Health practitioner discusses vaginal care

A health practitioner for the Student Health Center gave a lecture on vaginal health and care as a part of Sex Week 2016.

Humanities and Social Sciences building //photo by Courtney Anderson

Anita Blatnik, a women’s health practitioner from the Student Health Center, gave a presentation on women’s health titled “An Owner’s Guide to Your Package: Vagina Edition.”

The class was held Wednesday, April 6, in the Humanities and Social Sciences building, as a part of UT’s 2016 Sex Week. 

Blatnik began by reminding the small audience that genitalia is the same in every person until about ten weeks of gestation.

“It’s not until about five months when you can first start to see some differentiation, under the influence of testosterone,” she said.

Though people are getting more comfortable with the word “vagina,” Blatnik said, there is still a bit of a stigma on actually discussing functions and characteristics of vaginal anatomy, which causes many people to have unspoken worries or discomforts about their genitalia.

Throughout the talk, Blatnik addressed many of the concerns and insecurities that people often have about vaginas and other genitalia. She specifically addressed fears that one’s genitalia is in some way abnormal.

“A lot of women have started having surgeries to make their vaginas look like whatever ‘normal’ is,” Blatnik said.

She also noted the recent “feminine soap” craze, which perpetuates the culturally constructed idea that female genitalia is dirty and requires special cleansing.

“We live in a society that makes money from different products that are not necessary,” Blatnik said. “All these ads prey on fears that a vagina is not normal in some way, whether its look, size, shape or smell.”

“A vagina is supposed to have a musky smell, it’s not supposed to smell like flowers,” she said. “There are so many things on the market but a vagina doesn’t need anything, it’s self cleaning.”

Blatnik also talked about recent shaving trends, saying that it’s something that really took off with the advent of in-home pornography viewing in the 1980s and the introduction of the Brazilian wax and the show “Sex and the City” in the next decades.

“It’s purely aesthetic, not hygienic,” Blatnik said. “We don’t know what pubic hair does, so it’s up to you whether you shave it or not.”

Finally, Blatnik urged the audience members to obtain Guardisil shots if they hadn’t already done so, which are free at the Student Health Center.

“In summary,” Blatnik said, “leave your vagina alone. It doesn’t need soaps, it doesn’t need dyes.”

Edited by Courtney Anderson

Featured image by Courtney Anderson