This week’s guest blogger is a lady after my own heart. By which I mean, she is someone who gets righteously angry about the way many women are told to behave. Smell gorgeous, look fresh, be awesome: never let on that beneath your clothes is an actual human body that sometimes excretes weird fluids or happens not to be airbrushed.
Now, this blog is going to come with a caveat, as most blogs about women and sex usually have to: because it deals with society’s treatment of women, it relies on the idea of a gender binary, and that one’s gender is dictated by one’s genitals. Gender is far more complicated than just ‘vag = woman’, but this is what society tells us nearly all the frigging time, and as such causes a whole host of problems, one of which Christina tackles in this blog. I’d love to host more writing about how issues like this affect trans women, so if you’re a trans writer and you’ve got an idea for a guest blog please do get in touch.
In the meantime, I’ll hand over to Christina Wellor – who takes a hefty swipe at society’s fear of vulvas, vaginas, and all those v-words that in general are seen as a bit icky. From twee-bullshit marketing that encourages us to ‘woo hoo our froo froos’ to the implication that a bikini wax is a duty you have to perform before you’re allowed to have a holiday. If you like it, please do check out her blog and follow her on Twitter.
‘Vulva phobia’ is just another thing holding equality back
Despite all the positive shifts towards gender equality, there’s still one thing that continues to plague women and that’s society’s attitude towards our bodies; or to be more specific – our genitals. We’re discriminated against because of the configuration of bits of skin between our legs. You may not believe me and that’s fine because you don’t have to take my word for it, just go to your local supermarket and see how many products you can find to keep the average vulva clean and fresh. Then have a look for similar products aimed at penises and ball sacks. I do believe you will find none and I could rest my case there, but vulva phobia, as I like to call it, manifests itself in a hundred other ways and I’m not even sure people consciously take in half of them.
Take sex scenes for example. How often do we see scenes of fellatio in mainstream TV and cinema, however obscured by clever framing or strategically positioned heads and cameras? A lot. In fact, there are at least three blow job scenes in Mad Men alone. But you’ll never see a woman with her thighs spread either side of Don Draper’s handsome head (and don’t try to convince me that man wasn’t a serial pussy eater. He totally would have been). The point is – directors, producers, maybe even censors; are afraid to depict it. It’s the same with almost every TV series and film. The concept of a man’s face having a close encounter with a vulva remains unacceptable for cinematic representation, yet cocks can be shoved down throats at a moment’s notice and without a second thought.
Just what is this about? What is it about the female anatomy that still embarrasses people so much; yet when we get the chance to have a look at Jennifer Lawrence et al in all their naked, pussy baring glory, we’re all over it? If we’re that desperate to see what’s between their legs, why aren’t we treated to a cunnilingus scene from time to time, without having to resort to porn?
Is this women’s own doing? Are we simply too embarrassed about our genitalia? Are we so obsessed with what we perceive to be the negative traits of our vulvas, that we can’t bear the thought of them being seen, smelled, tasted, accepted? Hell, does the whole world have a problem with them?
I’ve always thought that if you make something into a big deal or play the coy card, then it simply serves to increases people’s appetite for antagonisation. Take Madonna for example. When she bared her ‘gash’ (her words not mine) in her 90s book, ‘Sex’, it was in the public domain for all to gawp at. But she was in control. Today, I doubt anyone even wastes their time looking for compromising images of Madonna, because what she’d be prepared to put out there herself is ten times more shocking.
Of course, I’m not suggesting everyone should become a sexual exhibitionist, just so that no-one can hold them to ransom with naked photos. That would be stupid. I’m simply trying to point out that the public is hell-bent on poking someone’s weak spot. With that in mind, I can only imagine that the situation got a lot worse for Jennifer Lawrence, once threats of prosecution and lawsuits were bandied about. It’s like a red rag to a bull.
If we remain so coy about female bits, the way we have been for years; it’ll continue to be deemed ‘unacceptable’ to show a cunnilingus scene in a film. If society keeps asserting that our vulvas need fumigating with special soap, scented panty liners, deodorising spray and freshening wipes; it’ll perpetuate the idea that our pussies are dirty and unhygienic. And let’s be honest, who wants to see a woman being eaten out over their pizza and popcorn on a Saturday night, when they know full well how much we stink? (It must be true, because marketers are telling us that all the time.)
I genuinely believe that we’re victims of our own unfounded embarrassment; and until we start to shed some of that and stop buying into this bullshit idea that our privates are too cringeworthy for celluloid or any visual media for that matter; our cunts are going to be shamed to the detriment of our self esteem and the benefit of Femfresh’s profits. Just imagine how many less downloads of celebrity flaps there’d have been, had the papers and news channels not offered so much coverage of the story!
Also, I know there wouldn’t have been even half this fuss if the naked photos had been of Brad Pitt’s semi-erect cock. Women all over the world would still have been downloading them at a rate of knots, but the morality of the whole debacle wouldn’t have been brought into question; at least not even close to this extent. (Is that because penises don’t smell? Because they really don’t you know. Like, ever.)
I’m demanding that everyone stops fuelling the awkwardness and embarrassment about our pussies – this applies to directors, producers, marketers, editors, journalists and all the paranoid women that buy products to sanitise their flaps. You’ve all got a responsibility to stop shaming us, it’s insulting and it’s time it ended. More to the point, I can’t believe you never let us see Don Draper give head.
Thanks Christina! As I say, please do check out her blog. And I’d particularly be interested in other examples of this – I’ve of course noticed and raged out about the Femfresh thing: particularly as it’s marketed at women with a message that ‘you’re wrong/bad/smelly and you must be fixed’ but it hadn’t occurred to me that we rarely see cunnilingus in mainstream TV sex scenes in the same way that we see blow jobs – now that Christina’s pointed it out, I can’t help but notice it. Are there any other examples of this that you’ve spotted? And if you want to read/see more about why vulvas are ace, check out the Pussy Pride Project, run by Molly’s Daily Kiss.