THE DISTAIN OF ONES VULVA IS MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK
I don’t remember the first time I heard someone discuss the aesthetic of vaginas, but I distinctly remember hearing whispers of “meat curtains” and “loose vaginas” in the hallways at my high school. Whether it was a boy spreading nasty rumors about a girl, or a girl using those rumors as fuel to dismiss a girl she disliked, people were talking about vaginas, and it was negative.
I became so intrigued by what it meant to have an “ugly vagina” that I started secretly looking at porn to dissect whether mine looked “normal” or not. Obviously, this was the wrong place to find answers. Most of the vaginas I saw didn’t have a trace of hair and were overly bleached. I remember thinking, “Nevermind vaginas, now I have to worry about my non-bleached butthole!”
In my early 20s, as a way to understand what all the fuss was about, my close friends and I showed each other our vaginas. “I have an innie,” my friend shared proudly. “And it looks like you have a half outie,” she continued, looking at mine, as though I was supposed to know what that meant. Once home, I grabbed my MAC cosmetic compact and further analysed my inner and outer labia. I felt like I could now put my vagina into a category that made sense to me: “A half outie,” I said proudly.
Still, I feared having an “ugly vagina,” and it followed me around for years. I would often ask my boyfriends if my “half outie” equated to having “meat curtains.” “Omg! No!” they would say. “Trust me, you don’t have meat curtains!” they’d respond. I’d feel relief momentarily, but it wasn’t until nude photos of soccer star Hope Solo were leaked that I finally really felt relieved. I remember telling the friend who showed me the photo of Hope’s vagina, that I was relieved mine didn’t look like hers— something which deeply shames me now. I had to insult another woman’s vagina to accept my own. Fucked up, I know.
But I can’t be the only one who has had these thoughts—I know I’m not the only one! In a recent episode of Goop’s new Netflix show, they talk female arousal, and showed 10+ images of different looking vulvas*. Some labias were dark, some were light, some long, some short. It was fascinating! It reminded me of a bachelorette party I was at once with 12 other women, where we all ended up naked, somehow, after being severely overserved at a club. And yes, we ended up showing each other our vaginas. And to my surprise, they were all so different.
Seeing these vaginas over the years, all different shaped vulvas, whether it was in person or on the internet, has allowed me to slowly embrace my own. But I mean, how often do most women really get to stare at someone else’s labia? Not often. Let alone their own! So how does one learn to accept their own vulva, when you have no other reference of comparison? I mean, labiaplasty, the plastic surgery alteration of your labia folds, has increased 45% worldwide since 2015! It makes me wonder, if we saw more vulvas in the flesh—of different colors, shapes, and sizes—would those numbers decrease? Would we learn to accept our own, or even feel comfortable looking at our own?
So tell me, have you looked at your vagina? Do you like your vulva, aesthetically speaking? Comment down below!
*ps did you know that vaginas are just the opening of the vulva, and a vulva is actually the entire thing (aka genitals) outside of your body. This includes the clitoris, the outer labia, the inner labia, the vaginal opening and your pee hole! Even with this information, I still call mine a vagina but it’s important to be informed on these things. Check this graph for more info.