues surrounding what can actually be life and death issues, then we do not stand a chance of ending the taboo and helping ourselves and the ones that we love.
Half of women wouldn't seek help for persisting bloating, one of the symptoms of ovarian cancer, and 15% wouldn't even go to the doctor if they found a lump or growth in their vagina. That rises to 29% among 25 to 34 year olds. For whatever reason women are not seeking the help that they need when it comes to gynaecological issues and it''s not good enough, we have got to remove this stigma and feeling that our vaginas are something that we shouldn't talk about, whether that be to our friends or our partners. Its anatomical, it's not a sex thing, it's not embarrassing, it's just not.
The Eve Appeal is encouraging both men and women to be more aware of the symptoms and I am BEGGING... this is so important. The Chief Executive, and living legend, Athena Lamnisos said
'These survey results show shockingly low levels of awareness of the symptoms of gynaecological cancer among both men and women. For too many men, women's bodies are still a taboo subject, shrouded in mystery.
We know from the many calls that we receive at the Eve Appeal from men, that they can play a vital role in identifying the symptoms of gynaecological cancer, prompting their partners to visit the GP. Early diagnosis really is the key and can save lives.
This is not about having better sex! It's about men helping women to look after their health. Gynae awareness and taboo busting are all of our responsibility, men and women alike."
She's right guys. Say the damn word. Know your normal. Educate the men in your lives. Look after yourselves, look after each other. TALK.
For more information, please visit the Eve Appeal website HERE.