Georgia O'Keef, Jack-In-The-Pulpit No. IV, 1930.
Our current sexual-without-sex culture for women and girls is making bananas. BANANAS (no puns, please). Young women are constantly barraged with messages that imply our genitals need improvement. We are told to shave, wax, pluck, tweak, douche, hell even get plastic surgery (images NSWF), in the attempt to do what, exactly? I can't figure it out.
I admit, I groom. I mean, it's not like I want to be strolling the beach with hairs just trying to break free from my bikini bottoms like a meth-freak trying to escape rehab. That said, I'm tired of being told my vagina isn't good enough. I'm tired of being told what is sexy and what is not. And I'm damned tired of seeing Paris Hilton's (and other such young ladies') equipment strewn all over the internet.
And really, what a woman chooses to do with her nether regions is her business. If she waxes it all off, or if she's got a Joy Of Sex style bush happening, or anything in between, that's her deal. I don't think that a grown woman without any pubic hair is revolting (I don't want to hear any squeals about pedophilia), nor do I think a lot of hair is unpleasant. Why? Because it's her choice. Get it?
I am, however tired of the porno-chic, the hairless, glittery aesthetic that has invaded what it means to be female. No, we are not defined by our vaginas, or how intact our hymens may or may not be, but it's the idea that we have as a culture ever-narrowed what is attractive in a woman to the point that we're all supposed to look like... what? Hugh Hefner's girlfriends? Barbie (again?!) or a Bratz doll? Certainly, the definitions of beauty are ever-changing. Botticelli liked big butts as much as Sir Mix-A-Lot. But we've been on a very specific trajectory for some time now. Don't believe me? Just look at the most recent issue of Vanity Fair, their "Young Hollywood" issue. I hate to sound overly critical or cynical, but who are these young women? And can you tell them apart? I have a difficult time doing so. Mannequins and marionettes? I'll stop while I'm ahead. And because I've totally gotten off topic. Whoops.
Our culture is a confused one. Caught between the capitalist mantra that "sex sells" and the puritanical ideals that women should save themselves for marriage while men should "sew their wild oats" before settling down, Americans (particularly young American women) often try to express sex without ever owning it. This isn't their fault, it's simply that popular culture keeps telling girls to use sex, to be sex, but never the reality that they are more than sex, and that they should understand that being sexual and being sexy are different things. Look at the pop tarts we churn out: Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus (a fifteen-year-old pole dancing? REALLY?), etc. And the inevitable falls from grace they experience? Part of the package. They are presented as virgin-whores, and once the luster wears off, what are they? Just whores? I don't think this is, in a word, fair. Lady Gaga, on the other hand, OWNS her sexuality. She's sexual, powerful, and unapologetic. I'm not really a fan of her music (though it is damned infectious to the unsuspecting listener), but I am a fan of her persona. If she were to flash her lady bits at a camera, it would not be because she's trying to get some tabloid gossip going. It'd probably be because she's a big fan of her own vagina. And she should be. So should we all.
We try so hard to reach mainly unattainable pinnacles of beauty, definitions dictated to us by god knows what media machine. I don't want to be told my vagina isn't pretty enough, or sparkly enough, or what have you, too. The only person who has to be happy with my vagina, my body, or anything else about my looks is me. Don't tell me that my vagina should smell like a fucking spring meadow. I don't think anyone should douche (it's quite bad for you healthwise), and I also don't like thinking that if it does smell like a spring meadow, are there little rabbits and butterflies and meadow-creatures hanging out in there, too? This is just one peripheral issue I have with our constant reminders that our vaginas need improvement.
Last I checked, my vagina was just fine, thank you.