Has your patootie been primped?

Is your va-jay-jay vajazzled? Is your lady garden as lovely as you might like? Is your fanny fabulous; is it fully forested or do you have a shiny giny? Are your labia trimmed and tucked or flapping free?

Nearly 26 years ago, when I was preparing to give birth to my first child, the only thought I gave to the look of my vagina and vulva was a mild sense of relief that hospitals had recently given up the practice of shaving ‘down there’ . (Soon after, they also dropped the compulsory pre-birth enema). I didn’t fancy having to put up with itchy regrowth while I was learning to do all the essential baby stuff. I would no more have voluntarily shaved my vulva than shaved my head.

In 2012 it seems that the state of your punani is a hot topic on parenting sites when it comes to being ready to give birth. “Should I wax or shave to look neater?’ asks one mum-to-be. “I didn’t want them to think I waxed just for them” states another. “I’ve been shaving daily so I’m ready”, “I can’t even see below my belly any more”.

I feel obliged to suggest that whether shaved, waxed, trimmed or au natural, the LOOK of your lady parts is going to be the last thing on your mind as your uterus muscles work to push a largish, lumpy object out that very stretchy, but basically small opening. (And yes, I believe I’m qualified to comment – after all my baby birthing bits have done the job four times).

I’ve got this feeling that humans have run out of body bits to beautify, and are moving on to the parts that are (usually) less often seen. We cut, colour and shave the hair on our heads. We lift and freeze and de-wrinkle our faces, injecting poison and adding piercings and make-up for extra angst. Breasts are reduced, enhanced and lifted, (are nipple piercings still in?) tummies tucked and navels pierced. Tattoos adorn our bodies, arms, ankles, feet and backs. Men and women are suffering for hair free, smooth, brown, bodies. Genitals are fully waxed or decorated with ‘landing strips’ and love hearts and tiny crystals (vajazzling).

And now women are no longer happy with the look of their labia. Someone somewhere has decided the ideal; indeed the normal look for the labia is tiny and tight and uniform in colour. There have been a myriad of sources blamed for this latest obsession with “discrete genitals” and this is a topic for another day.

Suffice to say that many (particularly younger) women are expressing dissatisfaction with the look of their labia minora (inner lips of the vulva area) and their labia majora (outer lips). As children, prepubescent girls have tight, smooth labia in most instances – but as those pesky puberty hormones kick in, not only does the area gradually grow a full covering of hair, but the labia grow longer and looser, they darken and wrinkle and look very, very different to the little girl body. In a very few cases, the length or size of the labia can cause pain or irritation – but this is very rare. Regardless of the absolute normality of their genitals, a growing number of women are undergoing labiaplasty to change the way their ladyflowers look and to achieve the vulva/vagina that only 0.7% of the adult female population naturally have.

“Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the labia majora, usually with scissors or a scalpel. Despite the grim images such an operation is likely to conjure, it has been rising by over 100% each year in Australia and can often even be subject to Medicare rebates.”

I would like to suggest, here and now, that before any women ‘goes under the knife’; if they’ve even once been concerned by the look of their genitals, that they do one of three things.

  1. Spend their ‘operation money’ to take a wonderful relaxing holiday in Tasmania. And while they are there, they absolutely must visit the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart. You see, at the MONA there is a wonderful, visual reminder of each woman’s normality and uniqueness. I like to call it The Great Wall of Gina.  It is, in fact, 400 individual casts of 400 women’s vulva areas – and I challenge you to find any two which look exactly the same.
  2. Google ‘VAGINA CUPCAKES’. That’s right – it’s a thing; a very popular thing it would seem. I’m most impressed with the life-like styling of many of these cupcakes; hairy and hairless, flappy and firm, pink, brown and every colour in between. Just do it.
  3. If you can find it, you need to watch a tv show which I saw last night. It was called Embarrassing Bodies – Vaginas. It was on the Foxtel Lifestyle You channel. Now I’ve been around for a fairly long time – more than half a century; but in less than an hour last night I saw more vaginas and vulvas (and an anus or two) than I’ve probably seen in my lifetime. And believe me – there was every variety you could imagine.

And that’s the thing about the female genitals, the hairy heaven, the love box – THERE IS NO NORMAL.

Accept the beauty in form and function of what has evolved over more than 2 million years; and if you have the urge to change things around a bit, stick to the razor and leave the scalpel for your next facelift.



Sexuality educator with over 10 years experience. Based in Melbourne, Australia I specialise in tailor-made programs for schools and specialist schools as well as Body Safety and Awareness programs for younger children (ages 3-12). HUSHeduction are LGBTIQ (SSAAGD) welcoming and work with young people of all faiths and abilities.