Does your vagina need a makeover?1comment
A number of years ago, a dear friend of mine was traumatized by an article in the LA weekly about the rise in vaginal cosmetic surgery. When I say traumatized, I mean it completely rocked her world, and not in a good way. The root of the trauma was this; society has a standard of beauty for women so exhaustive and unattainable, that we have to actively work not to be self conscious about virtually every exposed part of our bodies. Our stomachs must be flat, our legs long and tanned, our ankles thin, our skin smooth and soft, our arms toned, our boobs (impossibly) both big and perky, and our asses must hit the perfect goldilocks not-too-big-not-too-small ratio. My friend was already painfully aware that every single exterior body part had a very specific prescription for aesthetic appeal. The one part of her body that she’d never worried about – or even thought about how it looked - was her vagina, and she was understandably resentful at the idea that here was yet another part of her body she had to worry about. At the time, I was just amused by her reaction. Though I too resented the rigid standards of beauty place on women, I could’t get all worked up about a small group of people undergoing dangerous and unnecessary surgery. Surely the women who went in for cosmetic surgery on their vaginas comprised a very small, fringe group of aspiring porn actors, right? Surely men love vaginas just the way they are, right?
Cut to almost a decade later, and now I’m realizing she was right to be worried. Though vaginal cosmetic surgery is still not commonplace, it is definitely on the rise. Surgery is the far extreme, but there are more subtle areas of alteration that have become the norm. Women regularly pay more money to get their nethers groomed than most men pay to get their hair cut, and anything more a one-inch by 2 millimeter strip of pubes is now considered letting yourself go. Since you’re already paying $50 to have someone torturously pull all of your public hair out at the roots, you may as well have them add a little glitter, right? And that’s nothing compared to what a lot of women are putting themselves and their vaginas through.
You absolutely have read Andy Wright’s article ‘The 6 Weirdest Things Women Do To Their Vagina”, which is both hilarious and horrifying. Seriously, read it now and then come back to me… I’ll wait.
So funny, right?
Vaginal deodorant and douching have been around for a long time and a lot of women use them, despite the fact that they are both unnecessary and unhealthy. But compared to the following, they seem downright innocuous. There’s Vaginal Rejuvenation (vagina tightening), Labiaplasty (removal of external labia), Vaginal Mints (sadly, exactly what it sounds like and, as Wright points out, are comprised of the same sugary stuff as regular breath mints, pretty much guaranteeing a raging yeast infection), and, my personal favorite, Vaginal Bleaching and/or dying (Again, as Write mentions, one such products contains the same chemical that artificially pink-a-fies salmon meat, and another contains the industrial septic tank cleaner Sodium hydroxide).
And the worst thing of all? It is women who are doing all of this to themselves. At what point did we allow ourselves to be convinced that a vagina that smells, looks or tastes like a vagina is totally unacceptable? Since when did we decide that what our vaginas really need is a makeover?
So here’s my question…