Women see their vaginas for the first time.

Passed along by Lal (thanks!):

I ran into a video that could be interesting for the blog! It’s about a YouTuber who posted a Craigslist ad seeking for women who had never taken a look at their genitals before. He makes a “Vagina Booth” so that the women can check themselves out for the first time. Even though we covered related material a couple weeks back, I enjoyed the video a lot because of its positive vibe.

The YouTuber is DaveyWavey, who has made a slew of hilarious and informative videos, almost exclusively related to sex.

Kitty Carpet.

kittycarpet

From Fashion First Aid:

Botched brazilian?
Misbehaved shave?
Unveiled va-jay-jay?

thesolution is Kitty Carpet: reusable downstairs toupee

For the prodigal hippie, the French-web-footed-prostitute-in-another-life, and the woman who wants to bring some spice into the bedroom, the wait is over! Long gone are the days of picking up hairs from the bathroom floor and saving them to make your own merkin. Now you can buy a rug for Mrs. Downstairs in the color you want, cut it to the shape you need, and experience life to the fullest. Each Kitty Carpet measures 3.5″ wide on top and is 4.5″ long. Infinitely reusable, it comes with one sheet of Quick Fix Sticks (medical grade double-sided tape) with 16-24 pieces of tape to start you out. And don’t fret, no actual kitties were harmed in making this product, as Kitty Carpet is 100% polyester faux fur.

Choose between the following 3 colors:

Michael Jackson’s Hair
The Carpet Matches the Drapes
Natural Pink
Using Kitty Carpet is easy as:

1) Trim your Kitty Carpet to the desired shape. (Stencils available at solutionsthatstick.com/downstairscarpet)
2) Peel off at least one included Quick Fix Stick and stick it to the non-fuzzy side of Kitty Carpet.
3) Adhere your Kitty Carpet exactly where yo uthink it should go.
Contains: 1 carpet with 16-24 pieces of Quick Fix Sticks
Measures: 4 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ x 1/5″ (11.5 x 9 x 0.5 cm)

Check it out here.

Designer vulvas and vaginas.

vaginal rejuvination

From the Atlantic:

Designer Parts: Inside the Strange, Fascinating World of Vaginoplasty

Why are some women spending upwards of $10,000 for complete “vaginal rejuvenation”? A visit to one plastic surgeon for a evaluation and sizing.

Dr. Ronald Blatt squats on the stool between the fuzzy pink stirrups propping up my legs. As I brace for the gynecologist to start poking around with his lubricated, latex encased paws, my eyes dart from a garage sale castaway of a seascape painting to an anatomy chart then back to the sole odd aspect of this setup: a mirror positioned so I can see my lady parts alongside Blatt’s pink necktie-adorned head. Thank goodness I remembered to trim.

But the doctor I’m straddling isn’t about to inspect my ovaries or administer a routine pap smear test. Blatt runs the Manhattan Center for Vaginal Surgery, and he’s preparing to assess my vaginal tightness and to demonstrate how he might alter my labia.

I scheduled this complimentary consultation under the guise of wanting “to understand my options.” Secretly, I want to explore why a growing number of women are modifying a body part so few can see by undergoing the elective surgeries in which Blatt specializes: vaginoplasty (removal of excess lining and tightening of surrounding tissue and muscles) and labiaplasty (reshaping of the labia minora, and sometimes the labia majora and/or clitoral hood). The former is often pursued by women who believe their capacity to enjoy sex is compromised by a loose vagina, which can be the result of a congenital condition — as it was for Lucy Mancini in a Godfather plot point neglected by Francis Ford Coppola for the screen — or childbirth. I’m especially interested in the latter, which is typically endured for purely cosmetic reasons. Although statistics on these operations are difficult to come by since most are performed by OB/GYN’s rather than plastic surgeons, it is believed that the number of women having them is increasing rapidly — some estimate by fivefold over the last decade. Perhaps most interestingly, an August 2011 study in the British Journal of Medicine showed that 40 percent of women who inquired about genital reconstruction reported the desire to go through with it even after being informed that their labia were normal.

[...]

Moments later, a middle-aged lady with a black bob in a white lab coat bounces toward me wielding pamphlets. She hugs me then steps back.

“You like my doctor? I love this man,” she begins, eyes hypnotizingly wide.

“Have you had it done?”

She confesses that she hasn’t, but not before reassuring, “I don’t have one dissatisfied lady.” Continuing, “This is a life changing surgery. You’re saying boyfriend now? After this he’s going to marry you. I’m telling you, my love. I’m telling you.”

Blatt’s hype woman escorts me on a tour of the facilities before wishing me well.

[...]

Luckily, the very World Wide Web that hosts all that porn also bestows us with Show Your Vagina, a Tumblr I chance upon while researching. Launched in September 2010, the site encourages women to post anonymous photos of their vaginas. Though shocking at first, the disparities are fixating, and I feel a whiff of empowerment for every female participant while browsing. It seems wrong not to upload my own spread eagle portrait.

Show Your Vagina is an overwhelmingly simple concept that highlights the importance of sharing and openness in combating body-related shame. Unfortunately, we can’t rely upon our frighteningly remedial sex-ed programs. Nor can we rely upon popular women’s magazines. When I naively pitched this piece to one such glossy, I was told: “Our EIC probably wouldn’t take well to an idea that so prominently involves the word ‘vagina.'” Exactly.

Read the whole thing here.

Vulva/labia blogs.

As mentioned in class, genital shame is a growing problem. The data from the iClicker question about female students’ perceptions of their vulva reflected this (more than half the women in class reported some sort of dissatisfaction). This, in part, is due to the fact that most people don’t get the opportunity to see a wide variety of genitals, and therefore presume that there is one specific way in which they should look (i.e., symmetrical, tucked in labia minora, etc. – many have accused mainstream porn of creating this problem). Several user-content blogs have popped up, intended to showcase the massive diversity in appearance of the vulva. Presumably, the hope is that by publishing these sorts of images, that women who see them will feel less dissatisfaction/shame about their genitals. I posted one of these blogs previously: link (NSFW).

Naiomi from class a few terms ago passed along another (thanks!):

largelabia

Click here to go to the site (NSFW). And click here to learn about the blog’s owner.

The questions, comments and replies are all interesting to read, too.

Art: The Great Wall of Vagina (vulva?).

I’d be interested what you, as students, have to say about all this.

It isn’t entirely clear what is driving the increased anxiety many women are now experiencing about their vulva. One theory, supported by substantial anecdotal evidence, is that pornography is driving this trend, and that there is some sort of ideal vulva represented in porn. But as Stoya, a prominent porn star, has noted, pornography, in general, may not unequivocally be the culprit (post here – not that she’s claiming that pornography doesn’t have an effect on preferences). She also notes that men don’t really seem to care about the size of their partners’ labia.

Another theory suggests that the increase in labiaplasties is the result of marketing by plastic surgeons. So, for example, a woman visits a plastic surgeon’s website for some other procedure, and sees marketing for labiaplasty, which presumably indicates that larger or asymmetrical labia are problematic. This is potentially internalized, leading to a desire to seek out labiaplasty.

Assuming pornography is responsible, however, it isn’t clear if women are feeling down on their vulva because they’re watching pornography and comparing themselves (specifically to those actresses with small inner labia – most actresses have average or larger labia), or if men’s consumption of pornography is affecting male preferences, leading to demands about their partners’ vulva (perhaps the more likely explanation?). If average and smaller labia are supposedly more desirable, then why are there very popular web sites out there dedicated to the worship of large labia (e.g., here – very NSFW)? It’s also possible that the vulva is simply another part of the body that can cause anxiety, and that the more media exposure vulva dissatisfaction gets, the more anxiety that is created.

There’s very little good data addressing this issue. Here is one of the few studies:

Miklos, J. R., & Moore R. D. (2008). Labiaplasty of the labia minora: Patients’ indications for pursuing surgery. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 5, 1492–5.

They found that 37% of women who underwent labiaplasty did so only for cosmetic reasons. Another 31% went through the procedure for both functional and cosmetic reasons. The other 32% had labiaplasty only for functional reasons. Overall, 6.9% stated that they were influenced by their partners (in 2 of 9 cases, by female partners!).

The paper can be found here.

Anyway, another project about labiaplasty and women’s relationships with their vulva, despite the misleading name (vagina?):

From the artist’s (Jamie McCartney) statement:

For this, my latest major sculpture, I cast, over the course of 5 years, the vaginas (well the vulva area in fact) of hundreds of volunteers. The Great Wall of Vagina is an exploration of women’s relationships with their genitals. When I assembled the first panel of 40 casts in summer 2008, I stepped back disappointed. I realised the sculpture would need to be much bigger to have the impact I wanted. From this original piece (called Design A Vagina) has grown an epic sculpture. The final piece now has 400 casts arranged in 10 panels of 40.

“Why did I do it and what’s it all about?” I hear you ask. Well, it became clear to me whilst working on a not dissimilar piece for a sex museum that many women have anxiety about their genital appearance. It appalled me that our society has created yet one more way to make women feel bad about themselves. I decided that I was uniquely placed to do something about it.

The sculpture comments on the trend for surgery to create the ‘perfect’ vagina. This modern day equivalent of female genital mutilation is a bizarre practice which suggests that one is better than another. Taste in nothing is universal and any desire for ‘homogyny’ could be very misguided. 400 casts arranged in this manner is in no way pornographic, as it might have been if photographs had been used. One is able to stare without shame but in wonder and amazement at this exposé of human variety. For the first time for many women they will be able to see their own genitals in relation to other women’s. In doing so they may dispel many misconceptions they may have been carrying about what women look like ‘down there’. The sculpture is serene and intricate and it works on many levels.

His website is here.

And a clip about him and his project (NSFW):

Stoya on vulva.

stoya_9

From her blog:

Stoya vs. Lady Porn Day

I am a porn star.

I am a lady that makes porn.

I hear a lot from women about how they are uncomfortable with their vaginas. They wonder if it looks right, smells right, is the right color, shape, size, proportionate, if their labia stick out too much (or even not enough).

I hear that they appreciate my comfort with my own protruding labia and take it as validation that they don’t need a hairless “coin slot” vulva where everything is all tucked in in order to be attractive.

It’s nice to hear that ladies like my body and like that I run around with no clothing on sometimes, but seriously, you need to understand something.

Dudes do not give a fuck.

I’m focusing on female/male sexual interaction here because men that only have sex with men have reasons for not wanting to touch your pretty lap flower that have nothing to do with its scent or aesthetic value, and I really hope that women who have sex with women are already openly down with the fact that pussies come in a wide and beautiful array of looks, feels and smells.

But seriously, dudes that are into chicks don’t give a fuck.

Read the rest of the entry here.