Shocking results to a new study shows that many Pinays are still misinformed about their bodies.
And we thought in today’s society, the “inosenteng dalagang Pilipina” was no more. Turns out the stereotype of the naïve Pinay is true. A new online survey commissioned by Kimberly-Clark (manufacturer of the Kotex brand of sanitary products) across six Asian countries shows a surprising degree of misinformation among young women in the country. Results of the Kotex BodyLife IQ Study show that more than 80% of Filipina respondents believed myths about their body—particularly those concerning puberty, menstruation, virginity, pregnancy, and female biology.
According to the report, some long-standing old wives’ tales are still held as true by a significant portion of those surveyed. Some highlights:
- 78% don’t know how many holes they have “down there” (the correct answer is three, in case you’re wondering yourself)
- 38% believe applying menstrual blood from your first period to your face prevents pimples
- 54% believe drinking beer increases menstrual flow
- 18% believe they can lose their virginity by riding a bike
- 23% are unaware that having penetrative sex will result in a loss of virginity
- 26% believe only men have hymens, which is why they’re named as such
- 42% believe women are more likely to get breast cancer because they wear bras more often
This information gap is in part caused by the lack of reliable sex education: the survey also showed that almost 40% of respondents have never talked to an authority figure about body and sex issues.
To address this gap, Kimberly-Clark has tied up with the Department of Education to develop a series of teaching modules for female students. Dubbed the “Kotex You-niversity Program,” the initiative aims to increase students’ BodyLife IQ, which is the ability of an individual to comprehend how the body works and how this affects one’s life. The program is especially important in light of the survey findings showing that half of the women surveyed feel judged by society for wanting to learn more about their bodies and what goes on “down there.”
The “curriculum” of Kotex You-niversity includes classes “designed to guide young women through an awkward and exciting stage in their lives,” with topics such as:
- physical and emotional changes during puberty;
- interpersonal relationships with peers, family, and boys; and
- empowerment tips and tools to unleash their potential.
Readers can check out similar educational resources being offered by Kotex sites around the world: the North American site provides articles, FAQs, and forums about puberty (and further stages of a woman’s life, including pregnancy and menopause ), while the Australian site has sample lesson plans and activity sheets that teachers can use to educate young women about their bodies.
Closer to home, young women (and older ones as well!) can stay informed by reading health and wellness articles in various magazines and websites. We trust Cosmo and Women’s Health to keep us up-to-date on the latest female health and body concerns; FN also regularly features articles that debunk various myths on sex, menstruation, the female body , and looking after your gynecological health.