Bring Back the Organic Vagina
I know. Right now you’re asking, what on God’s green earth is an organic vagina? Is it the new vegan trend of ditching your silicon rabbit in favour of lubing up an organic cucumber with coconut oil? No, fear not, I would never ask you to throw away your favourite vibrator (and I’m sure there’s nothing I could say to convince you to do so anyway). But you’d be right to question what an organic vagina is because it seems like this is a notion we abandoned sometime in the 80s. It’s a concept so foreign that when I watched Alien with my housemate last year, we spent a full minute examining Ripley’s knickers trying to figure out whether or not she had a bulge before coming to the realisation that was really what an organic bush looked like (with knickers on of course).
These days we’re told to wax this, bleach that and snip off that funny looking extra flap. As well as buying organic cucumbers, it’s time to get our vaginas on board with the organic train and see them in all their hairy, frilly glory.
I will not pretend that I have always been a paragon of pubic-hair positivity. Despite being a virgin, when I was sixteen or so, I waxed my vagina religiously in the hope that through karmic return I might finally have sex. I waxed because I was led to believe that all boys found body hair abhorrent, having been shamed by a boy who said I was gross because I had hairy knees once. This was only reinforced when I watched The Sex Education Show and several girls told stories in which, on discovering their pubes, boys either told them to go shave and come back or rejected them entirely. Of course it is natural to have preferences, but totally unnecessary to enforce these on others. Back then, I was of an impressionable age where the media and my experiences had a profound effect on me. They played a large part in the shaping of my pubescent identity and it was only when I got older that I realised that I didn’t have to adopt all the values I was exposed to. The sanitisation of genitals has culminated to the point where seeing the organic, the natural, on programmes such as Naked Attraction is now abnormal and most contestants with a bush (despite having a peachy ass or great legs) are sent home, purely because of their pubic hair. And this is a phenomenon which isn’t restricted to vaginas: many a lovely penis has been sent swinging home simply because of a bit of hair which our society has relegated to the category of practically sinful.
I stopped waxing, ironically, when I started having sex and realised that any arse that would reject me based on a little bit of hair wasn’t worth the pain of all that meticulous plucking and the subsequent days I would spend feeling like a plucked, raw turkey before Christmas, ready for stuffing.
Even though the painstaking process of removing all hair from your nether-regions is deemed cleaner by most, in reality, due to the vaginal lips sticking together and chafing, you’re more at risk of rashes and infections such as bacterial vaginosis (BV) and UTIs. With razor burns and re-growth itching, I’m unconvinced this faux sense of cleanliness is worth it. Ultimately, your pubic hair has a function: think of it as the white picket fence to your lady garden, defending you from unwanted bacteria.
The sanitisation of vaginas has become more and more extreme in recent years. There has been a huge rise in labiaplasty globally; one porn star’s unwanted vaginal lip is sitting in a museum in America. In the UK, 200 girls under the age of 18 went under the knife in order to ‘neaten’ their vaginas in 2015-16, and of those 150 were under 15. The most common ‘designer vagina‘ people choose is ‘The Barbie’, which is shocking really, considering Barbie doesn’t even have genitals.
‘Designer vagina’ is the key phrase here, instead of seeing our genitals as a part of our body which has a function, like our feet or liver, vaginas have become an accessory, along with the rest of the female body. Its purpose is for sexual pleasure and squeezing out babies, and this procedure can reduce genital sensitivity. Labiaplasty is described as a procedure which ‘corrects’ larger labia. The word isn’t ‘corrects’. The word is reduced. Unless your labia is long enough to get caught in your bicycle chain when cycling, then there is no need to ‘correct’ it.
It seems as though the majority of sexual problems lead back to one root cause: porn. Though I believe ethical porn can be a fun and exciting part of an adult sex life, a large (and usually veiny) problem arises when porn perpetuates only one kind of body type and teaches us that only huge hairless cocks and bald beef tomatoes are worth fucking.
This image of a labia-less vagina has become so normalised that we no longer recognise our vaginas as natural and organic. It’s similar to the way in which we see our food. We believe that all carrots should be as straight as a javelin, no lumps or bumps, that tomatoes should be perfectly round, but if you’ve ever seen a beef tomato fresh from a garden, free of pesticides and GMOs, they don’t look like ‘the supermarket standard’. But I can guarantee you they taste just as good and sometimes better.
And vajazzling. A trend significantly less sinister than labiaplasty, yet I cannot help but question why any grown woman would adorn her vagina with a Hello Kitty made up of diamantes. Thankfully we have left vajazzling in 2011 along with ‘planking’- both entirely meaningless and unnecessary phenomena unless you are a very flashy board of wood with a liberated sexual attitude. The women of 2018 now find themselves bombarded with a new product produced simply to make them feel shame around their bodies and buy into another meaningless product: vaginal deodorants. Which, by the way, are just another one way road to contracting bacterial vaginosis. Hurrah for capitalism at the expense of our health! Yet another thing to add to the pink tax and the status of tampons as a luxury item.
We’re told our vaginas should smell like a summer breeze, but what does that even smell like, and is that a good thing anyway? In the country a summer breeze smells like freshly spread cow manure and in the city it’s the smell of decomposing rubbish left out because all the bin men seem to have gone on their summer holiday and no one has picked up the rubbish for weeks. Who the hell wants their vagina to smell like someone’s four week old half eaten chicken tikka masala? Not me, that’s for sure.
If, after reading this article, you still have the desire to strip your minge of all hair and cover it with diamantes and gold leaf then, please, be my guest. If you want to bleach your asshole and grow your pubes out and plait it like a viking beard then by all means go ahead. But just question momentarily why you’re doing it. Your vagina is perfect the way it is. It is your personal snowflake, unique. If vajazzle because you love the way your fanny sparkles like Edward Cullen in the sun then you go ahead, turn that thing into a disco ball. But if you’re doing it because your boyfriend wouldn’t dream of going muff diving before you pluck everything bare and have it smelling like a damn Yankee candle, then maybe question if the hassle is really worth it for a meathead that probably posts memes on steak and blowjob day.
The organic lifestyle should go beyond your larder, it should extend to your body, get natural for the rest of September and see how liberated you feel without your vajazzle clinking in your knickers like an old man’s change.
Kate is a recent graduate, recovering from three years of university. She has been fighting for women's rights ever since she was 6 and she told a boy to go stick his head up a dead bear's bum when he said she was putting on too much lip balm. When she's not in a charity shop, she can be found scaring people at her day job by telling them she's writing about period sex. You can find more of her writing here.
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