Over the years I have learned to love my vagina. It’s been hard finding love for my vagina when it seems like the media is trying to tell me how awful it is having one. The TV tells me that my vagina is dirty and smelly, it needs to be douched and powdered, sprayed and diapered. Summer’s Eve tells women that they can’t be confident and get a raise when their vagina’s are smelly. Tampon commercials compare having your period to shitting in a diaper. Birth control adds tell us that having so many periods is unnecessary, and come with nasty side affects like being emotional.
Sometimes my vagina makes me angry. I understand the frustration of trying to insert a dry wad of cotton up my twat. Pads can be a pain, and mood swings are a bitch. But I can’t hate my vagina. Tampons could come with an easy insert lube. I don’t mind being emotional for a few days in a world where business, accomplishing the task at hand, is expected to come before my own well being. I’ve never had a yeast infection, and I’ve never had to use any douche or freshness wipe to feel good about myself. Pads feel nothing like diapers. And my vagina does have a smell. It’s not the smell of tulips, but it’s not a bad smell. It smells like me. I am my vagina, and my vagina is me. I love me and my vagina.
When I was first becoming sexually active, I couldn’t talk to my mother about my vagina. So like any nerdy girl, I turned to books. I had heard about The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler, and I found it at the local bookstore. As I read the first short story, “Hair”, a light turned on. The clouds parted and a choir of angels sang out as I read this revelation, so simple yet elegant and self evident. ‘Hair is there for a reason-it’s the leaf around the flower… You can’t pick the parts you want.’ ‘You cannot love a vagina unless you love hair.’ My body grew hair down there for a reason. Hair is there to protect me. Hair is a part of me, and anyone who loved me or my vagina would have to love hair too.
Waxing and shaving have become the new “it” topic in the media. Men are getting the idea that women with no vaginal hair are the norm. Most female porn stars go hairless nowadays. A few years ago, celebrities were getting caught in upskirt photos that showed that they had no hair down there. Sex and the City tackled the issue in the series and in the first movie. In the movie, the character Miranda is wearing a bathing suit and she’s snarked on for not getting a bikini wax, and she takes offense at the implication that her unattended bikini line is a symptom of her unattended sex life. It perpetuates the idea that if you want to make your man happy with a normal sex life, you must wax.
I’ve tried waxing the hair off my vagina. The first few days were lovely. The skin around my vagina and on the pubic mound was silky and smooth. I couldn’t help but think about sex as my clothes rubbed on the sensitive skin. I loved being able to see my vagina, it’s quite lovely.
And then the fourth day came. Receiving oral sex was itchy and painful, it felt like my boyfriend’s beard was rubbing me raw. The hair itched under the skin as it grew back, and I broke out in red friction bumps. I couldn’t even wear granny panties because the elastic in the leg holes rubbed my skin wrong. When I got my period, there was no hair to keep the blood in place. It traveled up against gravity to stain the front of my underwear. Shaving was worse, pretty much all the bad stuff with none of the good.
I’ve made my pubic hair decision. I’ve weighed the good and bad. Now think about your decision. Why are you bare? Why is there hair down there? Every woman gets to make her own decision, but why do you make your decision? Are you using words like dirty or unclean to explain? Try injecting words like beautiful and pretty.