Today’s topic is predominantly about labia. Specifically I wonder when this concept of labia imperfection came about. I suppose the labia is just a convenient example of the media based female imperfection obsession. Constant onslaughts of ads telling us all the things that are wrong/can or should be fixed by such and such product has led a lot of girls, young women, and older women alike to wonder “am I normal?” Particularly on the labia front (which is a funny thing to say) I wonder when it started. When it became common place for women to wonder if their vaginas looked “wrong.” There has been for many decades the idea that vaginas smelled wrong and ought to smell like lemons and roses, but in my mind a logical time for the onset of labial worries must have been around the time of widespread pornography. Now, I am absolutely not here to say that porn is horribly detrimental to the female psyche any more than mass media in general. Even in the medieval times descriptions of women would leave many women feeling they were underperforming, if they could read (Chaucer anyone?). However, images of fully naked vaginas are a relatively recent development. With more vaginas available to look at, a particular kind arrangement was pushed forward. Not surprisingly, this is a fairly adolescent-looking vagina. Tiny, shaven, and light pink.
Two extreme examples of how this plays in to current marketing are stark opposites. This etsy site boasts the most life like labia pendants I have ever seen. Each one is a graphic reclamation of the variety of vaginas available in nature. How effective is this in re-teaching us to forget about our previous concept of “attractive vaginas?” Given that I have yet to see one actually worn by someone in public, their current use seems more symbolic than active.
On the other end of the spectrum is this little goody. Yep. You can dye your labia pink. We have finally marketed the Caucasian-ideal all the way down to vaginas. Clearly this moves in the wrong direction. In case you didn’t have enough to worry about, “is my vagina pink enough?” can now be added to your list.
(A side note: labiaplasty is a plastic surgery to reduce elongated labia. Sometimes this is done because damage has been caused and the labia cause discomfort or pain. Mostly it’s cosmetic. COSMETIC. Sick.)
When do you think this started? Did our mothers or grandmothers have to deal with these worries too? Or is it new to more recent generations?