This is Token, the podcast I present with my colleague Freddy McConnel. We just recorded our Christmas special, with guest Mona Chalabi from the Guardian video series Vagina Dispatches. I am a mixed race, Jewish, northern woman, and Fred is a trans, queer white guy from down south. So between us we have a fair bit of experience of being tokens! Normally the episodes focus on gender, identity, race and culture, but this episode was strictly vag.
There are so many of us feeling very alone, dealing with a multitude of problems and thinking that the only way to solve the issues are by chomping down on medication or just grinning and bearing it. However, the time has come to change all that, as I uncover some of the most common issues and how we can help ourselves.
Ask any number of women and they might tell you that they shave their bodies for a number of phony reasons such as "societal pressure", it being generally stereotyped as "more feminine" and "attractive", or because it is "the norm". But there are much darker, much more serious reasons, why unshaven women are a danger to public health.
As expected after big surgeries, there are a lot of bandages. My bandages were more in the form of some weird-ass celibacy plaster cast that I could literally knock on. Eventually they had to come off though, which was as horrifying as you might imagine. When they took them off I also realized that they had been SEWN to me in two places.
The worst conversation many of us will ever have will relate to deadly diseases such as gynaecological cancers. And one thing is very clear to me - these diseases don't discriminate; they can affect women at any age. Nearly 20,000 women in the UK are diagnosed with a gynaecological cancer and almost 8,000 die within five years.