26 October 2012

The sequinned vagina

These days vaginas aren't considered picturesque enough without artificial decoration. This leaves CyberShrink almost speechless.


These days vaginas aren't considered picturesque enough without artificial decoration. This leaves CyberShrink almost speechless.

As a character in the sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun declared to his beloved: "I love your every nook and cranny. Especially your cranny." 

But these days, crannies aren't considered picturesque enough without artificial decoration. For instance, there's the really seedy fashion for "Vajazzle", the untalented decoration of the female genitals, often with pubic dye and a sprinkle of sparkles. Gosh, I'm so old, I can even remember the days when preparing for a date didn't need a glue-gun and a handful of sequins! 

With all the products and cautions, it seems that owning a vagina has become like owning a pet such as a dog. You wash it, perm it, decorate it, take it for walks.   

But the main goal isn't entertainment, whether of yourself or others, but as usual, commercial greed. So many ads try to make people uncomfortable and insecure about perfectly normal aspects of themselves in order to persuade us to buy products that are at the very least unnecessary, and often potentially harmful, but always profitable to someone else. 

Bling went the strings of my heart
Apparently tattoos are not enough. I hadn't noticed much movement towards more festive decoration of the male dangly bits, but on checking this out so as not to mislead you, gentle reader, I discovered that it does exist - the Pejazzle. 

At least to judge by the only online piece I could discover on this dark art, it doesn't seem to actually decorate the penis itself, but places a glittery emblem on the lower abdomen above it, as though to mark its place, lest someone forget where to look for it. Like Vajazzle, it’s not about sex, but rather a search for yet another site for displaying bling: a sort of Cockadoodle Do. But sorry, folks, for me it's a Cockadoodle Don't. 

Genital piercings and metallic rings are old hat  though I wonder what Queen Victoria would have thought about the Prince Albert ring? It seems to have been devised in the 1970s, and any links to the straight-laced Prince seem entirely urban legend. There are bound to be further embellishments. Maybe they'll open new territories for weaves, adding to existing pubes, so as to provide enough for a new pony tail or plaits. Some    spas offer Vattoos, air-brushed artworks using temporary inks that will last up to five days. Though, of course, fully able to cause unpleasant allergic reactions lasting much longer. 

Game, set and snatch
Marketers of "feminine hygiene products" also create the myth of genitalia as sources of lurking menace. Exactly like a current, ridiculous TV ad which suggests that children are seriously at risk from handling a soggy bar of soap. Of course they use advertisers' hyperbole and show a huge bar of remarkably sodden soap, covered with soupy old lather and sour bubbles. It would require a long time and much hard effort to produce such a loathsome specimen, but it's presented as though this was the normal form of the species. 

Like those vacuum cleaner ads which show women (never men) despairingly creating clouds of dust on emptying their machine in the messiest possible way, while trying to clear a home where the floors are covered with nuts, bolts and screws, breakfast cereal, and thick tufts of pet hair suggesting they keep a flock of Yeti in the lounge. Then they create an expensive and pointless solution to their non-problem - a large gadget with an electronic sensor, automatically dispensing liquid soap when you wave your hands at it. And, presumably, onto your cat when she wanders past, too. 

Viva  vulva, viva! 
Artists have not been slow in vagging up their works. When the phrase: "The Great Wall of Vagina" first occurred to me, I thought it'd be a neat pun. But on checking it out, I discovered it is also a "labia-loving" art exhibit in London, a 9 m. long wall made of 400 plaster casts of volunteer vaginas. I wonder, having volunteered as a subject for one of the plaster-casts, what do you do about it?  Take your husband along and see if he can identify it among the 399 others? Do you list this on your Facebook page?   

The horror of the camel toe
Another invented problem I've only recently heard of is the dreaded Camel Toe. I'm amazed that in all my long years of medical practice, I never came across this lurking horror, nor any of its victims. 

Apparently some are dreadfully afflicted when their clothing clings to their natural shape and reveals, well, their natural shape. They may suffer the awful shame of "Visible Labia Line" And of course there is a commercial solution, the SmoothGroove, to disguise such intimate curves. 

You, too, can be a smooth as a Barbie Doll. Especially if you have a similar level of active intelligence.  Maybe it's an indication of how hideously seriously some folks might take this non-problem, that the product describes itself as "an alternative to labiaplasty" (claimed to be up 133% in 2009). "There is a force that shapes men's ends (and women's), rough-hew them as we may", as some poet wrote. 

Apparently Camel Toe is a new slang term for the visibility of any suggestion of a labial line, seen through skin-tight clothes. I've never met a camel whose toes would resemble such minor bulges. Doesn't the problem arise, if ever, only where excessively tight and thin clothes are worn, and when natures own solution, pubic hair, has been removed? Just as insecure men might stuff a spare pair of socks into the front of their jeans to exaggerate their contours, women are spending money to pretend they don't have any contours at all.  

As well as the SmoothGroove (which sounds like style of hippie music) there's also the Camelflage, "the original visual privacy garment". It enables you to feel confident, they say, that people aren't laughing at you behind your back. A source of group mirth I have yet to witness.

Merkin the day away
Once upon a time, men used to wear a codpiece (that is not a slice of hake in their pants ) to exaggerate their package and suggest a much larger and more impressive quantum of solace within.  

There was also the merkin, a sort of pubic wig, though I'm not sure of its most common function. Perhaps it could replace a naturally balding pube, or offer a range of colours for special occasions?   

Its actual history is long and murky, and far from pleasant. Merkins were at first used by prostitutes who shaved their genitals for hygienic purposes, to avoid resident pubic lice, and also to disguise obvious signs of venereal diseases such as syphilis. 

Apparently nowadays, when actresses or even actors may have been over-indulging in chocolate-flavoured bikini wax or similar means of removing their natural furs, merkins may sometimes be worn when nude or even semi-nude scenes might reveal, even in brief flashes, baldness where baldness didn't happen in earlier eras. An extra-furry wig may prevent more fleshy exposures, even accidentally, which the actor/actress may wish to avoid and which might also lead to a more restrictive rating of the film. 

I found that there's also a Merkin Concert Hall, which conjures up some interesting images, but apparently it's absolutely unerotic.

(Professor M.A Simpson, Health24, September 2012)





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