The Guardian

Sex, taboos and #MeToo - in the country with no word for 'vagina'

Burmese doctor is changing attitudes to women’s rights and sexual health
Dr Thet Su Htwe holds one of her reproductive health classes. Photograph: Libby Hogan

“There’s a hpou (a child’s toy), tayat ywa (mango leaf) and mout paung (sweets).” Pausing in her list of euphemisms, Dr Thet Su Htwe leans in to the microphone. “And even samosa,” she adds. At this, the rapt audience of young women gathered at her workshop shrieks and bursts into chatter.

“Why are we still afraid to say the word ‘vagina’?” the doctor asks finally.

Talking about vaginas – not to mention sex education – is taboo in Myanmar. But it became the focus of discussion two months ago when – a play of 18 stories about women’s experiences and their vaginas, exploring issues of menstruation,

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