Friday, December 30, 2005

Horrors of the Beauty Ideal

While browsing one of the huge pile of magazines recently referenced that overflow my living room, I happened on an article that left me dern near speechless. For those that know me, that is quite feat. What publication could possibly contain an article of this magnitude? Well it was one that I don’t recall ever seeing anywhere. At this juncture, I feel compelled to state for the record to my dear readers that I don’t subscribe to any magazines, these denizens of deforested land oozing with scent strips that bring on asthma and itching eyes just appear in my home. I swear.

Women’s Health and Fitness. July 2005. Now I realize that the cover headlines should have warned me to just toss it into recycling like I do to Ebony because the writing in that tabloid so atrocious as to embarrass a fifth grader. “Have more SEX! and 22 other ways to be healthier TODAY” “Is your job making you FAT?” “Spray on tans: Are they safe?” All of that should have warned me that opening this glossy example of misogynistic rot would enrage me. Sure the concept that a job makes one fat is silly, though possible. I absolutely agree that having sex is part of being healthy. But but but…. “Designer Vaginas” by Anka Radakovich just sent me seething. Yes, I do know about the Laser Vaginoplasty and am incredibly dismayed by the concept that women feel and are being encouraged to feel that there is something wrong with the look of their lovely vaginas. The brilliant and a tad maniacal Twisty of I Blame the Patriarchy had an excellent commentary on this subject a few months ago that had me laughing, fuming and nodding my head a lot. We all look different, even our vaginas look different – isn’t that all part of the miraculous thing called being human? I remember marveling at the photos in A New View of A Woman’s Body in the early 80’s of all the different ways we look. I thought it was a fantastic opportunity for women to learn about the diversity of our nether regions and embrace it. Okay, I was idealistic and working at Eve’s Garden at the time. The truth is I haven’t changed my views, but my career as a sex toy seller has ended though I do preach the gospel of visiting one’s local sex positive toy store (in my case Good Vibrations).

So, yes I knew that there are hacks surgeons advertising and performing laser vaginoplasty because god forbid there are females going around having two different size labia lips. We all know that breasts, especially surgically modified ones are perfectly identical (cough!). I realized that women were having one side reduced, and I suppose I wasn’t too surprise to read that some women are having them pumped with fat (from where, she wonders with horror) to give them “pouty” lips, or to have liposuctioned mound because it was too pouty? How can one’s pubic mound be fat? How fat phobic are we? OMG.

Now we get the surgical “advance” that had me sputtering, and The Girl Friend had to speak soothingly to me to bring me back to speech. Vaginal Rejuvenation. Apparently there is a common complaint among women that they feel looser after giving birth and this is a bad thing. As a doula and childbirth educator I had always heard and taught and had reported to me that giving birth increase the folds in vaginal canal (wish I had a better word that didn’t reference a manmade tunnel) which, whoa, increase pleasure. Apparently not. This surgery is designed to tighten the vaginal walls. Using a laser the pelvic floor is CUT!, then this lovely Doctor Matlock “reduces the diameter of the vagina, tightening it up and improving the friction. The procedure, ‘is all about sex,’ he says.” Sure for someone who has $3000 to $7000 dollars and are willing to be in pain for 2 days, and who can take a week off of work. What about working out those muscles, you know the “elevator” trick. And did you know that men should kegel too? In the article the Doctor Frankenstein actually is quoted as saying the surgery results in a “post virginal/prechildbearing state.” ACK! He also says he gets thank you notes, and flowers from husbands. Aha. So really this is for men, but women get to do all the work. As usual.

But wait, there’s more! Another procedure is the “G-spot injection”. Again, if you have $1800, are willing to have a few hours of throbbing pain you too can have your g-spot injected with collagen which will apparently make it more sensitive and creates more powerful and intense orgasms. The collagen in absorbed back into the body in about fours months, but women report that there is a lasting benefit of an increased awareness of their g-spots. Hm, some good sessions with some toys, a good lover, or even just by yourself should be able to accomplish all this without sticking a damn needle into honored tissues. (While searching for links for this paragraph I found this one, which is amazing. I'm not saying good or bad, but the name of the site just has me tickled. For one of the ultimate sources of self pleasure and learning about your body's responses, I would encourage you to at least look at this website. Ms. Dodson is quite spectular on many levels, I can say this as I have actually spent time with her, socially. I don't agree with everything she has said or written over the years (no one fits that criteria, I mean really!) but she is fabulous for what she has done and helped to bring about significant changes in our views on sexuality.

In a rejection of the contents of the article referenced, and because we all have a roll in changing society, I would encourage all of my 4 readers to think about submitting artwork to this. I would be happy to offer my photographic abilities to your submission. For those that think this is merely a flirtatious device, let me assure you that it is, however it is backed by the fact that I was once upon a long time ago a photography major and I prefer black and white film.

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