Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Odd Ideas of Femininity

Following on from my post below, I have been pondering these odd perceptions of femininity that still persist today.

Do sex toys need to be de-sexualised in order for them to be accepted by some women? Or is this simply a marketing myth on a par with the desire to disguise sanitary products as sweeties and the belief that vaginas themselves should be disguised as pine forests, with the liberal application of chemical sprays?

I believe these ideas persist because they tap into that same rich vein of shame that the purveyors of such products have drained for decades. The message is repetitive and unchanging: as a woman you shouldn't feel proud of your vagina or your sexuality.

You should be concerned about odours. You need some FemFresh, scented tampons and a handy wipe. Then when your poor chuff rebels at all the harsh chemicals, the same manufacturers can flog you some thrush cream.

You should be concerned that other people - other women, even - might know that you menstruate. They must never know! If they see you carry sanitary products in your bag you will be a social pariah and no man will ever want you. You need to wrap it all up in ribbons and bows to make it safe and non-bloody.

You should be concerned that the urge to be penetrated with a phallus of some description, to want to have an orgasm by yourself, makes you a strumpet. You need something cute to take the edge off such raw power. Then it keeps it not sexy, really, not adult, really. You can remain infantilised, your sexuality trivialised. (Male sex toys, I note, have no cutesy bunny equivalent.)

Worryingly, it seems you should even be concerned that your vulva doesn't look like those you see in pornography, given the rise in popularity of labiaplasty.

I am not sure why these ideas persist, or why women keep buying into them. It really is ok to have a cunt that smells like a cunt. I don't expect cock to smell like a summer meadow (though I do have a hankering for spunk that tastes like chocolate).

It's ok for people to know you menstruate. It's not a secret. I have only encountered one man, the husband of a friend of mine, who was so distressed by the concept that he insisted she hide her sanitary products where they would not offend his sight while sitting on the bog. I suggested she hide the toilet rolls also, as they eventually get covered in shit, which is far worse.

It is ok to have sex toys that look like they were made for your cunt, rather than looking like they were made by the Early Learning Centre.

And it is more than ok to have a normal body, in all its imperfect glory. Big flaps are fun! Put it on a t-shirt and spread the word.


Anonymous said...

But Luka, think about it. If women's sexuality wasn't all dressed up in cuddly shapes and covered up, they might think it was OK to be sexual creatures, and start, you know, talking about sex, and doing it, and wanting better sex than they are getting at home, and having opinions and such.

Much better to keep them pretending they should be ashamed of bleeding or having sex drives, and keep the world safe from the terrifying Power of the Cunt.

Freddy said...

I have no problem with women menstruating - I'm a very modern man, I even buy sanitary pads for my wife.
But apparently they aren't a suitable anniversary present.

me said...

big flaps are fun!

mine are a little lopsided, but i won't be shy about it anymore

having my cake said...

Bravo Luka!!!

As I said in one of my earliest blog entries, I always thought I was ugly 'down there' and I was convinced it smelt bad so big knickers were the order of the day. Cover it all up, hide it, dont talk about it, it will go away. Prim and proper housewives.

I think it was having my daughter that made me start to feel better about my body. Having to answer her questions, being determined that she would not have the body image issues that I grew up with, I started to wander around the house naked, even in front of my son. When I imagine myself having the conversations I have with the teen with my own mother...!!!!! But it wasnt my Mum's fault so much as the era she grew up in. In many ways, I thank god for the way that culture has started to move on. But much of that is down to the pioneers who started to make it acceptable to be sexy and proud of our own bodies. Sadly they have been circumvented by the moneygrubbing plastic surgeons and pharmaceutical companies who all want their pound of flesh. So it is up to us good ladies to maintain the ferocity of our rebellion. To carry the fight to the front bottoms of those who try to keep us penned in. Big Flaps and Smelly Pussies are NORMAL!!!

Anonymous Boxer said...

I spit a fair amount of coffee out over your last line.

Great post - I'm most incensed over new products that tell women they won't have have to worry about a "annoying period" again. It says to me, "everything about women is annoying, so let's medicate the hell out of you all."

Luka said...

Z - quite so. The Power of the Cunt is mighty, and is a terrifying concept for many. That's why Penis Envy was invented.

Freddy - not even if they're the ones that come ready gift wrapped?

Having My Cake - exactly. Not only are these things normal, they are usually necessary. Scents, bleeding, sex drive - all there for a very good reason.

Anonymous Boxer - yes, it's that need to sanitise it all, to try to control the primal, bloody force that beats at the core of womanhood. Could be worse, we could be sent to sit in the menstrual hut for the duration, I suppose.

Luka said...

Me - Big flaps are indeed fun! I, in common with my favourite men, think the more woman the better, frankly.

Freddy said...

Luka - not even those apparently. Women! I'll never understand them.

But I'll keep trying.