Author(s): Lynn Enright
Guardian's Best Non-Fiction, 2019
From earliest childhood, girls are misled about their bodies, encouraged to describe their genitalia with cute and silly names rather than anatomically correct terms. In our schools and in our culture, we are coy about women while putting straight men's sexuality front and centre. Girls grow up feeling ashamed about their periods, about the appearance of their vulvas, about their own desires. They grow up without a full and honest sex education, and this lack of knowledge has serious consequences: the number of women attending cervical screening appointments in the UK is at a 20-year low while labiaplasty is the fastest growing type of plastic surgery in the world.
Vagina provides girls and women with information they need about their own bodies - about the vagina, the hymen, the clitoris, the orgasm; about conditions like endometriosis and vulvodynia. It confronts taboos, such as abortion, miscarriage, infertility and masturbation. It tackles vital social issues like period poverty, female genital mutilation and the rights of transgender women. It is honest and moving as Lynn Enright shares her personal stories but this is about more than one woman - this is a book that will provoke thousands of conversations. We urgently need to talk about women's sexual and reproductive health, about our experiences of sex and pregnancy and pain and pleasure. Vagina: A Re-Education will help us do just that.