Socio-cultural representations of the vagina

  • Braun V
  • Wilkinson S
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Abstract

Although the vagina is a rare topic in the social science literature, numerous socio-cultural representations of the vagina can be found throughout Western societies. Such representations offer a range of cultural resources for making sense of the vagina and its functions, and have implications for women's health and well-being. In this paper, we identify and overview seven persistent negative representations of the vagina: the vagina as inferior to the penis; the vagina as absence; the vagina as (passive) receptacle for the penis; the vagina as sexually inadequate; the vagina as disgusting; the vagina as vulnerable and abused; and the vagina as dangerous. In the last sections, we argue that in order to promote women's sexual and reproductive health, it is necessary to challenge such negative representations, and we offer some alternative - and much more positive - representations of the vagina. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Journal of Reproductive & Infant Psychology is the property of Psychology Press (UK) and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

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Authors

  • V. Braun

  • S. Wilkinson

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