This column is not for all readers. If you’ve ever purchased tampons that were designed to look like pieces of candy to save yourself from embarrassment, you might consider turning the page.
Similarly, if you insist on referring to your own menstruation or the menstruation of someone you know as “a visit from Aunt Flo,” you should probably do the crossword puzzle (seeing as you are so good at word play).
If you have heard that periods attract bears, or if Georgia O’Keefe makes you nervous or if you are still considering the possibility that vagina dentata might be more than an urban legend, then the sports section can be found on the last page.
This is not to say that this article is about to drift into a Eve Ensler-esque melodrama about my first period — my mom submitted a press release to the local news when I was 14, so most people have already heard about it.
I’m not really interested in celebrating vaginas anyway. Between Lindsay Lohan, the Vagina Monologues and low-rise pants, vaginas get so much attention, they’re practically mainstream.
It’s time to recognize a different tool of genitalia, one that has historically been disparaged: the uterus.
The uterus was first vilified by that quack Hippocrates, who theorized that when women hadn’t had sex, their uteri dried up and started wandering around the body, causing them to become neurotic.
This was a pretty useful explanation for ancient doctors, who got to tell confused family men: “No, she’s not crying because you sacrificed her cat to Dionysius — she just misplaced her uterus. Have sex with her; that will fix everything.”
The good news is that doctors don’t take anything Hippocrates said seriously anymore. The bad news is that the uterus suffered from unjust defamation for practically the rest of time.
The word “hysteria” comes from the Greek word for uterus (hystera, if you’re interested). And before we used it to describe what happened when someone thought they saw a UFO or Elvis, hysteria was a word that was used to describe just about every medical symptom ever associated with a woman.
By the time the Victorian era rolled around, women who crocheted an unusual pattern were said to be hysterical.
Finally, though, the uterus is going to get the respect it deserves. You’d think that this respect is a given, seeing as the uterus brings us all into the world, but now science is showing us what I’ve always suspected: The uterus is a hero.
A Ph.D. student in reproductive biology at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland has found that the uterus can not only give life but also save it.
As it turns out, every month the uterus bleeds, which is a real lark. But then the uterus heals itself by repairing the tissue and clearing away the white blood cells that helped the healing process but which are harmful if they hang out for too long.
Scientists now think that if they can fully understand how this injury-and-repair process works, they can work out how to imitate it in other contexts with other body parts.
Finally, the organ that has been blamed for everything from not producing male heirs to the popularity of Titanic is being vindicated.
Yes, Hippocrates might have laughed at women who obsessively rewatched the “I’m flying, Jack!” scene in Titanic. But who’s hysterically laughing now, Hippocrates?
Laura Reeve is a senior majoring in public relations.