3 Min ReadHealth 15 May 2020
In the last 20 years, society has made great strides in gender equity. More women are leading businesses, more are in management positions, more are taking on legislative roles, and global female literacy rates are way up.
Girls worldwide are actually spending more years in school than their male counterparts. We're making these strides because we're consistently pushing to have the tough conversations and take the actions that result in meaningful change. And yet, we still have much farther to go to reach true parity — after all, women are still earning less money than men and spending more time on household tasks and chores — but we are making real progress.
We're making these strides because we're consistently pushing to have the tough conversations and take the actions that result in meaningful change.
There is, however, an important issue deeply affecting the lives of millions of women worldwide that continues to go largely unaddressed. Even with all our efforts to speak out and stand in support of our fellow women, most of us are embarrassed and squeamish to even speak about the uniquely female problem. This issue is still often lingering in the shadows, and it is time to relinquish the shameful baggage we've attached to it.
I'm talking about vaginal health. And, specifically, the unpleasant vaginal odor that nearly 50% of women will experience at some point in their lives and, according to the CDC, is the most common vaginal condition.
This is an uncomfortable topic — one that many people, including women – would prefer we not discuss openly. It's often perceived as "unladylike" or "unattractive" to point out. Vaginal odor is primarily mentioned in whispered conversation with one's closest female friends, sheepishly discussed in doctor's offices or posted anonymously on message boards online. However, I think it is way past time to kill the stigma attached to this very normal, natural issue.
Vaginas are beautifully complex and are an amazing part of a woman's body. They give us so much, including the opportunity to birth new life and the pleasure of sexual intimacy. They deserve to be cared for with the most holistic and effective methods available in modern science.
This issue is still often lingering in the shadows, and it is time to relinquish the shameful baggage we've attached to it.
For many, many women, vaginal odor is a problem — often a recurrent one. It is commonly misunderstood and believed to be the result of poor hygiene or somehow the fault of the woman herself. Actually, that's almost always not the case. Typically, this very normal odor is caused by a pH imbalance in the vagina, usually as a result of menstruation, medication, intercourse, or some other root cause. Simple, natural products are available to easily and quickly prevent and treat this odor by restoring the body's natural balance. It's no mystery— just basic biology.
I've met so many women who have deeply personal stories of shame and fear about the odor from their vaginas. It's not just a roadblock to sexual intimacy and relationships, it can also affect a woman's desire to sweat it out at the gym, put on a swimsuit, or even get a pedicure. The fear, worry, and shame surrounding vaginal health and perceptions around odor can be very real obstacles to living a full, happy life. Women routinely break down in tears when discussing feminine health, and it's heartbreaking to see this reaction to what is actually a very common and easy to solve problem.
The fear, worry, and shame surrounding vaginal health and perceptions around odor can be very real obstacles to living a full, happy life.
I've also met women who have tried to address this issue in secret, using poor home remedies or tricks they've read about online. Some women will clean themselves so intensely and so frequently that they only further damage the delicate pH balance of their vaginas, which can make the problem even worse. This is what happens when we don't talk openly about the causes and cures for vaginal issues. Women suffer in silence, attempt to solve the problem using information that can be inaccurate, and then suffer even more.
In this time of change and growth for female equality and empowerment, I'd like to see us bringing our vaginal health and well-being out of the shadows. Let's de-stigmatize this critically important issue and get brave about talking about women's health.
So, if you're struggling with vaginal odor, remember my very important message to you: It's normal, it's not your fault, and it's fixable… let's talk about it.
From Your Site Articles
Related Articles Around the Web
- Bacterial Vaginosis and the Secrets of the Vagina's Microbiome ... ›
- These Women's Health Taboos Are Overdue To Be Busted : Shots ... ›
- FemBeat: Is Vaginal Health Still A Taboo In Business? ›
- The vagina is self-cleaning – so why does the 'feminine hygiene ... ›
- Why is it Still Taboo to Talk About Vaginal Health? – Joylux ›
5 Min Read
You may recognize Judge, Tanya Acker, from her political and legal commentary on different networks and shows like Good Morning America, The Talk, Wendy Williams, CNN Reports or The Insider. Acker is more than an experienced commentator. She is also a Judge on the fifth season of Emmy nominated CBS show, Hot Bench.
The show, created by Judge Judy, is a new take on the court genre. Alongside Acker, are two other judges: Patricia DiMango and Michael Corriero. Together the three-panel judges take viewers inside the courtroom and into their chambers. “I feel like my responsibility on the show is, to be honest, fair, [and] to try and give people a just and equitable result," Acker says. She is accomplished, honest and especially passionate about her career. In fact, Acker likes the fact that she is able to help people solve problems. “I think that efficient ways of solving disputes are really at the core of modern life.
“We are a very diverse community [with] different values, backgrounds [and] beliefs. It's inevitable that we're going to find ourselves in some conflicts. I enjoy being a part of a process where you can help resolve the conflicts and diffuse them," she explains.
Acker's career has been built around key moments and professional experiences in her life. Particularly, her time working right after college impacted the type of legal work she takes on now.
Shaping Her Career
Acker didn't foresee doing this kind of work on television when she was in college at either Howard University or Yale Law. “I was really open in college about what would happen next," Acker comments. “In fact, I deliberately chose a major (English) that wouldn't lock me into anything [because] I wanted to keep all of my options open." Her inevitable success on the show and throughout her career is an example of that. In fact, after graduating from Yale, Acker served as a judicial law clerk to Judge Dorothy Nelson who sits on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
It was not only her first job out of law school but also one of the formative experiences of her professional life. “[Judge Nelson is] certainly, if not my most important professional influence," Acker says. “She is really the living embodiment of justice, fairness, and believes in being faithful to the letter and the spirit of the law," she exclaims. “She delivers it all with a lot of love." Judge Nelson is still on the bench and is continuing to work through her Foundation: The Western Justice Center in Pasadena, California, where Acker serves on the board. The foundation helps people seeking alternative ways of resolving their disputes instead of going to court.
"I enjoy being a part of a process where you can help resolve the conflicts and diffuse them," she explains.
“It was important to her to try and create platforms for people to resolve conflict outside of court because court takes a long time," Acker explains. “I'm proud to be a part of that work and to sit on that board."
After her clerkship, she was awarded a Bristow Fellowship and continued building her career. Outside of the fellowship, Acker's legal work incorporated a broad variety of matters from civil litigation, constitutional cases, business counseling, and advising. One of her most memorable moments was representing a group of homeless people against the city. “They were being fought for vagrancy and our defense was, they had no place to go," she shares.
As part of her pro bono work, Acker was awarded the ACLU's First Amendment Award for her success with the case. Though, she has a hard time choosing from one of many memorable moments on Hot Bench. Acker does share a few of the things that matter to her. “Our show is really drawn from a cross-section of courtrooms across America and the chance to engage with such a diverse group of people really means a lot to me," she discusses.
How Did Acker Become A Judge?
In addition to Judge Nelson, Judge Judy is certainly among her top professional influences. “I think it's incredible [and] I feel very lucky that my professional career has been bookended by these incredible judges," she acclaims. “I've really learned a lot from Judy about this job, doing this kind of job on television." Before Acker was selected for Hot Bench, she hadn't been a judge. It was Judge Judy who recommended that she get some experience. Acker briefly comments on her first experience as a temporary judge on a volunteer basis in traffic court. “I was happy to be able to have the chance to kind of get a feel for it before we started doing the show," she comments. “Judy is a wonderful, kind, generous person [and] she's taught me quite a lot. I feel lucky."
Photo Courtesy of Annie Shak.
Acker's Time Away From Home
Outside of Hot Bench, Acker took recent trips to Haiti and Alabama. They were memorable and meaningful.
Haiti, in particular, was the first trip she excitedly talks about. She did some work there in an orphanage as part of LOVE Takes Root, an organization that is driven to help children around the world whether it's basic aid or education. “Haiti has a special place in my heart," she began. “As a person who's descended from enslaved people, I have a lot of honor and reverence for a country that threw off the shackles of slavery."
She was intrigued by the history of Haiti. Especially regarding the communities, corrupt government and natural disasters. “They really had to endure a lot, but I tell you this when I was there, I saw people who were more elegant, dignified, gracious and generous as any group of people I've ever met anywhere in the world," she goes on. “I think it left me with was a strong sense of how you can be graceful and elegant under fire." Acker is optimistic about the country's overall growth and success.
“[Judge Nelson is] certainly, if not my most important professional influence," Acker says. “She is really the living embodiment of justice, fairness, and believes in being faithful to the letter and the spirit of the law."
“There are certainly times when people treated me differently or made assumptions about me because I was a black woman," Acker says. “I've got it much better, but that doesn't mean it's perfect...it certainly isn't, but you just have to keep it moving."
Her other trip was different in more ways than one. She traveled there for the first time with her mother as part of a get out to vote effort, that Alabama's First black House Minority Leader, Anthony Daniels was organizing. “It was incredible to take that trip with her [and] I've got to tell you, the South of today is not the South of my mother's upbringing," she explains. Originally from Mississippi, Acker's mother hasn't been back in the South since 1952. “Every place has a ways to go, but it was a really exciting trip [and] it was nice for me to connect with that part of the country and that part of my history."
Overcoming Racial Barriers
As a black woman, Acker has certainly faced challenges based on her race and gender. But it doesn't define who she is or what she can accomplish. “There are certainly times when people treated me differently or made assumptions about me because I was a black woman," she says. “There's no sort of barrier that someone would attempt to impose upon me that they didn't attempt to impose on my mother, grandmother or great-grandmother." In a space where disparity is sometimes apparent, she recognizes that there is no barrier someone would try to impose on her that they didn't attempt to impose on her mother or grandmothers. “I've got it much better, but that doesn't mean it's perfect...it certainly isn't, but you just have to keep it moving," Acker states. The conversation continues truthfully and seriously. Acker shares what it can be like for black women, specifically. “I think we're underestimated and we can be disrespected, whereas other folks are allowed the freedom to enjoy a full range of emotions and feelings," she articulates.
At times black women are often restricted from expressing themselves. “If someone wants to make an assumption or jump to a conclusion about me because of my race or gender, that's on them, but their assumptions aren't going to define me," Acker declares. “If something makes me angry or happy I will express that and if someone wants to caricature me, that's their pigeonholing; that's not my problem." A lifelong lesson she learned and shared is to not let other people define who you are. It is one of three bits of wisdom.
Three Pieces Of Advice From Judge Acker
The Power Of Self-awareness
“It's really important that you have a really firm sense of what you want to do and be, and how you're moving in the world because when people try to sway you, judge you or steer you off course you've got to have some basis for getting back on track."
Know Your Support System
“Have a strong community of people who you trust, love and who love you," she advises. “But also learn to love and trust yourself because sometimes it's your own voice that can provide you the most comfort or solace in something."
Learn From Your Experiences
“Trust yourself. Take care of yourself. Don't be too hard on yourself. Be honest with yourself.
“There are times when it's not enough to say this is who I am. Take it or leave it. Sometimes we've got things that we need to work on, change or improve upon," she concludes.
Acker stands out not only because of her accomplishments, but the way she views certain aspects of her life. These days, she's comfortable accepting what makes her different. “I think there's a time when you're younger when conformity feels comfortable, [but] I'm comfortable these days not conforming," she laughs. She enjoys being a decision maker and helping people work through it on Hot Bench.
This article was originally published May 15, 2019.