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Vagina: A Re-education

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Part memoir, part practical guide to the vagina, this indispensable book sifts through myths and misinformation with the aim of empowering women with vital knowledge about their own bodies. For centuries, the vagina has been made mysterious, neglected, mutilated or mocked, and as a consequence few people know much about it. In Vagina: A Re-Education, acclaimed journalist Ly Part memoir, part practical guide to the vagina, this indispensable book sifts through myths and misinformation with the aim of empowering women with vital knowledge about their own bodies. For centuries, the vagina has been made mysterious, neglected, mutilated or mocked, and as a consequence few people know much about it. In Vagina: A Re-Education, acclaimed journalist Lynn Enright charts the story of this crucial organ, encompassing fertility and hormones, pain and arousal, sex education and more, with the goal of empowering women with vital knowledge about their bodies. As women all over the world join together in conversations about consent and power, this investigation into the history, biology and politics of the vagina will be a valuable and urgent addition to the discussion.


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Part memoir, part practical guide to the vagina, this indispensable book sifts through myths and misinformation with the aim of empowering women with vital knowledge about their own bodies. For centuries, the vagina has been made mysterious, neglected, mutilated or mocked, and as a consequence few people know much about it. In Vagina: A Re-Education, acclaimed journalist Ly Part memoir, part practical guide to the vagina, this indispensable book sifts through myths and misinformation with the aim of empowering women with vital knowledge about their own bodies. For centuries, the vagina has been made mysterious, neglected, mutilated or mocked, and as a consequence few people know much about it. In Vagina: A Re-Education, acclaimed journalist Lynn Enright charts the story of this crucial organ, encompassing fertility and hormones, pain and arousal, sex education and more, with the goal of empowering women with vital knowledge about their bodies. As women all over the world join together in conversations about consent and power, this investigation into the history, biology and politics of the vagina will be a valuable and urgent addition to the discussion.

30 review for Vagina: A Re-education

  1. 5 out of 5

    ~Bookishly

    Do I have a vagina? Yes. Do I let that define me? No. This book is a must read for everyone, whether one has a vagina or not. Even at my current age, I'm not embarrassed to admit, that I found this book educating, and there were a few aspects that Enright discussed, that I didn't know much about. That for me, is pretty damn embarrassing, that even today, girls and women are having to turn to books instead of well-rounded open discussions, because people are too embarrassed to talk about vaginas. W Do I have a vagina? Yes. Do I let that define me? No. This book is a must read for everyone, whether one has a vagina or not. Even at my current age, I'm not embarrassed to admit, that I found this book educating, and there were a few aspects that Enright discussed, that I didn't know much about. That for me, is pretty damn embarrassing, that even today, girls and women are having to turn to books instead of well-rounded open discussions, because people are too embarrassed to talk about vaginas. We learn that many women do not know where the vulva is located, and they presume that the vagina is in fact, the entire area. This information didn't surprise me, but I did find it quite disturbing when I thought about it on the whole. Why is this happening? Why is it not talked about? I was sickened to learn about women and young girls that put themselves through pointless surgery to achieve the designer vagina look. I mean, we already have the pressure of ensuring that our hips don't get too big, or that we don't get wrinkly skin too rapidly, but now, now we have the added pressure that our labia lips look "neat." Enright tells us of the taboo of the clitoris, and how it isn't discussed in sex education classes. Yes, it gets a little mention, but to tell girls that the clitoris has no other function except to give pleasure? How terrible would that be? It is concerning that the male climax is regularly and openly discussed, and how his pleasure is more important, but the female climax, is quietly swept under that carpet we know so well. It needs to change, and I agree with Enright. Enright discusses the menstruation taboo, openly and thoroughly. We have to admit, it STILL exists. I think it's sad when I see a woman at a checkout purchasing sanitary products, and she feels the need to kind of hide them, under the other groceries, just so nobody spots them. We bleed. The pain bothers me like a bitch. Life goes on. It is as though as women, we are made to feel as though we are dirty. I love the cover of this book, it is simple, but bold, and it made me want to read it. I appreciate Enright and her honesty in this book, and her own personal story was relatable with me, too. This has made me feel even more empowered, and prouder than ever, of me, myself and my vagina. "We have been far taught more about shame than about our anatomy. "

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emer (A Little Haze)

    I am more than my vagina. I am more than my ovaries. I need to and I want to know more about my vagina and ovaries and my sexual and reproductive health. I need to and I want to know about my hormones. But I am more than that. I am more than a fluctuation in oestrogen. I am more than an angry woman. We are all more than our genitals and our gender. We all deserve a life that is not defined by our genitals and our gender. Let’s stay furious until society recognises that. Let’s talk. Let’s hope I am more than my vagina. I am more than my ovaries. I need to and I want to know more about my vagina and ovaries and my sexual and reproductive health. I need to and I want to know about my hormones. But I am more than that. I am more than a fluctuation in oestrogen. I am more than an angry woman. We are all more than our genitals and our gender. We all deserve a life that is not defined by our genitals and our gender. Let’s stay furious until society recognises that. Let’s talk. Let’s hope. Let’s make. Let’s remake. Let’s educate. Let’s re-educate. This is an excellent book on all that it means to be female with reference to sexual and reproductive health. It aims to bring the vagina, vulva, clitoris, menstruation, menopause and all the other various aspects of female health out from the murky shadows. Why is it that period pain is so acceptable? Why is period poverty a real thing? Why is it that period blood is portrayed as friendly blue liquid in advertising? Why are women taught to be shamed by their bodies? Why do we dismiss the menopause as just another part of life? Why are women told they are hysterical or just too sensitive to pain? Why is there a standard that vaginas are supposed to like like? Why are we taught that vaginas are merely receptacles for the penis? Why are women thought of as baby carrying vessels? Why is women’s sexual pleasure not more openly discussed? Why is more not done to cater to women with vaginal pain due to dryness and thinning skin during and after menopause? Why does it take on average seven years to diagnose a woman with endometriosis? Why is there no cure for so many women’s reproductive health related illnesses? I could go on... This book is very informative and written in an incredibly accessible manner. I’m more than intimately familiar with my own vulva and reproductive health since I experienced excruciating pain from my very first menstrual bleed when I was 11 and had to suffer years of being dismissed as a hysterical woman so much of what is in this book I already knew. And at times it felt rather repetitive and somewhat prosaic. But a lot of what is in the book is not common knowledge. Although I was unaware that there are sheet masks for your vulva to plump it up... I mean wtf? Please people... do not give your vaginas facials. I mean the hint is in the word ‘facial’... they’re for the face. Your vagina is self cleaning and you do not need to interfere with its natural flora with unnecessary and potentially dangerous things like vaginal douches. I would highly recommend this not only to all women, cis or trans (the book aims to inclusive of all female experiences), but to everyone out there who identifies as male so that we can open up the dialogue about women’s health issues and begin to rid the shame and stigmas associated with women’s reproductive health. For more reviews and book related chat check out my blog

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    (3.5) This book might be more accurately titled Vulva, as it is about the whole set of female organs (especially the external ones), but that’s maybe a more obscure/icky as well as a less evocative/provocative word. Sex education is poor and lacking in many parts of the world, Enright argues, including the Ireland she grew up in in the 1980s. We need better knowledge about gender, anatomy (including the range of what’s ‘normal’) and issues of consent, she insists. To that end, she sets out to bu (3.5) This book might be more accurately titled Vulva, as it is about the whole set of female organs (especially the external ones), but that’s maybe a more obscure/icky as well as a less evocative/provocative word. Sex education is poor and lacking in many parts of the world, Enright argues, including the Ireland she grew up in in the 1980s. We need better knowledge about gender, anatomy (including the range of what’s ‘normal’) and issues of consent, she insists. To that end, she sets out to bust myths about the hymen, clitoris, female orgasm, menstruation, gynaecological problems, infertility, pregnancy and menopause. Her just-the-facts approach is especially helpful in her rundown of the female anatomy. She encourages women not to take no for an answer from doctors who try to deny or minimize their pain. This is a bold book sometimes marred by TMI (all in the name of openness and honesty, but still…) and repetitive writing. For me, there was too much overlap with other books I’ve read over the last five years or so: Naomi Wolf’s Vagina: A New Biography, a book that I never reviewed but that made enough of an impression on me to earn 5 stars and embolden me to read it on public transport during my London commuting days; The Wonder Down Under: A user’s guide to the vagina by two female Norwegian medical students; Gross Anatomy by Mara Altman (on waxing); and the recent Notes to Self by Emilie Pine (rape, menstruation and infertility) and the upcoming Constellations by Sinéad Gleeson (women’s pain), both of them Irish writers like Enright. Thus, after about page 50 I just skimmed this one. If you haven’t read anything like Vagina before, though, it would serve as a wonderfully comprehensive introduction. Some favorite lines: “With vaginas, it seems, we doubt what we know. With vaginas, we listen to the lies, more than we listen to the truth. … We perpetuate the unsureness with our silences – and with our acceptance of lies.” “Pregnancy, abortion, miscarriage and birth are common but extraordinary – each story is unique. Women benefit when those stories are told – and listened to.”

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cátia Vieira

    Why should you read this book? Vagina: A Re-Education by Lynn Enright was published last March and it’s an incredible book! I truly recommend it to everyone out there. You know I don’t say these things often but that’s how enlightening this book is! It is a fact: we know very little about vaginas and female sexuality because we live in a patriarchal society. Women aren’t taught to discover their body, their sexuality, their pleasure, their power. They are taught shame. When we look at the male’s e Why should you read this book? Vagina: A Re-Education by Lynn Enright was published last March and it’s an incredible book! I truly recommend it to everyone out there. You know I don’t say these things often but that’s how enlightening this book is! It is a fact: we know very little about vaginas and female sexuality because we live in a patriarchal society. Women aren’t taught to discover their body, their sexuality, their pleasure, their power. They are taught shame. When we look at the male’s experience, we notice that it’s a different one. That needs to change. Vagina: A Re-Education sheds light on a number of topics: female anatomy, the hymen and its myths, the clitoris (including issues like FGM), female orgasm and masturbation, periods, women’s health, fertility, pregnancy and menopause. It also asks you questions like ‘are you a feminist if you wax your pubic hair’? Lynn Enright uses clear language turning this into a very accessible and interesting read. I’d also like to point out the merits of this research. The writer always supports her arguments and I think that’s crucial. We were in need of this book! I’d like to thank Atlantic Books for sending a review copy. For more reviews, follow me on instagram: @booksturnyouon

  5. 4 out of 5

    Portia (The Owlery Reader)

    I want to give a copy of this to every person in my life with a vagina. And then some. It's so informative, interesting, readable, and IMPORTANT. It reaffirmed a lot of my existing knowledge and views, but also re-educated me about a lot of things I thought I knew. I learned so much and so much made me angry. It talks about biology and science in an accessible way, backs up facts with statistics and references, but also includes personal stories and anecdotes that make it engaging and relatable. I want to give a copy of this to every person in my life with a vagina. And then some. It's so informative, interesting, readable, and IMPORTANT. It reaffirmed a lot of my existing knowledge and views, but also re-educated me about a lot of things I thought I knew. I learned so much and so much made me angry. It talks about biology and science in an accessible way, backs up facts with statistics and references, but also includes personal stories and anecdotes that make it engaging and relatable. The author acknowledges their white cisgender and heterosexual perspective as not being universal and makes a conscious effort to include statistics and stories from trans and non-binary people, as well as non-Western countries and ethnic minorities within Western countries. Seriously, every person with a vagina should read this, every person teaching sex ed should read this, every person making political decisions about women's healthcare should read this.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tilly

    5 stars This is a book that all girls at the age of 16 and up should read. Had I read this book at 16, I feel I would have been much better prepared for life! It is incredibly informative about a range of issues from sex education to menopause, the female genitals to periods and fertility to orgasms. It is factual yet an easy read and if you read it and don't learn a few things then I will eat my metaphorical hat. As someone with endometriosis and other gynaecological illnesses, I have done my fa 5 stars This is a book that all girls at the age of 16 and up should read. Had I read this book at 16, I feel I would have been much better prepared for life! It is incredibly informative about a range of issues from sex education to menopause, the female genitals to periods and fertility to orgasms. It is factual yet an easy read and if you read it and don't learn a few things then I will eat my metaphorical hat. As someone with endometriosis and other gynaecological illnesses, I have done my fair share of reading on the subject but still I learnt new things! Women's health has been misinformed, under researched/funded and ignored for way too long. In the last few years many modern books looking into the female anatomy and health have been released and I have read the vast majority of them. They focus in more detail on specific gynaecological illness, feminism and the body and periods. This book looks into all ofnthese matters in a structured and informed manner. It isn't a scientific book but it is incredibly well written and researched book on everything that you want to know about the vagina and everything that stems from it (even quite literally!). There are case studies, quotes from specialists, the authors own experience and information from scientific studies and polls. It is a fantastic little book that I think everyone should read, irrespective of gender. Go get your copy now...!! Please note that I was gifted this book in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Great read, very informative and also highly readable. It helpfully highlighted a number of things I had failed to considered, for example the intentional invisibility of menopause in mainstream films, television and media. While in some regards it left me wanting more information, I also think it is a book I will turn to again over the years to come.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    I was lucky enough to win this in a Facebook competition run by the publishers (along with a pretty awesome tote bag). Enright covers various vagina related topics such as basic biology, sex, menstruation and childbirth. She also discusses personal stories about her own experiences and how women's bodies are and have always been controlled by men and the patriarchy. I found this very well-written and quite informative. It's certainly a book worth reading.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    An ARC ebook copy of this book was provided by Atlantic Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. An absolutely must-read for anyone who has a vagina, and I would go as far as recommending it to anyone who is open-minded and in a close intimate relationship with someone who has a vagina. I learnt so much, it is outrageous thinking that I have lived 23 years of my life not knowing the basics of what having a vagina implies. It is tremendously enriching, surprising and empowering. The o An ARC ebook copy of this book was provided by Atlantic Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. An absolutely must-read for anyone who has a vagina, and I would go as far as recommending it to anyone who is open-minded and in a close intimate relationship with someone who has a vagina. I learnt so much, it is outrageous thinking that I have lived 23 years of my life not knowing the basics of what having a vagina implies. It is tremendously enriching, surprising and empowering. The only problem I found in the book is that in some sections the balance between historical facts, scientific and biological facts, feminist theory/claims and the author's experiences is lost. At some points it felt like the author hadn't found enough feminist critics talking about certain topics, and specially around the 20% of the book I felt more feminist responses were needed. Nevertheless, in the rest of the book the balance is adjusted according to the needs of each chapter and topic. However, the book does an amazing job at putting out there a lot of information that usually is not within reach. I - a 23 year old woman that is not planning to have children any time soon and has her period regularly - still enjoyed reading the "pregnancy" and "menopause" parts. They were extremely enlightening and made me reconsider many things about the effects and consequences of having a vagina and its implications. All in all, please, read it - specially if you have a vagina.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital vital

  11. 5 out of 5

    April Leigh

    Originally gave this a 4... but i keep talking about it to everyone ! The sex education and fertility stuff in particular. It really is mindblowing how little we know about our own bodies once your eyes are opened to it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gayle Noble

    Enright's book on the vagina (and the vulva, as they are not one and the same despite most people using the term vagina for the whole area) looks at why it is that so many people don't know anatomical detail or what a healthy and normal vulva looks like, and why women's health and sexual satisfaction seem to be afterthoughts. From the coy naming of the parts through the hiding or downplaying of menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, this book spells it all out, but Enright also reiterates that Enright's book on the vagina (and the vulva, as they are not one and the same despite most people using the term vagina for the whole area) looks at why it is that so many people don't know anatomical detail or what a healthy and normal vulva looks like, and why women's health and sexual satisfaction seem to be afterthoughts. From the coy naming of the parts through the hiding or downplaying of menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, this book spells it all out, but Enright also reiterates that we are more than our reproductive organs. It will annoy you that girls are made to feel they need plastic surgery on their genitals to look "normal", that it takes years of pain to get a diagnosis of endometriosis, and that fertility issues are automatically assumed to be on the woman's part even though it's not always the case. This is an inclusive no-nonsense guide for anyone with a vulva and vagina who wants to know more. I really wish this book had been around when I was in my early teens. Thanks to NetGalley and publishers, Atlantic Books / Allen & Unwin, for the opportunity to review an ARC.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Angelique

    This was hard to read, because it’s like female pleasure was mutilated, denied, rejected and women died because patriarchy/controlling women. It’s written well and there were a few things I didn’t know in there. In the end she asks some pretty tough questions about female representation. She knows that trans women are women, but wants cervix information to not just say people with cervixes but women and people with cervixes. And I see her point, but think that the further we get away from the gen This was hard to read, because it’s like female pleasure was mutilated, denied, rejected and women died because patriarchy/controlling women. It’s written well and there were a few things I didn’t know in there. In the end she asks some pretty tough questions about female representation. She knows that trans women are women, but wants cervix information to not just say people with cervixes but women and people with cervixes. And I see her point, but think that the further we get away from the gender binary the better. Would recommend it to others, as long as they were prepared for alllllllll the misogyny. Yikes.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bernard O'Leary

    I'm not a vagina owner myself but I am interested in lived experiences outside my own. This book is fine, I guess, but it's written in that very 2010s tone of an opinion column or tweetstorm, with lots of bombast and not a huge amount of original research.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Katie Biscuit

    A well researched book really enjoyed some of the sections others not so much but a really needed book and a must read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Although the information in this book has been shared before, this concise work brings it altogether in an engaging read. Highly recommended for everyone, but especially those that have a vagina and to consider for use to update Sex-Ed curriculum.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Adrienne | read.gram.repeat

    4.5 stars! Most of us receive incomplete and dishonest sex education if we receive any at all so this book starts with the anatomical basics. Especially since a majority of women cannot identify their vulva. It discusses social issues like transgender rights. Enright also confronts taboos and misinformation from masturbation to menopause and everything in between. If you have a vagina READ THIS. If you don’t have a vagina, read it anyways because you know people with vaginas.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andi

    This book is easy to read, the author is considerate to her audience and is straight to the point with no waffle. She discusses her own personal feelings and experiences, some which are comical, others sadly aren't. A good book that was well worth the read. Thanks to NetGalley, Lynn Enright and Atlantic Books for the opportunity to read and review this book

  19. 4 out of 5

    Annabel

    This was an interesting book with some good points. It is interesting how male genitalia is known by everyone but the most basic of female anatomy is misnamed by almost everyone. The end got a bit boring, but there is definitely stuff to think about in here

  20. 4 out of 5

    Zainab

    Wow every once in a while a book comes by that you think "I wish everyone would read this book", this is one of them. So so good, I found it really educational, empowering and couldn't put it down. Highly recommend.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐ "The stigma surrounding the vulva means that knowledge is not as impervious to doubt as it should be. Even when we know the facts, we do not trust what we know. There are entrie industries and systems that flourish and prosper when our knowledge about our vulvas is compromised and undermined. The cosmetic surgery industry, the beauty industry, anyone with a fear of female sexuality, anyone who can profit from that fear." ••• Idk I just love learning about vulvas and historical and current atti ⭐⭐⭐⭐ "The stigma surrounding the vulva means that knowledge is not as impervious to doubt as it should be. Even when we know the facts, we do not trust what we know. There are entrie industries and systems that flourish and prosper when our knowledge about our vulvas is compromised and undermined. The cosmetic surgery industry, the beauty industry, anyone with a fear of female sexuality, anyone who can profit from that fear." ••• Idk I just love learning about vulvas and historical and current attitudes towards women's problems!! I find it so fascinating (and enraging), almost certainly my because it's something that we grew up being told not to talk about, and have consequently been denied crucial knowledge on our entire lives. ••• "Making art or staging a protest about a crucial aspect of women's rights does not mean that we are denying other aspects of women's or marginalised people's rights. Vaginas and vulvas are not just a concern for privelidged women, some unseen suburban or white feminist woman. All around the world: in suburbubs, in cities, in villages, in prisons, in homes, in schools there are women who are abused or hurt or mutilated because they have a vagina and a vulva. Belittling feminism that involves the vagina and the vulva risks further stigmatising the vagina and the vulva; risks allowing that hurt to continue." ••• This book includes the anatomy of the vulva (and its historical controversy, both in the personal and social domain, and medical journals), orgasms, Female Genital Mutilation, childbirth, menopause, trans inclusion, fertility, feminism, cosmetic surgeries and other vulva-altering treatments, whether for cosmetic or medical purposes and a lot of terrifying statistics surrounding these subjects. ••• "We are denied facts about our own bodies because female bodies have been ignored and overlooked by science. We are told lies about our own bodies because consumer good companies and media organisations can make money from our fearful ignorance." ••• "There is sometimes a sense that to be a feminist who cares about vaginas is to be a person who does not care about trans rights. I reject this notion completely. To put it plainly, I think the suggestion that a woman can't care about vaginas and trans rights is deeply misogynistic."

  22. 5 out of 5

    Niamh

    'I am more than my vagina. I am more than my ovaries.' I was very kindly given an e-ARC of this book through Netgalley, Allen & Unwin and Atlantic Books. If you ever needed a guidebook to the modern-day vagina, this is the one that should be pressed into your hands. Perhaps this book should be made required reading in schools that get squeamish about teaching proper sex education to girls and young women. All across the world, even in the most economically prosperous societies, people with vagina 'I am more than my vagina. I am more than my ovaries.' I was very kindly given an e-ARC of this book through Netgalley, Allen & Unwin and Atlantic Books. If you ever needed a guidebook to the modern-day vagina, this is the one that should be pressed into your hands. Perhaps this book should be made required reading in schools that get squeamish about teaching proper sex education to girls and young women. All across the world, even in the most economically prosperous societies, people with vaginas are not being taught about them. Sex education, when it exists, is often awful. For me and my Catholic school education, where the only unplanned pregnancy they accepted was the one that happened to a 14 year old Virgin Mary, this book was completely eye-opening. Enright is always on the mark, exploring sex education, the anatomy of the vagina- both internal and external- menstruation, menopause, sex education for LGBTQIA+ people, trans and intersex opinions on vaginas, pregnancy, abortion and everything else that we as women and non-binary pals should already know. It's a testament to how shitty sex-ed is in the UK that I found myself learning a new thing on every other page. She writes with transparency and simplified explorations of the female anatomy so anyone can understand what's going on. This is an excellent look at how we as women- regardless of whether we have vaginas or not- need to get educated and truly understand what goes on in our bodies. Enright consistently notes how society is often against the flourishing and outspokenness of female sexuality, and she argues that we should own our individuality and make educate ourselves further. Clearly, sex-ed isn't going to teach us. A seminal book that deserves praise and attention from every facet of our society. 'Vagina' by Lynn Enright will be released in the UK on March 7th.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shakila Kamatali

    My first introduction to sex-ed (or more accurately biology class on reproductive organs) I was 11 and it was communicated to me implicitly or explicitly as something I was not meant to be curious about or take seriously as a "good girl", even if said good girl wanted to be a good student. I learnt about the mechanics of heterosexual sex at 14 in a Mills&Boon novel (you can imagine my brain fritzing as I was trying to compute this). It was in my 20's as I tried to navigate sexuality on my own term My first introduction to sex-ed (or more accurately biology class on reproductive organs) I was 11 and it was communicated to me implicitly or explicitly as something I was not meant to be curious about or take seriously as a "good girl", even if said good girl wanted to be a good student. I learnt about the mechanics of heterosexual sex at 14 in a Mills&Boon novel (you can imagine my brain fritzing as I was trying to compute this). It was in my 20's as I tried to navigate sexuality on my own terms, as well as the healthcare system as my sister received a PCOS diagnosis with no clear treatment or information about this condition (we had to go to YouTube). All of this to say that girls and women either have no information about their bodies/reproductive health or very little about it. So where would we even start to talk about reproductive rights and access to quality care when the basics are sorely lacking? Lynn really attempts to provide a holistic picture; the history of men taking over what came to be the obstetrics field, the half-truths fed to young girls (if not outright lies) about their vulvas because of religion or culture (patriarchy really), the weaponization of biological sex against trans and non-binary folks. Throughout the book a recurring theme is that more research needs to be done, more information needs to be collected for a wider variety of experiences, and a re-education needs to happen on sex-ed that goes beyond just preventing pregnancy or having a cis-het gaze on sexual intimacy. I would recommend this book to everyone (especially young girls), even if I'm aware that it doesn't come close to providing all the answers. Here is an addendum for men who should have stayed in their lane: Jean Paul Sartre, Sigmund Freud, men who claimed "discovery" of women's anatomy.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kate Parsons

    "We have been far taught more about shame than about our anatomy." I'm not even ashamed to say how much I learnt from this book. But I am ashamed that we live in a society that means I didn't know a lot of this before picking up this book at the age of 25. There are many issues which this book touches on that I could get into, but I don't want to turn this review into a rant! Instead, what I will say is that Lynn Enright perfectly balances three aspects in this book: memoir, fact and opinion. She "We have been far taught more about shame than about our anatomy." I'm not even ashamed to say how much I learnt from this book. But I am ashamed that we live in a society that means I didn't know a lot of this before picking up this book at the age of 25. There are many issues which this book touches on that I could get into, but I don't want to turn this review into a rant! Instead, what I will say is that Lynn Enright perfectly balances three aspects in this book: memoir, fact and opinion. She uses her own experiences to bring the facts to life and show how women have been disadvantaged by the lack of education on many topics whilst then rousing us all to push for change and make sure following generations can have it differently. Better. I love the cover - it's brazen but simple and I read it proudly in public. I came to the end of this book (after finding as much spare time as I could to finish it!) feeling frustrated at how things have been done, but mostly empowered in terms of my body. Yeah, being a woman isn't always fun (see chapter on periods) but our bodies are pretty damn amazing. I just wish I knew all of this when I was younger. Absolutely brilliant feminist non-fiction that I will definitely be recommending to all my vulva-owning friends! Grab yourself a copy from 7th March 2019. See more book reviews at www.littlegreenteapot.co.uk *Please note this was given to me by the publisher free of charge.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Zhivko Kabaivanov

    What’s in it for you? Re-educate yourself about a part of the body shrouded in confusion and myth: the female genitalia. Half of the human population possesses a vagina. A quarter of the world menstruates. And yet, the female sex organs have long been misunderstood, ignored, or shamed. Sex education classes in school teach very little about sexual health; when they do, it’s likely tangled in misinformation. Even usage of the word “vagina” is a linguistic error – what we usually mean is the “vulva What’s in it for you? Re-educate yourself about a part of the body shrouded in confusion and myth: the female genitalia. Half of the human population possesses a vagina. A quarter of the world menstruates. And yet, the female sex organs have long been misunderstood, ignored, or shamed. Sex education classes in school teach very little about sexual health; when they do, it’s likely tangled in misinformation. Even usage of the word “vagina” is a linguistic error – what we usually mean is the “vulva.” And as a feminist psychologist, Harriet Lerner wrote, “What is not named does not exist.” Examining everything from the hymen to menopause, author Lynn Enright set out to disentangle fact from patriarchal fiction while also offering her own stories of womanhood. The ideas of the book don’t always present clear answers because even today, most of the medical research available is based on studies of men, by men. Instead, they teach us how to reacquaint ourselves with the female anatomy and reveal how women’s relationships with their bodies have been influenced and distorted by culture and society throughout history. And just a quick disclaimer before we begin reading: There is a chapter that describes an incident of sexual assault. In this book, you’ll learn: * what the hymen is; * why heterosexual culture has mistakenly put the vaginal orgasm on a pedestal; and * everything you never knew about menopause.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tania

    I was diagnosed with endometriosis last year in an emergency surgery. I knew what endometriosis was because I suspected that I had it for a very long time. I've been showing symptoms for the last seven years but no doctor would tell me what was wrong with me: everything seemed normal, just what I could expect from a bad period. I discovered endometriosis by googling my symptoms and I remember that night as one of the worst moments of my life. Since no doctor would believe that a 23 year-old woma I was diagnosed with endometriosis last year in an emergency surgery. I knew what endometriosis was because I suspected that I had it for a very long time. I've been showing symptoms for the last seven years but no doctor would tell me what was wrong with me: everything seemed normal, just what I could expect from a bad period. I discovered endometriosis by googling my symptoms and I remember that night as one of the worst moments of my life. Since no doctor would believe that a 23 year-old woman could have endometriosis, it wasn't until a few months later that I was diagnosed when I had the cyst burst that led to my first surgery. I lost an ovary and I was told that I needed a second one in which all illness would be removed: I had it in all the organs of my reproductive system, but also it had spread to my bladder, colon, and stomach, and all of these organs had several injuries and adhesions. Aged 23, I was told I had the endometriosis of a 45 year-old woman. My illness was severe and painful, and everyday of the following seven months that I was in the waiting list for the operation, I felt my body abandon me a little bit more. Doctors never told me that I was going to be able to have a 'normal' life again; they didn't know if I was going to be able to work, to practice sport, have sex or have children, they didn't know how my bladder, colon and stomach would react after the procedure nor how my endometriosis would affect me every month after the surgery. Plus, I was told I'd be wearing a permanent stoma bag. Honestly, when I was headed to the hospital for my second surgery, I felt that a part of me was going to die. The part of the life I knew, to which I didn't know if I ever could go back to. My symptoms were horrible but I actually could live my life, do things... I learnt to manage the pain so I could live happy, or think that I was happy. It's been four months now after this second surgery. I can tell you that I'm really happy, healthy, I can do sport, I can have painless sex, painless urination, painless defecation - turns out that I didn't need the stoma after all!! :) -and I've been told that I'll be able to have children with IVF since I've lost my Fallopian tubes among other organs. Everything went better than expected for me, but that could've not been the case. It can happen to you, who are reading this, because endometriosis' symptoms are invisible. This has been the first book about this matter that I've read. I want to read lots of books about this because my illness has been very illuminating in what regards to women's pain and what we think of as 'normal' but it really isn't, something I didn't stop to think about before all of this. I want to research and understand everything well so I can help other women and raise awareness. I have lots of books marked as 'to read', but I was afraid that any reading would be too much for me and that I couldn't finish it because I haven't emotionally healed yet. But, apparently, I have. This was such a powerful, interesting, instructive reading. I've learnt a lot about women, periods, women's genitalia, about sex, and about lots of women issues that are considered to be taboo and that I'm so proud Lynn Enright has talked about so openly, so honestly, and in such an empowering way. This is the book the world needed and that everyone needs to read. I feel like this book has helped me heal by teaching me this bunch of things that I can now go and explain to other women. It has helped me understand my reproductive organs, where exactly is my disease happening, it has taught me about other common and ignored diseases I didn't know about, it has taught me about orgasms, about misleading information... and I'm really glad I chose to read this book. Thank you, Lynn Enright.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa Princessa

    THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT BOOK! I read this book thanks to Blinkist. Final summary The key message in these blinks: Good sex education is compassionate and complex. It teaches students not only about contraception, but also about relationships and women’s sexual pleasure. The hymen is not a seal – it’s made up of thin folds of mucous membrane – and the clitoris is much more expansive than was once thought. Sharing our experiences can help us re-teach each other and empower us to tackle the stigma and THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT BOOK! I read this book thanks to Blinkist. Final summary The key message in these blinks: Good sex education is compassionate and complex. It teaches students not only about contraception, but also about relationships and women’s sexual pleasure. The hymen is not a seal – it’s made up of thin folds of mucous membrane – and the clitoris is much more expansive than was once thought. Sharing our experiences can help us re-teach each other and empower us to tackle the stigma and shame surrounding periods, orgasms, fertility, and menopause. What to read next: Period Power, by Maisie Hill Now that you know so much about the vagina and women’s sexual health, perhaps you’d like to zoom in and learn more about menstruation. Period Power is the ultimate guide to periods, hormones, and reproductive health. In these blinks, you’ll learn how your menstrual cycle affects your mood, sleep, and energy levels – and how to track your period to anchor yourself through life’s changes.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Laura King

    'Vagina: A Reeducation' perfectly balances scientific study and emotional appeal, global concerns and more local events, wide ranging interview and personal experience to create a collection of essays that will absolutely make a difference in the lives of the people who read it. There is absolutely something for everyone, and even the essays that may not be relevant to the reader at their point at their lives are so accessable that you leave them more education than when you started. I wish pers 'Vagina: A Reeducation' perfectly balances scientific study and emotional appeal, global concerns and more local events, wide ranging interview and personal experience to create a collection of essays that will absolutely make a difference in the lives of the people who read it. There is absolutely something for everyone, and even the essays that may not be relevant to the reader at their point at their lives are so accessable that you leave them more education than when you started. I wish personally everyone would read the essays on periods, female pain and fertility, but the subjects of sex education, orgasm, FGM, menopause and pregnancy are just as important. I cannot recommend this highly enough

  29. 5 out of 5

    Pretty_x_bookish

    Enright’s chapters on the hymen and the socio-cultural construction of the virginity narrative is so powerful! I love that she makes a point to show that it’s not only “minorities” that have anti-women views about sex and the female body. Christian and Western ideology are steeped in the oppression of women and the dissemination of misinformation about women’s bodies. Enright also makes a strong argument for re-evaluating the way we teach sex-ed to focus not only on preventing pregnancy, but also Enright’s chapters on the hymen and the socio-cultural construction of the virginity narrative is so powerful! I love that she makes a point to show that it’s not only “minorities” that have anti-women views about sex and the female body. Christian and Western ideology are steeped in the oppression of women and the dissemination of misinformation about women’s bodies. Enright also makes a strong argument for re-evaluating the way we teach sex-ed to focus not only on preventing pregnancy, but also in the trials of fertility. Because too many women find themselves struggling to conceive - and the pain and stigma of that can be debilitating!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Sleigh

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 stars. I loved this book so much because it was so insightful - there were many facts in there I did not realise, especially the sheer amount of women who don’t understand their own bodies. It was tough reading about the religions who believe having a period means impurity and yet, this a woman’s natural bodily response when in puberty? The world (and schools especially) must educate and re-educate everyone about sexual health because it’s judged, misconstrued and pulled apart so sc ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 stars. I loved this book so much because it was so insightful - there were many facts in there I did not realise, especially the sheer amount of women who don’t understand their own bodies. It was tough reading about the religions who believe having a period means impurity and yet, this a woman’s natural bodily response when in puberty? The world (and schools especially) must educate and re-educate everyone about sexual health because it’s judged, misconstrued and pulled apart so scrutinisingly. Why should women be ashamed of the body part that makes them who they are, and the reason babies are able to come out into the world?

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