Political Correctness Gone Mad: How Celebrity Endorsement and a Catchy Title Still Doesn’t Make It Appealing To Stick Diamantes On Your Waxed Pubic Area.

April 22nd, 2011

Definitely get this done immediately?

‘after a breakup a friend of mine Swarovski Crystaled my…ummm…precious lady. and umm…and it shined like a disco ball, and so I have a whole chapter in there about how women should vajazzle their, vajayjays….It looks like a little disco ball down there, its great….it does…and…and it’s hot pink today, for you. So that’s good.’
– Jennifer love Hewitt, discussing her new book on ‘Lopez Tonight’.
A year or so ago a good friend sent me a Youtube clip called ‘Clitter! its Glitter for Your Vagina!’ Featuring the unforgettable lines ‘thanks Clitter, for turning my labia into a yaybia!’ and ‘Clitter turned my yeast infection…into a jewel collection,’ the clip was an obvious yet diverting send up of those ubiquitous beauty adverts which purport to endow lifelong happiness if only women would buy into the relevant product. The clip showed deliberately crude upskirt shots of female celebrities’ crotches covered over with MS Paint-like attempts at glitter. In short, Clitter was ridiculous, and because it was ridiculous, it was quite funny.

Ironic then, that where my friends send me videos mocking the ludicrous idea of decorative glitter for the cunt, Jennifer love Hewitt’s friends suggest she lie down and get the hot wax out. That’s right, some women in the world, in the real, substantial world, have decided that pubic diamante applications are not self-evidently nauseating but rather, sexy and fun. Clitter has actually become reality, but cunn(t)ingly retitled as ‘vajazzling’. You’ve got to hand it to Hewitt, vajazzling is a pretty clever name. because it is a pun. It has two meanings at once, get it? Meaning number one: vajayjay, (I’m presuming that this is a word for the vagina) delineating the general area to be glitzed up. Meaning number two: jazz, like jazzy, like jazzy diamantes. or jazzy Swarovski crystals, if you have loads of money to waste an expensive crystal collection on the area where your pubes should be.

Except, this fad has nothing to do with the vagina. Indeed, in the vajazzling clip from inane TV show ‘The Only Way is Essex’, which I hold to blame for bringing the vajazzle to British shores, the vajazzling beautician (vajazzler) explicitly warns the proto-vajazzled client (vajazzlee) that the vajazzles are not to be glued to the actual vagina (vajina?). As the Anne Summers uniform-wearing vajazzler says, ‘basically, don’t put it on your bits, basically.’ and therein lies the flaw in what is otherwise a reasonably catchy way to repackage something so banal that I still can’t believe it really exists. Hewitt et al are not really entitled to say ‘vajazzle your vajayjay!’ or whatever it is they say, because the vajazzles don’t go anywhere near your actual vajayjay. The word ‘vagina’ refers specifically to, for want of a better word, the hole that all the other bits of the vulva surround. Vajazzles explicitly don’t go on the vajayjay. they also don’t go on your clitoris, your labia minora, your labia majora, your greater and lesser vestibular glands, your vestibular bulbs, your vulval vestibule, or any of your other external genital organs. As a non-scientist, I admit I just looked up some of those names on Wikipedia. anyway, apparently, the official name for the place that the vajazzles actually go is the ‘mons pubis’. perhaps unfortunately for aspiring vajazzlers everywhere, ‘monspubisjazzle your mons pubis!’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

To casually subsume such a politically, sexually, and biologically complex part of women’s anatomies under the totalizing concept of ‘vagina’, or ‘hole that the man penetrates’, is utterly objectionable and highly sexist. This is a retrograde concept of female sexuality, one that overlooks the arguably much more vital role that the rest of the genitals, and more, rest of the body, play in sex and eroticism. I see the lazy conflation of the waxed pubic area with the vagina as symptomatic of the prevalence of the ‘teenaged Nuts-reader’ mentality; in viewing endless pictures of women (repackaged as ‘girls’) nude from the front on, we internalise the idea that the pubic region simply is the female genitalia, and conveniently forget that underneath all that are real, odorous, vital, wet, dry, aggressive, soft, hairy, receptive, hard, human genitals. I mean, what could be less suited to a trivialising star/rainbow/pretty butterfly decoration than genitalia? If this is intended as a way that women can affirm and identify with our own bodies, fine, but can we have something a bit less…diamante? maybe as a way to affirm, identify, empower, etc, we could instead have cultural narratives that embrace a variety of bodies and a set of beauty regimes that are even slightly less demanding, alienating, and infantilising?

Actually, for something ostensibly presented as idiosyncratic of some modern femininities to lazily take on an ignorant, simplifying, het-male-gaze view of female genitalia really just points to a wider problem with this whole vajazzling practice. In all Hewitt’s self-denigrating talk of cute little disco balls, it is unquestioned that a prospective vajazzler will have to completely wax her cunt, thereby further relegating the female body to the realm of unthreatening object: there for male pleasure. why the necessary full wax? Can’t I put Swarovski crystals in my massive bush, if I choose to? a liberal sprinkling and it would be like a cute little mohair disco ball down there. I’m joking, my cunt isn’t cute, and I would never decorate my pubes with crystals because a: as I’ve hinted, I think it is endlessly stupid, and b: I would hope that any prospective partner of mine would not be able to have sex for laughing if they took down my underwear and found crystals inside.

Practices like these continue the ongoing process of normalisation of a sexist-ualised culture which simply expects women to conform to pornographic standards. It is well documented that women often self-objectify, how could we not when we receive constant cultural conditioning telling us that even if we don’t want to attract men, we should still shave/wax our legs, armpits, cunts, arms, eyebrows, moustaches, we should still wear clothes that are uncomfortable, impractical and constricting, we should still wear shoes that hurt and prevent us from walking, we should still diet until we are stick thin, still always wear full make up before leaving the house, still straighten or curl or dye our hair, still refrain from making ourselves strong and fit, and what’s more, we should do all these things for ourselves, because we like to do them? sorry, but I can recognise bullshit when I hear it.

It is not just that monspubisjazzling is silly, even though it is. It is also self-othering and self-trivialising in the way that all needless ‘beauty’ practices are. First and foremost women are human subjects, and even if we sometimes take up ornamental practices, we should not reduce ourselves to them. The general genital region is culturally significant, and reasonably so, and I am not sure that its conversion into a site for decor should be seen as less meaningful than it is. sure, if a woman performs a stereotypically feminine gender act because she enjoys it, or because she wants to look/feel sexy, or for whatever reason, she totally has the right to do that, but even in our modern feminist lexicon of consumer choice, the motivations behind ornamental practices should never go unquestioned or uncriticised. As Clitter pointed out of cunt glitter, ‘known side effects include extreme vaginal irritation, dry mouth, and fabulous looking herpes.’ however disco-fab pubic diamantes might be, I’m sticking with the hair what grows there.

Disclaimer: I’m aware that Laurie Penny has just written about the vajazzle probably better and definitely more succinctly, but I wrote this ages ago and just hadn’t put it up yet. Whatevs Laurie, stop copying me.

Political Correctness Gone Mad: How Celebrity Endorsement and a Catchy Title Still Doesn’t Make It Appealing To Stick Diamantes On Your Waxed Pubic Area.

2 Responses to “Political Correctness Gone Mad: How Celebrity Endorsement and a Catchy Title Still Doesn’t Make It Appealing To Stick Diamantes On Your Waxed Pubic Area.”

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