A healthy life starts with a healthy vagina.
Yet, many women still feel too embarrassed or ashamed to take care of their intimate health—even when they know something's wrong.
If that sounds like you, you should know you aren't alone.
Most of us were raised in a time when talking about vaginas simply wasn't something you did. Even if our mothers, aunties and grandmothers wanted to educate us on intimate health, they didn't have access to the right information.
Thankfully, the status quo around intimate health is finally changing.
It's a not-so-little movement we like to call, The 'V' Revolution.
Our bodies, our vaginas
For most of us, the book Our Bodies, Ourselves was the single source of truth on our sexual health as women.
What started as the 'bible' of the 1969 women's movement is, to this day, hailed as "America's best-selling book on all aspects of women's health" and a "feminist classic".
But according to a 2014 study by the UK's Gynecological Cancer Research Charity, The Eve Appeal, 50% of young women cannot properly label a vagina on a medical diagram.
Clearly, there's still work to do.
Despite the many advancements women have made in the decades since Our Bodies, Ourselves was published, a woman can spend hours searching the internet for credible intimate health and wellness information, and still come up empty-handed.
As much as we'd like to leave it up to our OB/GYNs, the onus is on us as women to demand better.
So, what can you do?
How to advocate for your vagina
If the idea of joining a revolution that is 100% all about the vagina makes you a little jittery, don't worry.
Joining The 'V' Revolution is easier than you think.
Here are three simple ways to start advocating for your vaginal health, today:
1. Have a conversation
Start by choosing a close friend or family member, someone you can trust.
Then, bite the bullet and say something about your vagina!
Know that it's going to be awkward the first time, but despite the taboos around vaginal health, it is completely OK to open up and talk about what's really going on down there.
After all, men do it all the time!
2. Take a stand
We are so fortunate to be part of an era where all types of women, from all walks of life, are standing arm-in-arm, ready to fight to make the world a better place.
In fact, according to Forbes, "the next Steve Jobs will be a woman".
But it's going to be a rocky road.
Recently, we voiced support for the New York city protests against Facebook’s unfair advertising standards for health companies focused on women, trans people and non-binary people.
Whether it's a women-led business, a local charity or an online petition, stand up for women's health whenever you get the chance.
3. Commit to yourself first
Despite a growing body of research on the importance of self-care, many women simply aren't comfortable putting themselves first.
But the only way to make a change for our daughters and granddaughters, is to start with ourselves.
Give yourself permission to tend to your health in its entirety.
It’s great to lose weight and get fit, but all that hard work won't mean much if you're still uncomfortable in your body.
Educate yourself with the newest information. Modern books about women's intimate health like she-ology by Dr. Sherry Ross are enabling women young and old to break the taboos around discussing our bodies. Dr. Ross's upcoming guide, she-ology: the she-quel will continue this important conversation.
Allow yourself to take active care of that most private, intimate part of you and the rest of your body—and life—will benefit. At the end of the day, that's what The 'V' Revolution is really all about.