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This gynaecologist has no time for men’s vagina-shaming

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Susan Devaney
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Dr. Jen Gunter has had enough of men explaining vaginas to her, and we’re on board.  

From TV commercials to news stories, as women we’re constantly bombarded with comments about our bodies and how to aesthetically improve them.

And as of late, it’s our vaginas that have been suffering from this pursuit for perfection.

Which is why Dr. Jen Gunter, a gynaecologist and obstetrician based in California, has penned a powerful response to anyone who dares criticise her vagina – especially men.

Gunter – who has consistently debunked myths about vaginas, from vaginal steaming to applying Vicks VapoRub – wants women to abandon the idea of ‘perfection’ and leave their vaginas and vulvas alone.

But, more importantly, she wants men to stop commenting on what they think is ‘wrong’ with them.

Dr. Jen Gunter is standing up for science.

“I know that many other women have had their vaginas explained to them, because for the past 25 years my career has been dedicated to treating vaginal and vulvar problems,” Gunter wrote in an article for The New York Times.

“I have listened to women with completely normal [gynaecological] exams weep that they have been told that they do not smell or taste correctly. That they are too wet, or too loose, or too gross.

“These women all shared something: they were told these things by men.”

After writing a personal story on her blog about how a previous boyfriend tried to make her feel bad about her own vagina, articles about it appeared online – including on the New York Post, accompanied by a headline blaming her “vagina smell” as the reason for the split. Gunter says she then received a whole host of abuse – from men.

“More men sought me out to explain vaginas to me. They gave me false information on how to clean and prep them (for men, of course), and told me how gross my vagina must be, and hurled insults that I cannot print here,” she wrote.

And yet “there are few people, if any, who know more about the lower genital tract than I do.”

Which is why Gunter used her article to send a message to every woman who has “been told they were too wet, too dry, too messy, too smelly, too gross, too saggy or too bloody”.

“If someone speaks to you about your body with anything but kindness and concern, it is he who has a problem,” she writes. “And: the vagina is like a self-cleaning oven.”

The takeaway? Your vagina is normal. If you have a medical concern, consult a doctor – not the latest fad promising ‘perfection’.

Images: Riki Ramdani

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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for Stylist.co.uk, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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