Breasts. Boobs. Sex. Vagina. Why is it that people read these words as if they have never heard of them before? Why is this body-relating terminology so taboo in our society? At the age of seventeen and being a senior in high school, I have gotten more comfortable with these subjects, and the more I do, the more I realize how much sooner I should have been introduced to them. As a young girl, my mother and health educators at school told me what was going to be happening to my body, but with such confidentiality and awkwardness that I basically waved the matters off myself. Why is sex education and body growth education so awkward for both students and teachers in the 21st century? Is there a secret to hide?
Of course not, no secrets here. What people today don’t realize is that this is education about us. This is about educating our kids and young adults about humans, how we got here, how to keep ourselves healthy, and how we reproduce. Nothing should be taboo about being knowledgeable about your own body.
Nothing should be taboo about being knowledgeable about your own body.
So does that mean it’s acceptable to let our kids run around screaming about body parts to friends? No. What we need to change right now is how we look at and portray our bodies to the younger generations. Children should get their questions answered truthfully and without shame from a young age. We need more interactive education programs in schools for young adults to comfortably learn about the changes happening to their bodies. Doctors should not be asking teens whether or not they want more information about sex or body changes, but giving the information.
A couple weeks ago, I was told that a girl’s first gynecologist visit should be between the early ages of 13-15 years of age. When was my first visit? I haven’t had one yet. The sad truth is that most girls 18 and under haven’t had their first gynecologist visit unless it was for health problems. Before interning at Circuelle, I wasn’t really informed about what a breast self-exam was, not to mention completely clueless about how to actually perform one. This is a direct example of how flawed our health education classes are and how they fail to teach young girls about breast health and care.
So what can we do about it?
Whether its social media or your own family or friends you turn to, talk about breast self-exams, body development, and health, spreading the awareness of early development of healthy habits and rituals so our kids can eventually live in a breast cancer free world.
Kamila is a seventeen year old Sarasota local who has recently taken a very actionable stance for breast health. When she is not helping Circuelle and Circuelle Foundation educate young women about breast self exams, she enjoys hitting the beach with friends, writing and preparing for her studies at University of Central Florida.