There's a DMZ in my knickers

Last updated 09:07 18/04/2012

What's wrong with your genitals? Answer. Everything. At least that's the conclusion I'm slowly coming to. Over the past few years I feel as if female genitalia especially are being viewed rather more critically than they ever have before.

Brazilian bikini waxes, vajazzling, surgically "reconstructed" hymens, and special deodorising washes - all modern mechanisms for making cosmetic (or sometimes structural) changes to lady bits. And the straw that broke the camel's toe? "Clean and Dry Intimate Wash" which not only makes sure your crotch doesn't smell like it's supposed to but also makes it whiter. No, I have no idea how that's supposed to work either.

Apparently "Clean and Dry" gives your crotchal area "freshness and fairness" and by "fairness" they don't mean "an absence of bias" as much as "an absence of brownness". I am utterly bewildered by this. I mean, I don't know about you but the contents of my knickers are the least sun-exposed bits of me. I may be part Māori but I'm nowhere more Pakeha than in my gruds. This product makes no sense to me.

It just seems as if the overwhelming message I get from these products and the popular obsession with genital "tweaking" is that my lovely lady bits are not, in fact lovely. They should definitely not have as much hair as they're supposed to, smell like they're supposed to and now their natural pigment is under attack too? What next? A plastic device that hides the fact that I even have genitals?

Somewhere, probably on a cable channel with a parental code lock on it, I feel sure that someone is screening a TV show called "Pimp my Hooha" in which a woman's groin is "renovated" and ends up with a massive sub-woofer, multiple LCD screens and garish upholstery. If not, can it be very far away?

Look, we all worry about various bits of ourselves that we don't like. You're too short, or too lanky. You have freckles or wrinkles or love handles. You have grey hair or no hair or ear hair. Everybody has these insecurities to some extent. The luckiest people are the ones who can accept themselves for who they are and surround themselves with others who do the same. But for most of us this is an ongoing struggle. Some days you're feeling good about your body, others not so much.

But I do think we should agree that however else we might doubt ourselves, we just leave our genitals out of it. Unless we have medical advice to the contrary then we should all just assume that our genitals are perfect just as they are.

It seems ludicrous to me that I should need to make that statement. It should be self-evident. But I'd like to go even further. Repeat after me, "There is nothing wrong with my genitals."*

I honestly think that the world would be a better place if we could collectively manage to feel better about our sexy bits. If you want to be worried about your stubby fingers or slightly crooked teeth then go for it but can we have a halt to hostilities on the Forest Moon of Endor? Let my Ewok go. I'm declaring a demilitarised zone and it's bounded on both sides by knicker elastic.

What do you think about the level of, er, attention that genitals receive now and is this a bit of a step backward for humanity? Given that for the most part they're hidden from view, is it strange and unhelpful to want to modify them so much? 

* I don't actually expect you to say this out loud in an open-plan office, say, but maybe you could just say it in your head or save it for later? Believing it is the most important bit.

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AT   #1   09:20 am Apr 18 2012

Yeah I might save the affirmation for a bit later when I'm not in an open plan office, but I am with you 100%. There is nothing wrong with my bits. I look at it this way, if a guy gets anywhere near there, what are the chance of him pausing to consider whether the scenery could be more sparkly... or white? Seriously, whiter? I don't think those bits get tanned even on nudist beaches!

And is it just me, or does the idea of vajazzling just sound really uncomfortable? Maybe it's designed with people who don't walk or sit in mind.

Angel   #2   09:25 am Apr 18 2012

I've had nothing but compliments about my genitals, so I'm pretty cool with it. Anyone who thinks otherwise is, pardon the pun, a bit of a douche.

Davo   #3   09:25 am Apr 18 2012

For a while now it has been happening to men too. Of course the size thing has always been an issue for some women (despite all the talk about "it's how you use it that counts...blah blah blah..."), and for a while now men have been expected to shave or trim. Is it only fair that womens bits are coming under closer scrutiny? Oh, and there is one more thing that is becoming an almost essential weapon women should have in their genital armoury, but this is a public forum, and I am not going to cross that line...

Sally   #4   09:29 am Apr 18 2012


Sarah   #5   10:20 am Apr 18 2012

From what I gather (and I'm 37 so Gen Y, so probably too old to understand 'the youth')... pubic hair removal is de rigueur among the young folk these days. So much so most young guys haven't actually seen a woman with pubic hair. This is kind of sad. Thank god I'm not a cougar as I'm way too much of a wuss for that kind of carry on.

Alice2   #6   10:21 am Apr 18 2012

You can't win. If you take part in any of it, you're vain/self-centred/doing it for someone else. If you don't do anything, you're lazy/dirty/don't put in enough effort. Nothing's ever right.

P   #7   10:22 am Apr 18 2012

@ Davo #3 Honestly I think that it's not fair that either sexes gentials are coming under scrutiny, but I assure you that womens genitals coming under scrutiny is no modern occurence, e.g. female genital mutilation. Don't google that unless you are ready to experience some pretty confronting images about how women's genitals are deemed to be unacceptable.

In general, I think this additional attention on genitals is spurred in part by pornography and the idea of the perfect body. It's really an extension of the way women and men (but particularly women) are confronted with skewed images of how they "should" look, and this has done untold harm for decades now (think of the rise of eating disorders in that time, particularly anorexia nervosa which is practically unheard of in cultures with little Western input).

Leon   #8   10:23 am Apr 18 2012

About half a dozen spam emails hit my mail filter a day on the subject of improving my manparts! At least your ladyparts improvement / renovation products are available other than on dubious websites in Russia. Should you chose to accept their allegations that everything needs to be pimped.

Moi   #9   10:29 am Apr 18 2012

HURRAH! Thank you for this blog, it is something I have been campaigning for for a long time. Porn has a lot to answer for thanks to its photoshopped portrayals of what the female form should look like. In saying that, I get regular brazillians purely for looks because my husband likes it. So I am just as bad as the rest of them - basically, when everyone else stops doing it, so will I. In the mean time I am no better than a Lemming.

Bettena Roza   #10   10:37 am Apr 18 2012

Well companies will always work on people's insecurities in order to sell them something. This is just the latest thing.

So suddenly your vajayjay should be 'fair'? What are darker-skinned people supposed to make of it? And does that make it racist?

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