Updated: May 1
Written by Dominnique Karetsos
To my daughter, you will not be invisible.
In a previous blog, I discussed a rather non-traditional (controversial for some) way of introducing my daughter, now seven, to her vulva. This casual biological reveal was done with a mirror and myself next to her, while we navigating our private parts from our toes, on route to the solar plexus, via the vulva.
I was mulled into a false sense of security thinking her curiosity had been satisfied since then. But alas she popped the question. "If I was made in your uterus, womb, tummy (it rotates according to her memory) and I came out of your vagina ( YES, she got it right) - how did I get in there?".
Damn - You would think to be in SexTech I would have the already prepared speech. And I sort of did but quickly realised that my answer was more prepared for a 4-year-old. How quickly motherhood trumps can feel irrelevant.
It still amazes me how six months in kid life is an evolution in adult life. Thankfully I was saved by the bell - literally.
So I decided to revisit my motherhood storyboard. “I had the most amazing, holistic, informed, empowering judgement-free sex education” - said no one ever.
While I trolled through books and information finding very little for little girls, I ended up scrambling back to my very own sex education, all of which left me reeling in anger. Soon realising that I MUST right ( and rewrite) all the wrongs. The shortcomings and damage I believe sex education has burned into our core has me, excuse me for a moment, as a woman - fuming mad, as a human - unforgiving and as a mother - left disorientated and fearful.
I point the finger to centuries of male, medical, political and religious centric socio-scripts that at first opportunity chose to illustrate and communicate puberty haloing boys and their ejaculations. Positively communicating penises associated with pleasure, wet dreams, orgasms and biological rights laden with a sense of conquering and power when one becomes a “MAN”. Books with graphics of male torso’s ( sometimes even with faces) while us girls were merely a faceless bleeding uterus! Some, we didn’t even crack the nod for a full torso, unless breast formation was included. Instead of our puberty and for the vast majority, still does, come with just a warning label ( BEWARE PENIS & DO NOT GET PREGNANT).
Faceless and invisible, our puberty threw all connotations and understanding about pleasure, self-validation, connectivity, sexuality, self-esteem, beauty, feminine power, appreciation for birth and life, orgasms, gratitude or any sense of appreciation for all that our vulva and her accompanying bits could do for us. An appreciation and sense of self-care for our vulva like we do our cholesterol or sugar levels. I think I learned more about what carrots can do for my eyesight and sugar to my blood. In the times when we knew so little about feminine pleasure, I may be lax to empathise with said blames. You can not teach what you do not know. But what is our excuse now? There is none. And as a mother, I will no longer choose to accept that my daughter will grow up invisible. Her sexuality, her pleasure, her self esteem has the right to be heard.