That’s it, I’ve had it. I don’t know what has gone wrong with the world at large —never mind expectations of women — but world, this is your last warning:
KEEP YOUR FREAKSHOW TREATMENTS AWAY FROM OUR VAGINAS!
I’m talking to you, Goop. And I’m also talking to you, whomever it is that decided our private bits need a facial — a “vajacial” (and p.s. vaginas ≠ faces). Isn’t it bad enough that a hefty fraction of the female population is convinced we should have burning hot wax dripped onto our private parts, that we need the protective hair covering one of the most sensitive spots on our bodies ripped from its roots by complete strangers? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT THAT FEELS LIKE? Hey boys, let me pour hot wax on your cojones and hold on, just wait a sec for that to dry so I can pull off all the hair that’s attached to them. Does that sound like fun? Is this for a medical procedure, you might ask? Nah, I just want you to look like a a newborn babe; nothing wrong with that, is there?
Listen, now that you’ve gotten all that nasty hair out of the way, you’ll probably want to get those little walnuts all gussied up in their finest, iron out the skin wrinkles, if you will? Pull out any stray individual hairs with a pair of tweezers, make sure everything’s super clean and there are no pesky pus-filled zits. HEY, MAYBE YOUR DICK COULD USE A MUD MASK? Whaddya say, boys?
Yeah, it’s not too appealing, but actress and comedian Jenny Slate recently tested out the latest in genital maintenance, and as you might expect, she wasn’t too impressed. Writing for Lena Dunham’s Lenny newsletter, Slate investigated the latest premiere pussy prescription, noting that “the fact that it exists seems to insist we need it,” a common misperception created to perpetuate our perennial sub-par placement in the erroneous hierarchy. Spurred by haunting words from her high school days, Slate amusingly recounts the humiliating process, and doing what a lot of us do from time to time — silently enduring something that feels inherently wrong (for reasons even we don’t understand). Here are a couple of choice excerpts from her experience:
“Although nobody can intimidate me about my vagina anymore…I started to feel intimidated by the creeping unknown of: ‘What if there is something off about me and my body and I don’t know about it? And my happiness is about to be ruined?’
First, she [the esthetician, Jessica] powdered me like a baby, which made me want to leave. Then she applied a cleanser. She wore gloves and really kept away from any vagina parts of my vagina. The whole thing was only ‘frontal.’ What a gross sentence! Next came an exfoliant peel that was supposed to soften the skin on the bikini line and help with any bumps. Then she toned my bikini line. I chatted with her throughout this first part, which took maybe a total of seven minutes.
Then she pulled out the tweezers and tweezed two ingrown hairs on my bikini line. I was deadly silent except for a lot of deep breaths, tiny little poodle yelps, and, after a minute, a truly anxious and dumb statement of ‘I’m really quiet right now.’
‘Yeah,’ she agreed. ‘This is the part when people usually stop talking.’ ‘Oh, really?’ I stress-whispered, as she finally took the tweezers away. Tweezers even near my vagina is a really big ‘No, thank you’ for me, but I volunteered for this, and I was going to do it completely. After the silent tweezing, she toned again. Then she gave my vagina a ‘modeling mask.’ It was a white, clay-like mask; she put it on and then said, ‘Just lie here and relax. I’ll be back in 5 minutes.’
It started to harden and looked like a tiny diaper. I never got a real idea of what this mask did, but I enjoyed texting and emailing at least six different people to say, ‘I’m lying in a lavender-colored room with a mask on my vagina. Not a masquerade mask.’ Jessica came back in and said, ‘This is the fun part,’ and she was right. I guess if there was a ‘fun’ part of what was swiftly becoming a bland experience, this was it: even though I couldn’t tell if the mask had done anything, I truly enjoyed that it had become a solid, that Jessica peeled it off the way that you peel dried glue from your palms after an afternoon of gluing macaroni to paper plates, that it didn’t hurt in the least, and that, most important, she liked doing it so much. I felt happy for Jessica and her satisfaction level.”
Slate’s piece makes for an amusing enough cringe-read, but then you realize why you’re sitting there with your mouth open, and it’s because nobody ever suggests these sorts of things to men. Nobody (probably) ever says things that make a non-porn star guy wonder if his penis isn’t attractive enough, or the skin on his balls is clear and toned, and yet somehow, we think it’s okay to make women wonder what failings our private parts might have. Sure, you dudes might be worried about shrinkage and some of us are concerned about cup size, but as far as I know, the boys aren’t douching, steaming and getting facials for their private bits. DOUCHING AND STEAMING AND VAJAZZLING AND VAJACIALS ARE FUCKED THE FUCK UP. As Slate writes,
“What isn’t great about this treatment is the potential for useless questions and self-doubt to pop up in your sweet, smart head. Why start up an internal, anxiety-based conversation that doesn’t serve you, one that was maybe started by an ignorant male teen who has not been taught how to be in a world with women? That ignorant person does not belong in your head, in the present. The Vajacial is harmless compared to the tons of bullshit that is peddled around by people looking to make money off the fact that we live in a society that tells us that we, in our natural form, are not enough, that our form is not naturally easy to understand or connect to.”
And that, my friends, is the heart of the matter here. Somehow, somewhere, someone is creating the next thing that will help to foster our female insecurities, and sadly, many times that someone is another female. But, we don’t have to keep falling victim to this bullshit hype. You don’t hear about dudes steam cleaning their dicks, or glitter gluing their balls to make them attractive, and you sure as hell won’t hear about a “Penacial” any time soon. On this day, let us band together with Jenny Slate as one; let us declare our solidarity against unnecessary vaginal adornment and treatments, and let the world know our private bits are perfect just the way they are.