Below is a short discussion inspired by Dr. Sharon Malone on Episode Two of The Michelle Obama Podcast.
Michelle Obama says that the power of a woman comes from her ability to value her health, but it is not without obstacles. A woman goes through multiple stages: puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. This makes managing her health more complicated and more demanding.
In this episode of The Michelle Obama Podcast, Michelle sits down with obstetrics—gynecology specialist and women’s health advocate Dr. Sharon Malone to talk about acknowledging, discussing, and celebrating women’s sexual health.
How can society help women deal with what they go through?
- Acknowledgment. When we normalize discourse on women’s sexual health, we can control the conversation and prevent misinformation. We can get rid of the shame that prevents a woman from discovering her body. This empowers them to be proactive about their health.
- Discussion. We have to keep the conversation going so the science and medicine on women’s health can continue advancing. When we identify the problems, we can find the solutions. We can only do this when we form an active and productive discussion.
- Celebration. Women endure hardships caused by their own biology and the pressures of society throughout their entire lives. When we take time to appreciate what the woman body goes through, we can deepen our conversation--and widen our audience--on women’s sexual health.
When we learn to talk, acknowledge, and celebrate a woman’s body, we empower the foundation of humanity.
the distilld lessons
These are the distilld lessons from Episode #3 of The Michelle Obama Podcast.
If we want a productive discussion on women’s sexual health, we have to take out the shame from it. We can only do that when we address these topics without beating around the bush.
Shame gets in the way. If a woman isn’t comfortable checking her breasts for lumps or getting her vagina checked, there might be problems that could’ve been better prevented.
Establishing a level of personal comfort is part of raising awareness. If we want to start having a serious conversation about women’s health, we have to set the stage for it.
Menopause is puberty in reverse. While puberty is a constant state of mood swings with moments of calm, menopause is a “winding down” to a calm, preceded by constant mood swings.
Dr. Malone’s advice on taking hormone pills is simple: if menopause affects your family or your work, then take the pills. If it doesn’t, then don’t.
Hormone pills can help some but do nothing at all for others. Women experience menopause differently. Some go through all the aches and pains. Some just stop bleeding.
We can’t get an answer to questions we don’t ask. We need to have the conversations on women’s sexual health if we want to come up with solutions that help.
Having a woman’s body is demanding. You endure inner biological forces while dealing with society’s judgment and beauty standards.
Menopause is a time in a woman’s life when she doesn’t have to worry about getting pregnant, menstruation, and PMS. It can happen when the woman reaches her 50s. For some, the onset of symptoms can be early.
When we encourage positivity in women’s sexual health, we can deepen and include more people in the conversation. Show appreciation for a woman’s body.
- Talk about sexual health candidly. Be matter-of-fact and discuss without any awkwardness. When we communicate factually and confidently, we can keep the conversation objective and avoid unnecessary embarrassment.
- Participate in conversations on women’s sexual health. Regardless of gender, we can all help improve policies, advocacies, and discussions on women’s health when we get involved.
- Monitor menopause symptoms. If you or a loved one is going through menopause, being informed and updated can guide decisions on taking hormone medication.
- Thank a woman. Gratitude costs nothing, and it creates more kindness in the world. When we show appreciation, we acknowledge what women go through and support them in her struggle.
- Leave women’s bodies alone. Don’t give women unsolicited advice or opinions about their bodies. We gain nothing by bringing women down.
For a more in depth conversation, the distilld lessons (extended) are here.