the great wall of vagina

I was talking to a friend about genital piercing the other day. She was trying to talk me into a VCH piercing, which is supposed to be a great sex-enhancer, but I wasn’t convinced. All I could think about was that girl in elementary school who, either because her baby brother pulled it, or maybe it got stuck on her sweater… anyway somehow her earring was violently pulled out and ripped a slit down through her ear-lobe. (I’m sure you’ve seen this before.) And I thought, somehow, that would happen to me. Genitally. So, no, sorry friend, I’m out. I mean, I’m trying to improve my downtown area. One snag could take my starbucks and jamba-juice aspirations and turn them into a pawn shop and a check cashing place. Too risky.

And then we were talking about the act of even getting such a piercing, which would require exposing ourselves, quite fully, to a strange  man in a totally non-sexual way. We wondered, why is that so difficult? Why, as women, are we always a little ashamed of our genitalia?

Now, I’ve been with a lot of men. Probably more than I should admit. And every time a man has ‘exposed’ himself to me for the first time, he’s looked… proud. Like he just gave me a present or something. And I always had to act like I was impressed, “Oh, yes! I’ve seen a lot of those, and yours is really great!” but I never was. Not that there was anything wrong, but it just didn’t matter very much to me one way or the other. Just as I’m sure they weren’t all that impressed or disappointed with my “package”.

Why can’t I be more like the men I’ve known? Why am I so self-critical of my own body? Why can’t I summon even a false self-confidence about my vagina? Whatever the reason, I know I’m not alone.

Panel 2

For counteracting the lifetime of vagina-hate we’ve all accumulated, Jamie McCartney’s great wall of vagina is an awesome thing.  In a world of vaginal bleaching and labia-plasty, it is a reality check. I suggest a visit to his fabulous and powerful website, or even better, the actual exhibit. The comments left by visitors are especially moving.

We are all different, and all beautiful. Sometimes, it’s easier to say that to others, to remind friends and acquaintances (and even strangers) of their beauty and worth. We should all remember to say that to ourselves, sometimes, too.

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