Hey, everybody. Jen Hatmaker here, your host of the For The Love Podcast, Whoo. Welcome to the show. I just finished this interview, so that was what that “whoo” was about. Right now we’re in a series called For the Love of Facing Your Fears. It felt like an important conversation to host across a handful of channels, particularly this one today. There’s something that most women face, frankly, that’s created fear and shame as far back as any of us really can remember and it involves our own bodies.
For example, our periods. Let’s start there. Maybe you had a very normal and healthy talk with your parents about what to expect, what this meant, and what’s going on internally. But so many of us did not get a lot of information about it. That’s probably because the generation before us had even less. So that change in our lives as teens or pre-teens for a lot of us was accompanied by surprise, fear, or even shame. For women, there’s still so much mystery shrouded in our reproductive systems and what we can rightly and normally expect to encounter throughout the different decades of our lives; through childbearing years to menopause and beyond. Then you compound it with the stigma that is layered on by religious structures, and sometimes just by cultural conversation, and sometimes by patriarchy. I mean you have a recipe for pretty severe cognitive dissonance around our bodies, which is sad and unnecessary. Of course, let’s be fair. In some cultures and countries, the stigma is even stronger. So much so that women don’t even have access to basic products and services to take care of their bodies.
We are here to say we should not have to fear the normal and beautiful progression our bodies take. We should be able to talk about it with each other. We should be able to rely on good scientific information from professionals. We should be able to trust that more research and more answers are coming all the time and ultimately live peacefully inside the experience of natural changes that happen in our bodies with experts who are listening and caring for us as we go; which is why we’re so grateful for our guest today. She’s made it her mission in life to open up this conversation around female bodies, our menstruation cycles, our reproductive systems, and all the sorts of changes that we go through. She’s also taken to the Internet to fix it so that there’s more good, helpful, and true information from professionals out there for us to learn from.
You guys, get excited because today we have Dr. Jen Gunter. A ton of you already know her because she is such a leading voice in this conversation. So let’s say she’s an internationally bestselling author. She’s an obstetrician-gynecologist. More than three decades of experience as a vulvar and vaginal disease expert. She’s been called the world’s most famous and outspoken gynecologist by the Guardian. Her New York Times and USA Today bestselling books, The Vagina Bible and The Menopause Manifesto, which I bought six months ago, have been translated into 25 languages. She’s the host of Jen-Splaining, which is a CBC Amazon Prime video series that kind of highlights the impact of medical misinformation on women specifically. She’s also the recipient of the 2020 NAMS Media Award from the North American Menopause Society.
Dr. Gunter’s 2020 TEDx talk called “Why Can’t We Talk About Periods” received more than 2 million views in its first six months, which led to the launch of her very popular podcast on the TED audio collective called Body Stuff with Dr. Jenn Gunter. Finally, she’s got a brand new book out that I just got a few days ago called Blood. The Science, Medicine and Mythology of Menstruation. She also writes the popular Substack newsletter called The Vagenda. I just wish I had to come up with that. So she talks about her own personal experience with her body, her health, and pregnancy, and how that has fueled her passion to fix the medical Internet. She’s smart. She’s direct. She talks plainly. She debunks junk science. She’s a relief in a conversation that is sometimes shrouded in confusion. I was hanging on her every word, and I think you will, too. So I am delighted to share this conversation with the incredibly knowledgeable and passionate Dr. Jen Gunter.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
Guardian Article about Dr. Jen Gunter
The Vagina Bible
by Dr. Jen Gunter
by Dr. Jen Gunter
Jensplaining – Dr. Jen Gunter’s Amazon Prime Series
2020 NAMS Media Award from the North American Menopause Society Recipients
“Why can’t we talk about periods” – Dr. Jen Gunters 2020 Ted Talk
Body Stuff with Dr. Jen Gunter
Blood: The Science, Medicine, and Mythology of Menstruation
by Dr. Jen Gunter
The Vajenda – Dr. Jen Gunter’s Substack Newsletter
The Preemie Primer: A Complete Guide for Parents of Premature Babies–from Birth through the Toddler Years and Beyond by Dr. Jen Gunter
Ensure Meal Replacement
The For the Love Podcast is a production of Four Eyes Media, presented by Audacy.