At this year’s Southbank Centre’s WOW weekend festival on March 11th there will be a panel ‘debate’ on the topic of ‘Can you vajazzle and still be a feminist?’. I know this as I was nearly a panel participant. I say nearly because unfortunately they found someone else to argue the ‘No’ position before I could send my follow-up email to the panel organiser – missed opportunity – sure. BUT I figured that missed opportunity could be turned into a blog premiere on FAC (some would say an even better opportunity – I would be that person). And rather than just presenting at a panel discussion – I could present to the entire FAC blogsphere for discussion & commentary some of the thoughts I had about the topic of vajazzzling. I would also like to note here thar E-R has already provided a great post on the topic here.
So – can you vajazzzle and still be a feminist? Well – first off I want to say that whatever a women wants to do with her vagina is her own business! If she wants to wax, pierce it, sparkle it or mohawk it with blue hair gel it is none of my business (unless of course it is my vagina – then I will do what I please to it). And whatever she choses to do with her vagina, who I am to tell her if that does or does not make her a feminist!? So clearly I take issue with the premise – but I guess for arguments sake we can let that go – and focus on the ‘spirit’ of the topic – which I think is more/less ‘What would make a women want to vajazzle her vagina – and if she did, could she call it ‘feminism”.
Now – What would make a women want to vajazzle her vagina? What would make a women want to have all the hair ripped out of her vagina and when it is red, swollen and and its most sensitive have dozens of sticky little crystals stuck over the freshly opened pores? Opening one of her most delicate area to potential health concerns of pasting artifical glue over what could be salon bacteria…scary! I racked my brain – I googled it – I asked friends – one of which replied ‘Vajazzling – [insert explanation to friend here] – is THAT what that is !?!- I thought it was a new work-out thing like Jumba or Spinning class – why would anyone do that?!’ Why indeed?
My mind kept coming back to one word – Shame.
SHAME! This notion that women should be aSHAMEd of our bodies. That not only is your body not good enough when you don’t eat those extra pieces of cake, only wear the revealing yet fashionable clothes, when you conform to an unattaiable body images (see: H&M protest at computed generate bodies post), and when you pluck and wax the hair off in all the right places, but THEN you need to roll it all up in a rhinestone package in the (you can even get it in the shape of a bow) so it is not even recognisable to the natural state you started with!
Excuse me – but this ‘beauty treatment’ is going even further than just perpetuating the consistent message I get from nearly every clothes, beauty, and mobile phone ad that a women’s value is barely skin-deep. Vajazzing violates our most personal physical manifestation of ourselves as women – our vagina – and asks us to ‘buy in’ to the notion that it is not good enough without a bit of sparkle. That our worth as women – is no longer confined to what the outside world can see of us – but now is invading our bedrooms, showers and vulvas – and telling us that to ‘look our best’ naked we can never be truly naked – because that would just be gross!
Therefore – when I think about if a women were to vajazzle – could she call this act feminist – I would have to say a resounding NO! When I think of feminism as its most basic level I think of empowering women. And when I think of vajazzling and the message it is sending to me as a women – I do not feel empowered.
I feel degraded. [def. Reduced in quality or value – That my vagina is not something I should value unless it has been changed.]
I feel disgusted. [def. (1) to sicken or fill with loathing (2) to offend the moral sense, principles, or taste of – Infuriated that someone could try to make me feel ashamed with a part of my body that I do not even choose to share with them.]
I feel commodified. [def. (1) to turn into a commodity; make commercial. (2) to treat as if a commodity. Sickened by the financial obligation I should feel as a women to ‘enhance’ myself so I can be worthy of attention and admiration.]
I feel that vajazzling is vile and to quote E-R
So, porno-culture merchandisers [and associated celebrity puppets] can take their Swarovski crystals and glue them where the sun don’t shine. That’s right, Assjazzle yourself.