Episode 45

Dr. Catherine Blackledge: The Unsung Power of the Vagina


October 14th, 2020

47 mins 4 secs

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About this Episode

Monica Rodgers talks to Dr. Catherine Blackledge about the unsung power of the vagina.

One of the greatest pieces of unconscious conditioning we have in western culture is that we do not teach our girls to name the source of her feminine power. If anything we are taught to call our genitals by colloquialisms such as Coochie, Privates, Down There, Front-Bottom - the list goes on. Those who were given a more "scientific" term were often taught to call it “vagina,” a sterile and clinical word that is also physiologically incorrect.
Worse, the majority of women are taught to call it nothing at all, and not to refer to it, look at it, or know it’s magic, and this had had a devastating impact.
Personally, I didn’t have the courage to look at my own vagina until I was in my 40s. In my world, it wasn’t something that was talked about growing up, and as far as I was concerned, there was some kind of disgust that permeated any reference to my nether region. How tragic to finally reach the age of almost 50 years old and recognize that it’s only just in the last few years that I have begun to reveal and heal my own inner misogyny. I use that word deliberately because it’s true, we live in a world that teaches a woman to hate herself, and to think less of herself based on her gender.

I consider Dr. Catherine Blackledge a true visionary. To me, a visionary is someone who sees the missing link. They understand the fundamental missing piece, sometimes years and even decades before others catch on.

Dr. Blackledge was inspired to write her book almost 17 years ago, and she has since become an internationally acclaimed author of the bestselling book, Raising The Skirt, The Unsung Power of the Vagina, which celebrates the beauty and power of the vagina and womanhood and reveals how the true extent of vaginal and female power has been forgotten, ignored and misrepresented. Raising The Skirt was originally published in 2003 as the story of V and has sold over 100,000 copies in 13 countries. Women describe it as their Bible and say it has saved their lives.

Show notes:

  • The term Anasyrma means "raising the skirts" or the showing of genitals, and this act of a woman exposing herself has many historical roots referring to a women’s innate power to ward off evil, defeat armies, or harness supernatural powers.

 * In Gaelic and Greek mythology, groups of women raised their skirts en masse to defeat Irish sun god Cúchulain and Greek hero Bellerophon, respectively. Ancient and modern history relate how women deploy the raising the skirt gesture in protest and as a military tactic.

  • Just over sixty years ago, in 1958, seven thousand women in west Cameroon, Africa raised their skirts in an incredible display of vaginal power to protest against government regulations changing for the worse the way the women farmed their land. The women won.

 * The idea of the vagina as a passive vessel, a simple sheath to surround the penis, is one of science’s greatest misconceptions.

  • We have to get past women being so undervalued in the world and help women know how powerful we are as not only the portal of life, but as a being who has an extraordinary amount of wisdom, power and influence.

  • There is still a tremendous amount of misinformation out there and very little about the true anatomy of the vagina. The clitoris, for example, is a massive wishbone structure that is seated deeply into the pelvis, not simply a small nub at the top of the vagina.

  • Catherine understood at an early age that the vagina was being misrepresented and set out to understand why and reveal a deeper truth.

  • When Catherine initially told people she wanted to write about it, people could not even say the word, even her publishers.

  •  Catherine believes the word Veranda should be brought back - it's an older term that was used for female genitalia, meaning "parts inspiring awe, respect or reverence." Catherine believes having a positive, respectful word for the vagina, which girls and women feel comfortable and confident using is a vital first step to female empowerment and being proud of what we have between our legs.

  • Catherine discovered many wonderful scientific facts, such as men, also have a clitoris, it’s what causes the penis to become erect.

  • Catherine shares her own personal story of becoming infertile due to an STD that went undetected when she was young. She believes that if there were not such a stigma around women’s sexuality that this could have been avoided.

  • The Pink Pussy Hats worn in the Women’s March is a modern-day representation of Raising the Skirts.

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