*Shuma Warning – Men turn back now before you end up blushing*
Every time I have the pleasure to hangout with just Moroccan women I always have a mind blowing perception pushing experience. This past week I for the first time needed to purchase pads because I had just started my period and my Diva Cup (www.divacup.com) was uncomfortable with the cramping I had.
In doing so I opened myself up to a lot of questions – by showing them what is it and then explaining how it works – this of course led to the – Will it hurt my hymen question?
I was shocked dealing with a group of women ranging from 16 – 50+ years old that none of them knew as much as I do about my body and how the female body works but this also solved the question of why are only pads available in Morocco? and the follow up question of – where are the tampons?
These wonderful women were open to this embarrassing and educational experience for them and myself occurred with were most importantly concerned with A. Where does the Diva Cup go exactly? B. How does it fit ?- because it seems so huge to them. C. Does it break or damage the hymen?
This led to a discussion about the location of the hymen – to which I found there are no great diagrams online that illustrate the location of the hymen in context of using a tampon or a Diva Cup – THANK YOU Google.
I noticed even when searching for medical diagrams there weren’t any that included the hymen – which in many countries is more important than anything else with regards to the purity/honor of women.
I think in some places you could get away with being an exotic dancer etc just as long as on your wedding night – your hymen was intact.
I think the funniest and most embarrassing moment was when the oldest of the women said – that goes inside? Really? and I said You had four children – if you can fit a baby coming out- why wouldn’t this be able to go in?
I had to bite back my thought – Hello Lady .. you had sex right to have those babies … so if you could do THAT … why not a Diva Cup?
I then asked if they had ever looked at themselves – because really – your vagina is like elastic – sweeya (a little bit). They just gaped at me and shook their heads.
Where is the health education for women by women? Indeed this whole conversation made me very scared because this group represented some highly educated women to women from the countryside. This means that a lot of women still buy into the old wives tales – which can be harmful when it comes to women, children and babies health here in Morocco.
Although don’t get me wrong – Moroccan women are huge into breastfeeding and childwearing – its just when you say things like – you have a cold – they think it comes from having wet hair or not wearing sandals in the house – not a germ or germs.
The implications to STI’s and HIV/AIDS – is huge – the women are the front line of prevention in Morocco because men are given the social permission to have pre marital sex, visit prostitutes etc.
If anything this points to a need for women to women health education and while I probably won’t be having more conversations about Diva Cups with the local women – at least they are aware there are more options than pads out there even if I couldn’t convince them their hymens were safe from these other options.