What Women Will Do With Their VaJayJays…
(This excerpt is from a series that was made in Britain.)
I saw this recent article over at AlterNet about what women will undergo or do about their vaginas. Currently, it’s the number one article over there.
It looks like a lot of self-hating, truly. Someone’s got to explain it to me if it isn’t. To me, you’re perfect if everything works well. If it doesn’t, and it disturbs your mental and physical health, then get help or in extreme cases, surgery. Otherwise, why muck with a good thing? It seems, though, that it is happening in response to several things: to conform to men’s expectations, to stay in competition with other women; to paranoia about bodily functions, and also to paranoia about getting older.
Don’t even think that this is merely a white woman’s thing. That’s what some black women will say. No, it ain’t. I’ve seen the TDS sprays and the douche kits in black women’s apartments and homes, too. And now that some black women have some real disposable income, I wouldn’t put it past some of them to secretly research and try even more invasive procedures to make themselves appear and smell normal. Whatever that is. They’ll call it searching for self-esteem and self-acceptance. It would put a new spin on how black women look at themselves. To have agency and to decide on such a thing would cut both ways. I would hope that through the law of averages, negative wouldn’t win out over positive.
All one needs to do is to keep a vagina clean with water and a little soap daily (not a lot of soap, but enough), and if you’re really concerned about cleanliness, a little vinegar and water every once in a while in a douche bag, so as not to disturb the delicate pH and flora of the vagina. At least, that’s what I learned. And if there was anything else that simply didn’t look or smell right, then a visit to the gynecologist was warranted.
I also know that “you are what you eat.” (Or smoke.) If I ate certain other foods, it would show up…down there, not only under my arms. It would take several days before that scent and taste would leave my system. Because it wasn’t fun if I had a lover who wanted to play with me down there after I had had a plate of pasta at The Stinking Rose or had a chiri-nabe or yose-nabe dinner.
I never got into really esoteric stuff like deodorants. I’ve done some douching, but not very much; I guess it all depends on the individual woman. However–and this is where I think the self-hating comes in for me–why mess with physically altering your punany or vajayjay as if you’re having a nose job? Even with the color. You’ve got to read this madness to believe it. No, I don’t think it has anything to do with the beauty business as we know it, but it seems akin to the kinds of things women do all over to control their bodies–especially that thing down there–for some thing or someone.
That’s what this article is all about. The author, Andy Wright, gender unknown, boiled it down to six things that women are fixated about with their vaginas:
Problem: Your Vagina Smells Bad;
Solution: Vaginal Deodorant
Problem: Your Vagina is Dirty;
Problem: Your Vagina is Too Loose;
Solution: Vaginal Rejuvenation
Problem: Your Vagina is Ugly;
Problem: Your Vagina Tastes Bad;
Solution: Vagina Mints
Problem: Your Vagina is the Wrong Color;
Solution: Vaginal Bleaching and Dyeing
I’m only going to talk about a couple of these “solutions.” Vaginal rejuvenation means that the surgeon tightens your slack vagina up, especially after having children, for “enhanced sexual pleasure.” Many women also have this procedure–which runs into the thousands of dollars–in order to fake out a husband from a very patriarchal culture. Under the knife, it’s a way to become a virgin again, and you could throw in a recreated hymen. Yeah, right. Who wants the experience of The First Time again? There are drawbacks, though, to looking back.
Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation is a trademarked phrase that refers to a practice developed and popularized by Dr. David Matlock, who’s made several appearances on the E! channel’s plastic surgery reality show, Dr. 90210. Matlock and other doctors who carry out LVR claim that the $4,000 to $20,000 procedure makes women’s vaginas tighter, thus increasing sexual pleasure.
But many doctors disagree. The American Urogynocology Society won’t endorse it. And the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists cautioned in a 2007 statement that women seeking “designer vaginas” should be “informed about the lack of data supporting the efficacy of these procedures and their potential complications, including infection, altered sensation, dyspareunia (painful intercourse), adhesions, and scarring.” Sexy!
Labiaplasty means reduction of the vaginal lips; that is, the gates to the vagina. Now get this, even the surgeons want to help you get that Playboy magazine-type youthfulness. What? Makes me think women’s vaginas are being reduced to the specs of an X-rated film. Again, this is supposedly what the guys want. That is, some guys.
[…] Labiaplasty drastically reduces the labia, the protruding lips that surround the opening of the vagina. Why would you want to do this? Because your labia are “unequal,” “elongated,” “large,” “irregular,” “floppy,” and “unfeminine.” These are just some of the unflattering adjectives bandied about on the Web sites of surgeons who offer this procedure. Luckily, with the use of lasers and scalpels, your vagina can be made “prettier,” “better proportioned,” “youthful,” and achieve “the true Playboy aesthetic look.” How much will it cost you to make your labia proportional and feminine? About $5,000 or more.
Makes me think that those gates of pleasure are the size of elephant ears, when they aren’t. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it appears that these kinds of guys can’t appreciate women as they are. They cannot be or refuse to be pleased, until a woman’s features resemble that of a cat, or when she cannot have any children.
Lastly, asking a surgeon to become a Leonardo and dye or bleach the color of your vagina? I think I would trust the genes that made me, and not someone else. Plus, like tightening your vagina, it’s potentially very harmful.
Many women are under the impression that it’s OK to have a vagina colored vagina. They’re wrong, of course. They should be pink, and exceptionally so. What’s a woman with a vagina colored vagina to do? Bleach it. Accomoclitic Laser and Wax Studio in Lakewood, Colorado, purveyors of an anal bleaching product called “Pink Wink,” also sell something called Bleach Babe, a cream that promises to do away with the “natural discoloration surrounding the exterior of the vagina.” Bleach Babe contains Kojic acid, the same ingredient that keeps salmon meat pink. South Beach Solutions sells a similar lightening product with Sodium hydroxide, which can also be found in drain decloggers and septic tank cleansers.
Ah, no. Not this black woman. Again, I get the feeling that with products used to bleach a woman’s anus as well as a vagina, it seems a lot like borrowing from the porn industry. But it’s a free world, and women continue to do things like this all the time, some throwing good sense and caution to the winds, no matter what womanists and feminists, or what informed moms and friends tell them. Unfortunately, many suffer needlessly for perfection. Nathaniel Hawthorne warned about this in his short story, The Birthmark. Georgiana is physically perfect, but her husband Aylmer obsessively hates the one thing that seems to mar her beauty, a heart-shaped birthmark on her face. Long-story-short, mad Aylmer, who’s also a scientist, gets Georgiana to drink a potion that will fade the birthmark. The birthmark fades all right, but Georgiana ends up dead.
Do it if you wanna, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.