At 13, the most I had to worry about was weather my bum would squeeze into my acid wash skinny jeans and if I would ever grow enough breast tissue to fill out a crochet triangle bikini with any kind of respect.
Along with the usual round of teenage acne, the horrifying need for glasses (they were NOT on the must have accessory list way back then) and the fact that my most memorable asset has always been (and will forever remain so) the enormous, instantly recognisable gap between my two front teeth.
Looking back, I am feeling pretty damn lucky.
I didn’t think too much about having diabolically artistic brows (plucked almost into non-existence was the look and was a fast, painful and very cheap process requiring zero skill)
I didn’t have to worry about whether my cheekbones sat high enough, my requisite body parts were pierced appropriately and if I could get away with a cute little Namaste tattoo on my wrist without getting expelled or grounded.
I didn’t have to worry about having the right clothes at every conceivable moment in case some one snapped me in something less than perfect, and I definitely did not have to worry about perfecting myself for a selfie.
And I absolutely did not have to worry about my vagina being able to fit into the season’s swimwear.
I have spoken to literally thousands of women over the years, about how they feel about their bodies – ALL of their bodies. And once you get past the never ending condemnation of butt, belly, thighs, hips, breasts and chins, you will inevitably get to the quiet consternation of having a “funny looking” vagina.
Let’s face it, it is not often someone says – I have a very pretty vagina and I am proud of it. Not in public anyway, but sadly, not even to themselves. It is for that reason that:
LABIAPLASTY IS THE FASTEST GROWING PLASTIC SURGERY IN THE WESTERN WORLD
Read that a couple more times and let it sink in.
Just in case you were not sure what labiaplasty is, I am going to save you the google time, because frankly, you just don’t want to. In short it involves cutting off the labia to make the vulva “neater”, “smaller”, “tidier” and my favourite – “less offensive”
Not only are women deeply dissatisfied with their faces, breasts, butts and bellies, a designer vagina is the hottest thing on the long list of ways to improve yourself.
Porn and its incessant portrayal of Barbie like, scarily prepubescent vulvas has had a massive impact on the way women view their own delightful anatomy. This is not news, and the experts are hitting back and warning of the dangers to young people about setting unrealistic expectations of sexual encounters and bodies.
Oh how I wish porn was the only culprit here.
Aware parents could congratulate themselves on safe guarding young girls against such nonsensical comparisons whilst having an in depth discussion about the insidious nature of porn.
But, unfortunately, the perfect pussy is out and about in the public arena far more than we think, and in just the place you want it least – advertising aimed at tweens and teens.
Online swimwear and clothing company Beginning Boutique recently posted their new range of “Floss” bikinis (think “dental floss” and you will be on track with your imagery) to a host of scorn from women with real vaginas – ones brave enough and old enough to know just how ridiculous this current trend is. Fantastically witty shots were taken at the company – a few of my favourites included
“I had a less intrusive smear test today.”
“You’re going to need 2 of these love. One for the lefty and one for the righty.”
“Sell anything for women with vaginas?”
It’s all good and well for women with a healthy sense of humour and a side helping of body confidence to make this into the joke it should be, but what about the young women for whom this is their fashion norm? It is sneaky trends like this that are making young women question more and more the normality of their own genitals.
Of course, if you have anything other than the requisite designer vagina that is going to fit in this bikini, you could always have a small tidy up – in Britain the NHS will even fund labiaplasty for girls from age 12 in some cases.
And a quick tidy up is essential before these images go to print. The Australian Classification Board requires that images of vulvae “must be healed to a single crease” – meaning that messy, pesky & vulgar inner labia cannot be visible.
Lets read that again shall we?
Just like Barbie. Or a Kardashian. Depending on your age.
So, what’s the antidote?
Ban upcycled dental floss apparel? While in theory it sounds good (actually I am sure the world would be a better place) it is likely to be replaced with a similar ludicrous trend aimed at making women feel inadequate & flawed. This season’s bikini is just another variation on a theme.
What we need is to talk to each other, and our kids (yes, our sons as well – they need to know that vaginas come in, well, THOUSANDS of different & delicious varieties) about the beauty of the human body, it’s diversity and the god damn reality of what a vagina can look like. Healthy. Beautiful. Big, small, hairy… the list is endless.
We have to stop letting ridiculously digitised versions of womanhood dictate to our young people, leaving them in a cycle of body negativity and dissatisfaction. We have to model messy diversity as the new sexy ass norm.
It is time to let your freak flaps fly!
If you are not comfortable with your own body or being naked around your young children, then you might like to try some of these alternatives…
Or if you are simply scared witless about how to go about this kind of conversation, come along to a Courageous Conversations Parent Seminar – learn how to tackle this, and so much more.