And while it starts with education and the lack of focus we have on one of the most important parts of our lives (our bodies), it's really a much larger issue. The society we live in choses not to discuss these parts of the female body to avoid risk of grossing people out.
Thankfully, there are some women who have the platforms to share this (what should be basic) type information and aren't afraid to do it. Enter Gabriella Scaringe - a 23-year-old living in New York City who recently shared a TikTok about labia shapes that went viral.
In the TikTok (above), Gabriella answered a question about what she meant when she described her labia as an "outie" in a previous TikTok.
In the video, which now has over 1 million likes, Gabriella explains that all labia shapes and sizes are different, and while it's difficult to classify all of these into just two categories — innies and outies — for the purpose of this TikTok, it works, and that she personally identifies as an "outie."
She then explains the differences between an "innie" and an "outie" in that an innie is generally characterised by the fact that the outer labia (or lips) protrude more than the inner part of your labia, while an outie means the inner parts protrude a little bit more than the outer parts.
Expectedly, the comments were flooded by a host of women commiserating about their own shame they've felt in association with their own labia designs.
"I literally cried my eyes and wanted to get surgery when I was a teenager cause of the hate for outies. We really gotta tell teens more that it's ok!" one user commented.
Speaking to Buzfeed, Gabriella explained, "My 'Innies vs Outies' video concept originated from another video I posted about the funny ways my vagina has been described by other people. I mentioned I had an 'outie' in the video, which sparked a lot of people asking what an 'outie' even was. I realised, 'oh do people not know that every vulva looks totally different?'"
"I was sexually abused by a family member growing up, therefore I’ve been very aware of my vagina and all its unique properties from a young age. With that came a lot of shame and a feeling of abnormality. And I know there’s plenty of vulva owners out there who have experienced abuse, which has triggered hatred for their genitals as well. As if dealing with the misogynistic ideals of what society says a vagina is supposed to look like isn’t enough, right?"
Gabriella went on, "So many vulva owners, specifically young girls, have reached out to me saying that my video changed their life. No one talks about these things to people growing up (or at least not in a positive way). I hope my viewers can understand that the best way to develop confidence is by not basing their self-worth on what other people think of them. I hope I can act as some people’s big sister, assuring anyone in any way that their vaginas are just how they are supposed to be (whether you’re an 'innie', an 'outie', or anything in-between!)"