Unshaved Armpits

By Kate Ringer

She is perched at the top of a steep, concrete step, the curve of her calf accentuated by the strain of her pose. There are her legs, tan and endless; a flip of a sleek ponytail; the seductive pucker of her lips as she peeks over her shoulder and leers at the camera; the strip of her flat belly, framed by her tight black crop top and the Daisy Dukes clinging to her waist; then, finally, her perfect butt, like two crescent suns emerging from the clouds of denim.

I am almost salivating, wanting to shout, “Damn, look at her butt!” but I keep my thoughts to myself.

I am not the best feminist.

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Mother Nature’s Punctuation

225001303_b579d9e89e_zOf all the health topics pertaining to women, menstruation has to be the most commonly swept under the rug. Which is ironic, considering nearly every person with female reproductive organs will experience it. Not only do we not openly discuss the normal, regular occurrence of menstruating itself, we are taught not to talk about anything regarding periods—products, effects on daily life, or serious health concerns. There is a huge cloud of shame that follows a woman’s period almost everywhere in the world that leaves women feeling even more negative towards what can be an already unpleasant experience. Society expects us to hide tampons on our way to the bathroom, keep quiet about painful physical symptoms, and blame normal emotions on PMS.

One of the many detrimental side effects of silence around periods is the lack of knowledge it creates. When there is a stigma attached to a part of your body, some go to extreme efforts to avoid it at all costs. There are so many women who have never even looked at their own vagina, let alone explored and learned about their body during menstruation. I was lucky enough to grow up in a household where looking at and understanding your body was encouraged, which I found to be vital to my wellbeing—especially my reproductive health. The female reproductive system is intensely complicated, and remaining in the dark by not exploring can be dangerous and cause women to feel uncomfortable about speaking up when something is wrong.

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