Hellu everyone! I had a workshop this weekend called Vulvariety. This workshop has really changed my view on a lot of topics and gave me a lot of strength and bravery. So I am going to give you a little overview about the exercises we did and hopefully you can understand how I felt. Maybe this can even help the movement to grow. The workshop was organized by Viva la Vulva which is an austrian forum for and with young women and feminists to give them a platform to communicate their needs and passions to the world. It is really great, I’ll leave their website linked down below. Make sure to check it out!
There was very little information beforehand which made it really exciting.
It’s always a little weird to be in a room full of strangers but our instructors created such a safe space for us that we were able to open up and start conversations about topics we wouldn’t normally discuss with friends or at least not at that level.
After a little meditation to really arrive at the workshop and in the room we started with the first exercise. We had all brought a picture of us as a teenager and were asked to take a good look. Next we put the picture on the ground and took as many steps back as we felt we had grown since or how much we felt we were still that person. After doing all that we wrote in our journal about what we wanted to tell our old self.
This exercise is amazing because you have to face all the struggles you had when you were younger and recognize if they were your own struggles or a result of what society made you believe you had to be.
Spoiler alert: it’s mostly society. Did you believe you were not enough or even still believe this? That is society talking. You are a whole person why would you ever not be enough. Did you struggle to accept your body and see it in all its beauty? Still society talking with its ideals and norms about bodies.
And 5 to 10 years ago those ideals were mostly about women. And there is nothing wrong with thinking those things, just know that they might not serve you anymore and you are allowed to let go. And what can help with that process is going out and talking about your self-doubts. You will realize that almost every woman feels or has felt them at some point.
One of our instructors said a really matching quote: “In a world that profits from self-doubt, loving yourself is a rebellious act.”
Try that exercise if you feel like you have some unaddressed issues from your past.
You know what one of my favorite parts from the weekend was? The lunch breaks! Not just because there was delicious food and I love food. But because we spent them all together and had the best conversations about so many topics that are rarely addressed in other surroundings.
What we also did on day one was an exercise about shame. We paired up and the first person had 5 minutes to tell the other everything they associate with shame or felt ashamed of. The second then had 2 minutes to give feedback on what issues they related to and then had their own 5 minutes to take about their shame. After that again 2 minutes for the first person to talk about the topics the second person talked about. First of all, five minutes can be a very long time. Second, I don’t know about you but I am definitely not used to not giving any feedback in a conversation. Not nodding or validating the other person’s opinion. But that way you really get comfortable to talk about a lot of things and you never loose track of how YOU feel. You don’t change topics because someone else has experienced something similar.
Have you ever taken the time to think about all the things you are ashamed of? I highly recommend it.
And what was absolutely necessary was an hour to find out more about the pelvic floor, clitoris, cycle, internal genital organs, orgasms and of course vulvas. Always so much to learn.
Did you know that both female and male genitals develop from the same embryonic structures?
And, in case you have been wondering – yes, precum can get you pregnant.
Also, you can think of your cycle as the four seasons.
Your period is winter → almost no hormones, estrogen level slowly rising again.
Between your period and your ovulation lies your spring.
You feel better again, you have sexual desires, your body is preparing for conception.
We learned this at the workshop and I think it is a very good possibility to imagine what is happening in your body every month.
You basically build a hotel, the estrogen does that. After your ovulation progesterone takes over to take care of the interior design.
Your period is your body’s way of saying “Time to start over!”.
Ovulation is your bodies summer and after that it becomes autumn before it’s winter again.
If your boobs hurt before or during your period it’s because you are developing mammary glands every month to be able to nurse your child. Every.month. Sounds kind of exhausting right?
But how abso-fucking-lutely amazing are our bodies?! Let that sink in for a moment.
Next up: pelvic floor exercises! Day 2 started with some pelvic floor exercises. The pelvic floor has three layers and it is essential for holding back pee, holding your organs where they belong and much much more! We did 3 exercises to strengthen our pelvic floor. Who of you knew how to strengthen your pelvic floor? I did not!
And the exercise that absolutely BLEW MY MIND was Vulva Watching. Sounds strange? Let me explain! If you’re a woman: have you ever closely examined your vulva? I hadn’t really done that before. And how many vulvas have you seen in your entire life? Not as many as you have seen penises online, I bet. But in this exercise we were free to decide if we wanted to show our vulva to the group.
If you’re thinking that this sounds super strange believe me when I say that this was the most powerful thing I have ever done in my life. It felt so freeing. Like when you go skinny-dipping but that feeling multiplied by a million.
And what was the most amazing part was that all the women in the room supported each other and empowered each other. And in that setting it just felt normal to talk about vulvas and their individuality.
The last open discussion we had was about masturbation. It’s really fascinating to talk about masturbation because you don’t get to do that very often. Some people feel that it’s too intimate and don’t want to share their experience and of course everyone should respect that. But the more you talk about it the more options you can get and if you feel weird or like you are abnormal, I highly recommend talking to someone you trust about it.
This is basically it. But you see how important conversations are? The more you talk the more you can actually see that you are not alone and that self-doubts are a societal construct.
Maybe you will get a chance to see how powerful empowerment among women can be and that we shouldn’t bring each other down but lift each other up.
I could talk about this workshop forever but those are the essentials that I wanted to share with you. If you have questions or are looking for someone to talk to contact me via the contact form or via instagram. And as always let me know what you think in the comments.
And don’t forget to check out Viva la Vulva: http://www.vivalavulva.at/
Stay safe and see you soon,