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An explicit and revealing look at one woman's body
November 22, 2013 11:11 AM   Subscribe

Growing Out My Bush is a fascinating Tumblr where one woman explores the perception of the female body by first shaving and then photographing the re-growth of her pubic hair. Especially interesting are "The Reality of Nude Photos" and "How Breasts Can Look."
posted by Brandon Blatcher (123 comments total) 74 users marked this as a favorite

 
In case anyone was wondering, this is not work safe (I thought it might be all text, nope)

I really like it though!
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:29 AM on November 22, 2013


[Nudged the wording to "photographing" at poster's request.]
posted by cortex at 11:34 AM on November 22, 2013


Proof that a little trimming goes a long way!
posted by ReeMonster at 11:37 AM on November 22, 2013


The "Reality of Nude Photos" post is really good. It's the only one I've read so far, but I'm already a fan.
posted by 256 at 11:40 AM on November 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


i really love that her focus isn't solely her bush - armpits, belly, nipples, toes. i've been following along this whole time and i'm always glad to see a post of hers show up on my dash.
posted by nadawi at 11:48 AM on November 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is great! I just started reading the entry where she posts all the anon hate she's received and it's pretty crazy to see how many people are telling her she's disgusting. I am not much of a shaver (haven't shaved my armpits in about 5 years and I only shave my legs about once a month or so) and I've never had anyone say anything negative about it. Once or twice I've had someone I was sleeping with ask why I don't shave but it was out of curiosity rather than disgust. Am I an anomaly or something?
posted by pizzaslut at 11:50 AM on November 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


i very rarely shave, just as the mood strikes me, really - and i've totally gotten comments in the summer in texas grocery stores, and comments from women in my family/friends/etc. i don't think i've ever had a partner express a negative opinion, but that's probably because i don't attract people who are grossed out by hair.

i wonder if her day to day life is pretty much the same - barely a mention - but something about being open on the internet about it brings on a whole other ball of hate. you see a very similar thing on any open comment section about amanda palmer - comments on her youtube channel are easily half about her hair preferences. i've posted pictures of pretty women who happen to have armpit hair on my mlkshk feed and random guys have totally taken their time to tell me how disgusting it is and how she's be so cute if it weren't for the hair.
posted by nadawi at 11:56 AM on November 22, 2013


I quit shaving years ago. When I still lived in a climate where people might see I didn't shave my legs or armpits (I no longer have this problem since I moved to San Francisco!), I would occasionally get hostile comments from strangers - men, always - about was I trying to be a man? Apparently, not shaving my legs was enough to outweigh my long hair and my boobs and to make some people think I was encroaching on their precious Man Territory. It's so weird.
posted by rtha at 12:16 PM on November 22, 2013 [14 favorites]


I really like her photos of how many different ways her breasts can look. A friend of mine did a photography project on breasts and I always thought it was a neat idea to capture the non-porn aspects of naked bodies too.
posted by Margalo Epps at 12:16 PM on November 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


The lesbian lurch continues unabated.
posted by four panels at 12:25 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now that I have heard this song, it came unbidden to my mind when looking at this post so here:

Map of Tasmania: Warning NSFW, AmandaPalmer.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:27 PM on November 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


The lesbian lurch

Is this a new dance or an Addams Family AU
posted by Greg Nog at 12:29 PM on November 22, 2013 [18 favorites]


Wait, what does "lesbian lurch" mean?
posted by idiopath at 12:29 PM on November 22, 2013


In case anyone wants to read this project chronologically from day 1, this link will do that for ya.

This is a very interesting blog. I don't shave anything either*, and it's always nice to read other women's thoughts on their experiences with that.

*One day seven years ago, I suddenly realised I didn't have to shave my armpits. So I stopped. It's so much nicer this way! I've shaved my bush once and never again.
posted by daisyk at 12:32 PM on November 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


I see the "vagina" tag, but there's no mention of vaginas (that I could find) anywhere on her blog.

Mixing these two things up in conversation seems super popular these days, so let's take a moment to note:

Vagina: internal fibromuscular sheath

Vulva: all the exterior stuff (pubic mound, lips, clitoris, etc.)
posted by heyho at 12:34 PM on November 22, 2013 [24 favorites]


The lesbian lurch

Is this a new dance or an Addams Family AU


Could be both. (previously)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:34 PM on November 22, 2013


the correct official scientific term is now vajeeper sry
posted by elizardbits at 12:36 PM on November 22, 2013 [27 favorites]


heyho: "I see the "vagina" tag, but there's no mention of vaginas (that I could find) anywhere on her blog."

Did you try checking her vagina tag?
posted by gingerbeer at 12:37 PM on November 22, 2013


I've been trying to work "minge" into my standard lexicon.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:38 PM on November 22, 2013


Oh, dear. Even she got it wrong if she was calling what's in that photo a vagina. (And to answer, yes, I did search, but that didn't come up, oddly.)
posted by heyho at 12:39 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Due in part to English ladyfriend.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:39 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Fuck all those assholes who have negative shit to say about women who decide to be hairy. Seriously. I've gone bald, and shaving my head is a total pain in the ass. I can't even imagine having to shave pits and legs and crotch and whatnot on a regular basis.

Plus, I know this is objectifying and all, but women with hairy pits are sexy as hell.
posted by nevercalm at 12:40 PM on November 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's whatever the heck you're into, really. People like having opinions on things.

I think she is astoundingly beautiful.
posted by Annika Cicada at 12:42 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I didn't know it was common practice to tag vaginas before sending them back out into the wild. I've been doing it wrong all this time.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:42 PM on November 22, 2013 [37 favorites]


i wonder if her day to day life is pretty much the same - barely a mention - but something about being open on the internet about it brings on a whole other ball of hate.

The opportunity to say the meanest, most cruel things you possibly can in a deliberate attempt to make someone else feel bad- in real life, such behavior will basically always get you ostracized unless you have very high social status, and maybe even then. But on the internet, behavior that would lose you every friend you have in real life is suddenly 100% consequence-free. To some people this is an open invitation.

When I was middle-school aged I briefly dabbled in trolling (I can admit this now, it's been long enough!), and it was basically the same impulse that makes people poke anthills with sticks: I did a thing! These beings are freaking out because of a thing I did! I have power! Woo! Nothing more to it than that- not even any hate or sincere desire to harm. Just... poking. One usually stops doing these things when one develops a rudimentary sense of empathy.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:42 PM on November 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'm a big hairy guy, so I've never felt like I have any room to tell someone else what to do with their body hair… but I have to admit that if I had a bush that was just a little mound like a woman's (you know, without the dick in the middle), I'm not sure how I could resist turning it into shapes. Like, there's no way I could shave my initials into what I've got, but if I could? It'd be like being a superhero with a logo under your clothes! Or you could make it look like a dinosaur! Or the batman logo!
posted by klangklangston at 12:42 PM on November 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


"One usually stops doing these things when one develops a rudimentary sense of empathy."

Or at least changes targets.

(I used to troll pretty regularly all over; now I save it for winding up fundies and music snobs.)
posted by klangklangston at 12:44 PM on November 22, 2013


na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na BATMINGE!
posted by maudlin at 12:44 PM on November 22, 2013 [15 favorites]


I did a thing! These beings are freaking out because of a thing I did! I have power! Woo!

Yes but you can achieve the same feeling by farting in an elevator and there is no permanent internets record of your tomfoolery.
posted by elizardbits at 12:45 PM on November 22, 2013 [16 favorites]


gingerbeer: Did you try checking her vagina tag?

I was momentarily worried what that link might be. For mobile device users, it's a link to the Tumblr's "vagina" tag. "Vagina tag" is not (yet) a thing.


nevercalm: Fuck all those assholes who have negative shit to say about women who decide to be hairy. Seriously. I've gone bald, and shaving my head is a total pain in the ass.

Hell, shaving my face is a pain in the ass. I shave once a week, because I'm lazy, I really don't enjoy shaving, and neither my wife nor my work seem to care too much.

It's not just some guys who have strong feelings about shaving. This post by a young lady about waxing (1 semi-NSFW image) makes me feel anxious just reading it. On the flip side, this article on the Daily Cal from Berkeley is more in line with this post, asking "why the hell was I waxing in the first place?"
posted by filthy light thief at 12:47 PM on November 22, 2013


I'm a big hairy guy, so I've never felt like I have any room to tell someone else what to do with their body hair… but I have to admit that if I had a bush that was just a little mound like a woman's (you know, without the dick in the middle), I'm not sure how I could resist turning it into shapes.

Dye some racing stripes into the pubes, you're good to go.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:53 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dye some racing stripes into the pubes, you're good to go.

I hear that dying your pubes fun colors isn't as easy as it seems, and may allegedly lead to unchanged black hairs atop the bright purple dyed skin of one's pubic mound, making it seem as if your cooter has gotten into the grape popsicles, and remaining that way for several weeks. According to my friend, that is.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:57 PM on November 22, 2013 [69 favorites]


Or the batman logo!

HOW HAVE I NEVER DONE THIS TO MY CHEST HAIR
posted by Greg Nog at 12:57 PM on November 22, 2013 [13 favorites]


Ok, just henna designs on the love tool then.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:58 PM on November 22, 2013


I think you have to have a strong streak of the exhibitionist (as well as a thick skin) to post this to the web. Not sure I'd want my daughters or granddaughters to be doing it, but she does carry it off well, and more power to her.

IMO shaving anything is stupid, unless you really want to. Men don't like it--tough--they're free to chose other partners. I don't do it, but then it's less of a protest for me, as I have no armpit hair, and only 15 leg hairs, mostly blonde, but a couple long brunette ones, too. If I need to be all dressed up, I do shave them, because they look silly. If I had a nicely trimmed set of legs all the same length and color fur I'd probably leave them.
TMI, I'm sure.

In my day, minge wasn't shaved unless you were giving birth. However, here's a pro tip.* Wait till you get old enough, and you're most likely to lose all but three or four determined stragglers. This is one of the wonderful things they don't tell women when you're growing up--like the fact that it's normal to get hemorrhoids when you're prego or get older, that infants often poop in the tub when you bathe them, and that sometimes you never really outgrow zits.

I really like her photos of how many different ways her breasts can look.

Real boobs! With added gravity!
posted by BlueHorse at 12:58 PM on November 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Assigning moral value to a haircut is silly. Insulting someone because of their haircut is jerky. Deciding that I'm not attracted to someone because of their haircut is my prerogative.

Body hair choices are nothing more than haircuts.

Why does this issue need any more thought than that? Because people often become silly when other people are jerky to them.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 1:02 PM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


> I think you have to have a strong streak of the exhibitionist (as well as a thick skin) to post this to the web.

It's the year of the selfie all right.
posted by jfuller at 1:07 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


It is totally ok to shave any part of your body that you want to.

It is totally ok to not shave any part of your body that you want to.

It is totally ok to have feelings about what you prefer in terms of shaving for both yourself and your romantic partners.

It is totally ok to express your feelings about shaving or not shaving.

Trying to control what anyone shaves, doesn't shave, feels or expresses is rude.

I did shave my chest for 6 weeks to see if anyone would notice. No one did. Now I have let both hairs grow freely. I named them jesusito and jesus grande.
posted by poe at 1:09 PM on November 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


I think I need to follow this just to balance critiquemydickpic.tumblr.com.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:13 PM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


I googled "how do you go to the start of a tumblr and read sequentially" and I think it said you don't, that's not the way pubic archaeology works. You ungrow, backward in time.
posted by surplus at 1:17 PM on November 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


I have hair in places hollywood thinks it doesn't belong. I manscape regularly. Anecdotally, I've never had a woman express anything negative about the manscaping, and few women react negatively when I don't manscape, but the negative reactions I have gotten were pretty absolute.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 1:23 PM on November 22, 2013


Crotch and undercarriage shaving is actually much easier and less unpleasant than (hairy male) face shaving. Face hairs are denser in arrangement and thicker in structure.
posted by idiopath at 1:24 PM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch: Why does this issue need any more thought than that? Because people often become silly when other people are jerky to them.

It seems like you're saying that the problem isn't the jerks, it's the victims of jerkiness. If only these inappropriately-shaved women would meekly accept the insults, everything would be fine.

That is really unhelpful.

The issue needs thought because creating a society where women don't get shit on for their grooming choices requires public acceptance of unshaven women and public shaming of those who take it upon themselves to enforce their personal appearance standards on others through insults and hate.
posted by Turbo-B at 1:25 PM on November 22, 2013 [13 favorites]


This is not the only thread in the last few hours* that hits upon a weird standard somewhat imposed by society(whatever that means) that apparently causes people to treat others inhumanely. However, instead of criticizing society for having such odd standards, everybody seems to be criticizing one party or another for how they handle/interpret/interact/navigate the odd maze that has been set in front of them.

* I could name specific threads, but seriously, it would be like half of them today. You pick whichever one has more of an impact to you and pretend I was talking about that one.
posted by Blue_Villain at 1:47 PM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah I feel your pain surplus. I skipped to the end and awkwardly read it chronologically with a lot of scrolling. But it was better than imagining pubic hair getting slowly sucked into a woman's pelvic cavity.
posted by Ned G at 1:57 PM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


It seems like you're saying that the problem isn't the jerks, it's the victims of jerkiness. If only these inappropriately-shaved women would meekly accept the insults, everything would be fine.

That wasn't my point. First of all, I used gender neutral language. I wasn't talking about women in particular. Men get a lot less body-shaming, but they do get it. The older men get, the less they get. Boys get a lot more of it. It happens plenty in gym class, or at the beach if they get hairy when they're still in their teens.

My point was not in anyway that people should meekly accept insults.

My point was that reacting to insults by deciding that it is somehow morally superior to be unshaven is silly. There are women (and men) out there who see being unshaven as a political decision, and who judge people who shave/trim/wax or people who prefer partners who shave/trim/wax. That's just more body shaming, and it's also as silly as anti-hair body shaming, because again, this is just ultimately about a haircut.

No, by no means should anybody meekly accept insults. Go ahead and tell whoever's insulting you to fuck themselves. That's totally the right thing to do. Just don't tell me I shouldn't shave, or that my preferences in women's grooming are immoral. (I happen to like variety, if you must know).

And please let's not even get into relating bald crotches to pedophilia. A 25 year old with a waxed crotch is a 25 year old, no matter how hairless he or she may be.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 2:05 PM on November 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


I just turned the corner on 40 a few weeks ago, so I've been looking at a lot of stuff lately through the lens of "Things That Make Me Feel Old". This blog is no exception. It got me to thinking that what was basically just "the way women look naked" for the first decade or so I was sexually active is now a very specific, niche fetish.
posted by The Gooch at 2:07 PM on November 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


Think of the plumbers we would put out of work if we all stopped shaving.
posted by Brocktoon at 2:09 PM on November 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Dang. Wow. This is one of those things where I needed a minute to figure out how I really feel about it. I mean, I don't really like looking at vaginas - I'm uncomfortable with most nudity and I know it's such a stupid thing to be uptight about; we have bodies! Celebrate them! - but Jesus Christ, looking at pictures of some stranger's cooter on the internet "for funsies" is like wha...? Is this what it's come to?

And I don't even want to get into the menstruating picture, but that's where she lost me. A lot of people are squicked out by blood -- that's just a fact. I know she means it more like, "celebrate and accept your body" but... goodness.

It's interesting having a 6-year-old stepdaughter, because I'd probably like her to be more like this girl than like me, at least in terms of body image, and they start young with this stuff - she's learning how to be a woman from the women around her. But then again stepdaughter's grandma is a punk-rocker who has traveled the world and hasn't shaved since the 80s, so...
posted by polly_dactyl at 2:13 PM on November 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


I misread you then, my mistake.

As a guy with a full beard and shaved pits, I definitely agree that shaving or not shaving are both fine, and I'm not seeing anybody in this thread or the link saying otherwise. Which is great!
posted by Turbo-B at 2:13 PM on November 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Mixing these two things up in conversation seems super popular these days, so let's take a moment to note:

Vagina: internal fibromuscular sheath

Vulva: all the exterior stuff (pubic mound, lips, clitoris, etc.)



Guy here, serious question: Is this really a bothersome thing to women? Like, I consciously know that the definitions above are the proper terminology, but I pretty much never hear 'vulva' except in medical discussions, or in this type of clarification. I'm reluctant to call it out as pedantry, because I honestly don't know.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 2:15 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I misread you then, my mistake.

Looking back, I could've done a better job of saying that the politicization is what's silly, not taking offense at offensive comments. I was trying to circle back to the first use of jerky and silly in my post. It didn't work.
posted by MeanwhileBackAtTheRanch at 2:17 PM on November 22, 2013


"So yeah, I fully expect to be approached by Old Navy any day now for rights to the: “it took me 5 seconds before work this morning to shoot and another 5 seconds to turn it into black and white,” photo of my bush + their jeans. But of course I’ll only accept their deal if they pay me off in whiskey and instant mashed potatoes."

i'm enjoying her sense of humor and perspective on what shouldn't be but totally is this minefield of body issues that is shaving/not shaving. thank you.

(revisiting the critiquemydickpic person also made me lol. or maybe it's just a day for junk shots.)
posted by twist my arm at 2:21 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Uther Bentrazor: calling the exterior vulva vagina is annoying to me (as a non-vagina-owning human) because if we are going to be informal and non-technical we have so many awesome terms for lady parts you could be using instead. If you are being technical and clinical about it, use the technically correct term!
posted by idiopath at 2:28 PM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Uther: as a woman with a medical background, the improper terminology annoys me. I'm not sure which of those two descriptors of myself is responsible for this feeling.
posted by AbbyNormal at 2:35 PM on November 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


My partner preferred hairless ladies, and I was happy to oblige... until I got pregnant. Then it wasn't so much that I didn't *want* to continue shaving! but that the laws of physics stood in my way.

I never thought if shaving or not as any kind of political statement until I had my son. I shaved a few times after that and then let the bush grow back as being hairless at 29? Not that weird to me. Being hairless as someone's mom? Super weird. Knowing that I'm the first naked lady my kids lay eyes on, it felt super bizarre to be shaved.

(If you're not a parent, kids seeing you naked is just inevitable. It's just gonna happen. It's not that you purposefully display your body so much as the concept of "privacy" is wrenched from you as tiny hands keep insisting in opening the bathroom door.)
posted by sonika at 2:37 PM on November 22, 2013 [10 favorites]


Uther Bentrazor: It actually does kind of bother me, because it strikes me as part and parcel of defining those genitals and the role of those genitals in terms of penetration (and at best, reproduction as well). It would be akin to using "testicles" or "urethra" to refer to the penis, and it makes it more difficult to talk accurately about an important part of the body.
posted by northernish at 2:42 PM on November 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


but I have to admit that if I had a bush that was just a little mound like a woman's (you know, without the dick in the middle), I'm not sure how I could resist turning it into shapes. Like, there's no way I could shave my initials into what I've got, but if I could? It'd be like being a superhero with a logo under your clothes! Or you could make it look like a dinosaur! Or the batman logo!

Oh man, it totally makes my day that there are cis dudes out there with lists of fun things they'd do in event of sudden dicklessness.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 2:45 PM on November 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


Uther : I prefer people using the word vulva because not only is it accurate, but it has a much better sound. Vulva sounds warm and cuddly!
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:08 PM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina.
posted by nathancaswell at 3:11 PM on November 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


I enjoyed this sentence from her blog:

"Rather than being anti-shaving, I’m pro-doing-whatever-the-fuck-you-want."
posted by cell divide at 3:15 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


beautiful.

first and foremost, my lady's prerogative trumps my personal preferences, but if she asks, i tend to prefer armpits: yes, legs: ambivalent, vulva: bushy but lightly trimmed. shaved makes me think of barbies, which isn't much of a turn on.

love the rogue nipple hairs.
posted by echocollate at 3:21 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Vulva sounds warm and cuddly!

"Open it up, it gets pretty scary ..." (WARNINGS: Autoplaying Quicktime video with music. Probably NSF most workplaces. Anatomically and linguistically correct. Canadian.)
posted by maudlin at 3:24 PM on November 22, 2013


Dang. Wow. This is one of those things where I needed a minute to figure out how I really feel about it. I mean, I don't really like looking at vaginas - I'm uncomfortable with most nudity and I know it's such a stupid thing to be uptight about; we have bodies! Celebrate them! - but Jesus Christ, looking at pictures of some stranger's cooter on the internet "for funsies" is like wha...? Is this what it's come to?

She indirectly responds to these questions in this post- text follows if you'd rather not click as it does include a photo:

"In my opinion, there is no reason at all why this area of the body has to be hidden between our legs and whispered about behind closed doors. When I was a kid, I was convinced for a certain amount of time that I had a penis because I had never seen a vagina and some strange dictionary definition made that seem accurate. I was terrified that the whole world hadn’t noticed at birth that I was actually a boy.

When I started masturbating, I was convinced that I was the only girl in the world who did and thought that girls weren’t supposed to do that and I was horrible and gross. Once, when a guy hesitated before going down on me, I thought there must be something horrible and wrong about me and I wouldn’t let anybody put their face between my legs for a year.

Having a vagina can be terrifying. When I was younger and really wanted to know if mine looked the same as anybody else’s, I could never go up to a friend and say, “Hey, can I see your vagina and you can see mine? I’m just curious what it looks like!” We could compare our eyes, hair, tummies, teeth, toes, ears or noses, but never in my life has anybody offered to show me their vagina simply to see what it looks like.

I have done many internet searches in an attempt to find normal, everyday pictures of vaginas. And while I have found some, there are certainly not as many as I think there should be. So my answer to that is this photo. A normal, boring picture of my vagina. Because I honestly believe it’s important for both men and women to see what our bodies really look like and realize that we’re all a little bit different and that’s perfectly ok."
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:34 PM on November 22, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'd like to have her as a friend, she seems lovely. I thought I'd covered this territory on my own over the last several years, until I saw the high heels entry, which was a really good thing to read because I'd internalized imaginary rules like that too.

The benevolent, reflective tone of voice, as she becomes acquainted with this follicle or that one, is a certain one that I associate with People Talking About Very Small Things, like baby birds in nests or delicate miniature dioramas. In a few entries I'm reminded VERY VERY MUCH of Bob Ross bringing happy little trees into the world. Here's one. There's one, growing a little bit further out from the rest but that's alright. Here's a little buddy for him, everyone needs a buddy.

I've always found leg-shaving and other parts to a lesser degree to be weird for tactile reasons. Looks pretty, sure. But when my legs are shaved, my skin feels numb. I can't feel the air moving, I can't feel fabric of my clothing unless it's pressed against my skin. I lose tactile nuance for a huge proportion of my body and it's very distracting. Not worth the aesthetic trade-off.

I find the menstruation photo to be strangely satisfying, it communicates a sense of "See, this is it. Really, that's all there is to it. Untidy, but nothing to flinch about. Can you believe all the fuss and fanfare was just for this? People had to go live in special tents and everything?" It reminds me that even in health class, learning about actual menstruation, we never saw anything less abstract than the windex stuff they use in diaper commercials.

Some semesters taking nude figure model life drawing classes did me a lot of good for normalizing ordinary human bodies and cultivating an appreciation for the beauty of shapes that don't conform to typical advertising standards. It was almost a ritual, paying homage to the model, demonstrating that this body is worthy of being honored, worthy of being the subject of art and instruction. It really did feel sacred. It's funny to have taken that route to become comfortable with, and appreciate, the ordinary.

re: vagina tag: it's just not an appropriate game for recess.
posted by Lou Stuells at 3:45 PM on November 22, 2013 [16 favorites]


Wow I didn't know you could force tumblr into a chronological presentation; that's awesome.

pizzaslut: "I just started reading the entry where she posts all the anon hate she's received and it's pretty crazy to see how many people are telling her she's disgusting. "

I'm not surprised people care as people seem to care about the most petty and inconsequential things. I am somewhat surprised anyone managed to turn that care into the minimal effort needed to send insulting messages to an internet stranger.
posted by Mitheral at 3:56 PM on November 22, 2013


The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina.

I'm not sure if this was the point or not, but this is exactly why I like using the term in many circumstances. It feels aggressive, satisfyingly aggressive, in a way that "vulva" does not. If I were at the doctor and wanted to describe something going on externally down there, I'd pull out the word "vulva" in a heartbeat. I don't use "vagina" in an effort to be anatomically precise. I use it when I want to force my conversational partner to confront their own discomfort. "Vulva" just doesn't have that power.
posted by ootandaboot at 4:41 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


looking at pictures of some stranger's cooter on the internet "for funsies" is like wha...?

Don't call it a comeback / I been here for years
posted by Greg Nog at 4:52 PM on November 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's a Big Lebowski reference.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 5:05 PM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


From the site:
Don’t ask me why, but I shaved it all off one day and now I’m growing it back!

What else is there to do in life, really?
Heeheehee, this reminds me of Craig Ferguson talking about how when he was trying to go sober and he was in a hotel room, he was so bored that he shaved every bit of hair from his body... including the eyebrows.

It's sort of like rearranging all the furniture in the house to keep things interesting.
posted by yaymukund at 5:07 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Guy here, serious question: Is this really a bothersome thing to women?

Personally idgaf and also for serious I call it a vajeeper because it is hilarious to me beyond imagining. I mean if I said "weenor" and some guy corrected me and said "ACTUALLY IT'S A PENIS" I would side-eye like whoa.

Unfortunately I am not yet god emperor so what I say does not necessarily go.
posted by elizardbits at 6:00 PM on November 22, 2013 [10 favorites]


Guy here, serious question: Is this really a bothersome thing to women? Like, I consciously know that the definitions above are the proper terminology, but I pretty much never hear 'vulva' except in medical discussions, or in this type of clarification. I'm reluctant to call it out as pedantry, because I honestly don't know.

I'm a woman and a feminist and it actually makes me angry when people make this correction! To me it's like getting angry because you saw someone got ink on their finger and you say "you got ink on your hand" and they're like "ACTUALLY IT'S ON MY FINGER, DUMBASS."* So, I'm not really sure what you should do.

*Not a perfect analogy but it just seems like there must me some kind of visual overlap between vulva-skin and vagina-skin, and that the fact that the vagina is a hole in the middle of the vulva means that when people say vagina they usually just mean "vagina-and-surrounding-parts," which doesn't seem sexist or even annoying to me.
posted by stoneandstar at 6:04 PM on November 22, 2013 [20 favorites]


Guy here, serious question: Is this really a bothersome thing to women?

It is to this woman. If you're going to use an anatomical term, it should be the right one. If you're not going to use the anatomical term for that structure, why bother using an anatomical term at all? You wouldn't call an eyelid an eyeball, or a tooth a gum.

If I was uncomfortable with the word "vulva" for some reason, I'd use a generic term like "pubic area" or "genital area." Using the anatomical term for a different but adjacent structure makes it sound like the speaker doesn't know how the human body is put together.

Would it bother men if we started calling their penises "testicles?"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:08 PM on November 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


When I have the hat on that means you are paying me to edit your words, I care. When I can't tell from context what body part you actually mean, I care. When it comes to teaching children the correct anatomical terms for their body parts, I care. Otherwise, eh.
posted by rtha at 6:16 PM on November 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


i LOVE the menstruation picture. love it. like Lou Stuells says, "this is it." i would have loved that message when i started my period in the 4th grade.

my mom had a hysterectomy soon after i was born so i was the only menstruating person in my house growing up. i was also in a conservative mormon congregation deep in southern baptist territory. no one talked about the mechanics. i learned how to use a tampon by reading the package insert when i wanted to go swimming. i was terrified to tell my bishop for so long because i was sure i was no longer a virgin. i was an adult before i learned that most, if not all, women bleed through their menstrual products at some point. as a teen i beat myself up constantly over drops of blood in my underwear or on my sheets. i was so scared of my own body. luckily i had a lesbian aunt who gave me a "you and your body" type of book or else i would have been completely lost.

this is it.
posted by nadawi at 6:20 PM on November 22, 2013 [7 favorites]


re: vagina/vulva - when i'm being silly i call it a "tiny girlie whoopsie daisy." when i'm being serious i'm most likely to refer to it as cunt. if you're going to use an anatomical term, i personally prefer vulva over vagina, but i probably wouldn't make a point of it unless i was being snarky.
posted by nadawi at 6:23 PM on November 22, 2013


actually im gonna start calling it the iron throne
posted by elizardbits at 6:25 PM on November 22, 2013 [14 favorites]


men have fought for it and died

it can only truly be claimed by a woman
posted by elizardbits at 6:26 PM on November 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


FIRE AND BLOOD
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:38 PM on November 22, 2013 [5 favorites]


and pretty much anyone can have it if they show up with actual dragons
posted by elizardbits at 6:43 PM on November 22, 2013 [12 favorites]


I call it a vajeeper because it is hilarious to me beyond imagining.

We've been going for "vajuzzi" with our daughter. We find it unreasonably amusing. (also amusing when we were over at a friend's house, and he came out in tracksuit pants, and Q pointed at his junk and yelled, "DOOOOODLE!" hahaha).
posted by smoke at 6:48 PM on November 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


The vagina/vulva mixup does annoy me, mainly because it highlights how unspeakable women's bodies have been in the past. It's kind of disrespectful to me that people don't even use the right words for our body parts, but everyone knows what a penis is. (But that's when I'm being serious. When I'm not I like "foof". Say it with me, it's fun! Foof. As in, "fer Gawd's sake Miley your wee foof must be freezing in that thing.")

Having a vagina can be terrifying. When I was younger and really wanted to know if mine looked the same as anybody else’s, I could never go up to a friend and say, “Hey, can I see your vagina and you can see mine? I’m just curious what it looks like!” We could compare our eyes, hair, tummies, teeth, toes, ears or noses, but never in my life has anybody offered to show me their vagina simply to see what it looks like.

For that reason I like the (entirely NSFW) Beauty of Vaginas (yes she says herself it should be vulvas) which is a really nice, non-sleazy, body positive site which emphasises that they're all different and beautiful. It's definitely something that straight women don't get to see much of, outside of tucked and plucked porn ones, so it's reassuring to see how many different varieties there are. It goes a long way to assuaging the "am I normal?" questions that especially young women have. Hair! Lips! Wrinkles! Asymmetry! It's all good.
posted by billiebee at 6:49 PM on November 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


showbiz_liz: "Having a vagina can be terrifying. When I was younger and really wanted to know if mine looked the same as anybody else’s, I could never go up to a friend and say, “Hey, can I see your vagina and you can see mine? I’m just curious what it looks like!” We could compare our eyes, hair, tummies, teeth, toes, ears or noses, but never in my life has anybody offered to show me their vagina simply to see what it looks like. "


I was in college when my girlfriend wanted to know if a particular part of her body was normal. And it hit me all at once that like, yeah even with how few girls I had been with up to that point, and even though I am not an actual owner of any of those parts, OF COURSE I would have a wider experience with what girls look like naked. Like, I certainly didn't hang out in the locker room checking out other guys, so why would she know any better what was normal or typical.

It kind of blew my mind, both the need to feel normal, and that I somehow had this power to grant it.

I would love to say that's when I started thinking more deeply about gender and sexuality but that would have to come later, with more maturity.
posted by danny the boy at 7:04 PM on November 22, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh hey, Tee Corinne's Cunt Coloring Book is still available!
posted by rtha at 7:28 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


so if blood isn't your thing, you'll want to not click this - but i really love the beautiful cervix project. the first time i saw it (or maybe just an individual blog with one woman's year of cervix pictures) i looked at them for hours.
posted by nadawi at 7:32 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if it was just about accuracy it would be weird that people get hung up on vagina-vs-vulva when there are tons of other bodypart distinctions that get collapsed or slopped-around-with in casual speech. ("He's got blue eyes." "Well actually he has blue irises." "She's got a tattoo on her stomach." "Well actually she has a tattoo on her abdominal wall.")

But then we don't have massive cultural hangups around eyes or stomachs, and we don't treat them as mysterious or icky or unknowable, and we don't discourage people who have them from learning about them and making decisions about them, and....
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 7:50 PM on November 22, 2013 [8 favorites]


Nope sorry, "foof" means soft, mostly quiet fart. It's onomatopoetic.
posted by rahnefan at 7:51 PM on November 22, 2013


Vulva.
posted by heyho at 8:35 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


So brave and beautiful. This blog is pure win.
posted by hoodrich at 9:46 PM on November 22, 2013


I didn't know it was common practice to tag vaginas before sending them back out into the wild. I've been doing it wrong all this time.

Radio telemetry tags are how the wild vaginas vulvas are tracked these days.

I thought it was interesting that she noted that the itching stopped on day 21, which is exactly the same as I've noticed when growing a beard.
posted by Dip Flash at 9:57 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I always thought that the vulva was a part of the vagina, in medical terms. Though it seems that I was wrong. In everyday language people use the term "vagina" when referring to the vagina and the vulva. Personally I don't see it as insensitive or sexist, just the way popular language works. It doesn't always mirror medical terms.

On shaving- or not. I definitely have known some men who seem to have felt offended or threatened by a woman having hair on her legs or armpits. Such bullshit. Anyway I'm loving this site.
posted by beau jackson at 10:11 PM on November 22, 2013


We've been going for "vajuzzi" with our daughter. We find it unreasonably amusing. (also amusing when we were over at a friend's house, and he came out in tracksuit pants, and Q pointed at his junk and yelled, "DOOOOODLE!" hahaha).

Our daughter has settled on "tushie" for vulvas and "funny tushie" for penises.

Butts are "rear tushies".
posted by Elementary Penguin at 2:13 AM on November 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nope sorry, "foof" means soft, mostly quiet fart. It's onomatopoetic.

According to the urban dictionary it can mean both. I'd link except the "use it in a sentence" examples for genitalia are predictably hideous.
posted by billiebee at 4:07 AM on November 23, 2013


I need this for cellulite, aka "thigh cheese." I'm good with my hairs, my curves, my other weirdnesses, but I still really struggle with the landscape of my thighs and butt.
posted by Polyhymnia at 7:14 AM on November 23, 2013


I like to remind myself that my wobbly butt and thighs are works of art, and that really I have the body of a model four hundred years ago
posted by billiebee at 8:18 AM on November 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


(If you're not a parent, kids seeing you naked is just inevitable. It's just gonna happen. It's not that you purposefully display your body so much as the concept of "privacy" is wrenched from you as tiny hands keep insisting in opening the bathroom door.)

Our son is four. He knows boys have penises. He is pretty sure that girls just have butts.

My cousin and her husband also have a four year old. He apparently asked my cousin about her "wound".

It made me realize that the difference between her and my wife is the shaving thing - they are apparently appalled by body hair while my wife and I prefer not to pretend we aren't mammals. So our son hasn't actually seen a vulva, because it's covered by hair.

Eventually he will ask about things and will find out more (we are letting him tell us when he is ready for more details). But for now, we're just amused that girls "only have butts." But goddamn am I glad that he will grow up not feeling shame over the fact that humans have hair.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:04 AM on November 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


busy phillips stopped waxing when she had her daughter because she realized that while she totally believed all the individual choice stuff and that she really did enjoy waxing, she just didn't want her daughter growing up thinking that vulvas don't have hair. i think that's pretty awesome, personally.
posted by nadawi at 9:13 AM on November 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


busy phillips stopped waxing when she had her daughter because she realized that while she totally believed all the individual choice stuff and that she really did enjoy waxing, she just didn't want her daughter growing up thinking that vulvas don't have hair. i think that's pretty awesome, personally.

Wow, that's actually a really interesting interview on a number of issues.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:32 AM on November 23, 2013


(If you're not a parent, kids seeing you naked is just inevitable. It's just gonna happen. It's not that you purposefully display your body so much as the concept of "privacy" is wrenched from you as tiny hands keep insisting in opening the bathroom door.)

I have never seen either of my parents naked.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:03 AM on November 23, 2013


i saw my parents naked a fair amount up until i was 5 or 6 and they were uptight mormons. we also lived in some tiny spaces with small hot water heaters.
posted by nadawi at 11:11 AM on November 23, 2013


I have never seen either of my parents naked.

You don't remember seeing either of your parents naked. Chances are good that it happened at least once in the early "Shit, why is the baby crying NOW?!" years.
posted by sonika at 12:25 PM on November 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


The use of "vagina" to refer all female genitalia is a problem because it ignores the genital organs that those who possess them probably look at, touch and use every day, in favor of the organ that's considered most useful to people other than the owner.
posted by milk white peacock at 12:32 PM on November 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Guy here, serious question: Is this really a bothersome thing to women? Like, I consciously know that the definitions above are the proper terminology, but I pretty much never hear 'vulva' except in medical discussions, or in this type of clarification. I'm reluctant to call it out as pedantry, because I honestly don't know.

I'm a woman, and it annoys me on both a practical and theoretical level that we don't have a conversational, non-political word for female genitals altogether. I don't care if that word is vagina or vulva or whatever, I just want to know what to call it.

Personally, I'd prefer that word not be strictly anatomical, because while sometimes I'm talking about one particular part or another (in which case naming the specific part would make sense), most of the time I'm talking about the genitals as a whole (the gestalt of the female genital area).

To be honest, I've called it "pussy" most of my life. I wouldn't really mind continuing to do so, but I get the feeling that "pussy" is considered impolite nowadays (not sure why?).
posted by rue72 at 12:55 PM on November 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


rue72, i prefer cunt to pussy, but i like them both. but, yeah, some people hate one or the other or both. i, like you, do prefer a word that seems to encompass the whole instead of splitting it up into parts.
posted by nadawi at 1:47 PM on November 23, 2013


"Personally, I'd prefer that word not be strictly anatomical, because while sometimes I'm talking about one particular part or another (in which case naming the specific part would make sense), most of the time I'm talking about the genitals as a whole (the gestalt of the female genital area)."

"Vulva" refers to every external part of the female genitalia.
posted by idiopath at 2:09 PM on November 23, 2013


i don't think rue72 is confused about that. it seems pretty clear that she's talking about internal and external (and the parts where even that designation is fuzzy), as she said, the genitals as a whole.
posted by nadawi at 2:22 PM on November 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


IIRC, I just ran across this poem from Peter Fryer's 1963 book Mrs Grundy: Studies in English Prudery.

To the tune of "When a felon's not engaged in his employment," from The Prrates of Penzance.

The Doctor's Lament

The portions of a woman that appeal to Man's depravity
Are fashioned with considerable care;
And what at first appears to be a common little cavity
Is really an elaborate affair.
Now doctors of distinction have examined these phenomena
In numbers of experimental dames
And given to these ornaments of feminine abdomena
A number of delightful Latin names:
There's the vulva, the vagina and the jolly perineum
And the hymen in the case of certain brides;
And there's lots of other gadgets you'd just love if you could see'em
The clitoris and Christ knows what besides
Now isn't it a pity that when common people chatter
Of the mysteries to which I have referred
That they give to this so vital and so elegant a matter
Such a very short and unattractive word.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:59 PM on November 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


The Layman's Reply

The eminent authorities who study the geography
Of this obscure but interesting land
Are able to indulge a taste for feminine topography
And view the graphic details close at hand.
We ordinary people, though aware of the existence
Of complexities beyond the public knowle
Are usually content to view the details from a distance
And treat them, roughly speaking, as a whole.
Moreover when we laymen probe the depths of femininity
We exercise a simpler form of touch
And do not cloud the issue with superfluous minutia
But call the whole concern a such-and-such.
For men have made this useful but inelegant commodity
The subject of innumerable jibes
And while the name they call it by is something of an oddity
It seems to fit the object it describes.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:00 PM on November 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Woman's Retort

You erudite philosophers are really rather comical
Despite your pseudoscientific facts,
For all your heated arguments on matters anatomical
Have very little bearing on your acts.
You may agree to differ and make learned dissertations
On the relative importance of a name,
But we women find that when it comes to intimate relations
You reactions are essentially the same.
Moreover when you analyze, in phrases too meticulous
Our relatively simple little vent
You overlook the verbiage, so rude and so ridiculous
Which designates the gadgets of a gent.
But then perhaps it's 'cause you find the emblems of virility
So very, very difficult to hide,
That your jealousy induces you to scoff at our ability
To tuck away our privacies inside.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:00 PM on November 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


I didn't know it was common practice to tag vaginas before sending them back out into the wild. I've been doing it wrong all this time.
posted by Strange Interlude at 3:42 PM on November


Please do not apply graffiti to my vagina like it's a subway car.

Thanks.

(yes, eponysterical.)
posted by bilabial at 5:41 PM on November 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


So many quips can be made regarding vaginas and subway cars.

But I can rise above it.

*deep breath*
posted by BlueHorse at 5:57 PM on November 23, 2013


TAKE THE TUBE
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:20 PM on November 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


i prefer cunt to pussy

In a sexual sense I use cunt to mean vagina (because enveloping, I think it's the "u" sound) and pussy to mean vulva (because, y'know, strokable).
posted by billiebee at 6:29 PM on November 23, 2013


I think the thing about vulva vs. vagina (now on pay per view) is that there is a dichotomy that goes penis/vagina, and most women don't really think of their vagina as their most sexual part, pleasure-wise, so y'know it would be cool if we talked about vulvae(?) and clitorises(????) more, just because they're an important part of the female body that is always ignored. I don't think anatomical specificity is the real issue, the issue is that we just ignore all the parts that aren't the vagina when as a society we are thinking about women in general. If we didn't do that then the synecdoche probably wouldn't bother people. But on the other hand I almost always hate any and all grammatical/terminological quibbles when not in a professional proofreader/copyeditor context, so I'm probably just being a butt. (BY WHICH I MEAN AN ASSHOLE.)

(I enjoy my vagina, pleasure-wise, but it is not the most important thing.)
posted by stoneandstar at 7:12 PM on November 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I sympathize with wanting correct terminology used, but I think the ship has sailed on the use of "vagina" to mean the entire genital area. Thanks to things like the Vagina Monologues the word has been stripped of its shameful or embarrassing connotations, and it's considered more polite than words like "pussy" or "cunt" and less medical than "genitalia" or many of the specific part words like "pudenda."
posted by Dip Flash at 8:35 PM on November 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


some people think that calling women "girls" is a ship that has sailed and it's just the way it is, but some still feel like it betrays a deeper problem with how women are viewed in society. i imagine the vagina/vulva/cunt conversation is pretty similar. i also really wish that vagina was a word stripped of shameful connotations, but that's not universal. i still don't know what exact type of cancer my grandma has because it's something "down there."
posted by nadawi at 5:56 AM on November 24, 2013 [7 favorites]


I like both the terms "cunt" and "pussy;" they're both ancient in tradition, and descriptive, and make no false pretensions at science or liberal openness the way a misapplied "vagina" does.

When I had cancer, the surgeon removed both ovaries and Fallopian tubes, the uterus, cervix, and a very small portion of the vagina.* I have never mentioned that last bit to a potential partner, because the inaccurate use of the word has become so widespread that I'm sure he'll expect external scarring and missing tissue.

Regarding hair, I don't know what the skin on other women's genitals is like, so I can only speak for myself. But, the skin on mine is not at all like the skin on the rest of my body, and I like it that way. It's super-soft and super-sensitive, which pleases me. I tried removing the hair a few times, using the best practices I had researched, and I have no need or desire to voluntarily suffer that kind of sheer agony again when life has enough other, unasked-for agonies to hand out. The skin on the public parts of my body has toughened up enough to get used to regular hair removal, but I don't want toughened skin there, no matter how much social approval comes with it.

* Dilators work very well on the vagina's elastic tissues.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:20 AM on November 24, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've been saying vulva for years — for reasons that others have already discussed. Not just for the sake of being persnickety; it's that there's something about the focus on the vagina that has always bothered me, given how important to sex are the clitoris and the labia minora. Also, as a heterosexual man, I really really like vulvas and how they look — and that's the stuff on the outside.

So that's why I say vulva and not vagina, despite the descriptive truth that vagina is commonly understood to refer to the whole package.

Why not other terms? People above have said things like, "when I use the medical terminology" as if this were rare for them and the alternatives were more usual.

But I'm a partially unreconstructed second-wave feminist; I was, er, conditioned long ago to recoil from animal-themed and infantilizing terms. I'm in favor of feminists and women in general reclaiming cunt, especially because in the US that's such a heavily freighted word. Which is the problem, for me. It's not reclaimed, I'm not comfortable with it. It sounds inherently hostile to my ears.

In truth I find that I'm not comfortable with the "vulgar" terms for male sexual anatomy, either, except maybe balls. I don't really know how to express it, but all these words sound vaguely sex-negative to me, like they're the words that people use to emphasize that they find sex to be dirty and ugly and unspeakable. I'm not arguing in favor of unicorns-and-sunshine words, because that's silly. And I'm not comfortable with the medical terminology, either, because it feels stilted. I'd like new words, ones that are neither stilted nor expletives. Failing that, I'm most comfortable with penis, vulva, and vagina, because the alternatives either sound negative, as I wrote, or with people I know (including myself) who do not intend them to be negative, sort of like performances or affectations. Which marks me, I recognize, as someone who is not comfortable nor practices in the universe of possibility in sexual role-playing, which is all affectation. I'm sex-positive — whatever floats your boat, that's okay with me. My personal comfort, though, is what it is.

Like other people, I'm very impressed by her non-judgmental position about how women's bodies look and how they prefer them (individual women's own bodies) to look.

My own experience with regard to my partners is in accordance to what she describes. I've had numerous partners who don't shave various places, at least one who didn't shave anywhere. And it's almost always other women who are the most outspoken and negative. Women really do police each other's bodies to an appalling degree. As far as my fellow males are concerned, I've heard a range of opinion. I'm basically not going to be friends with the kind of men who would be all judgmental and negative about a woman who doesn't shave her legs or under her arms, so I haven't heard much of that.

With regard to shaving the pubic area, I'm very much in agreement that women (and men!) should do whatever they personally prefer, for whatever reasons, comfort or sexual or whatever. I'm not happy about how strongly pressured women are to conform to a particular au courant standard. I am especially freaked out and upset by this idea that some or many women have that visible external labia minora are "ugly" and the concomitant trend of women getting labiaplasties. Forget about women being pressured to shave — whatever you think about that, it's small potatoes compared to this labiaplasties nonsense.

Maybe there should be a parallel website to "rate my dickpic" — one featuring vulvas. Because while I can assure you that a fair variety of vulvas appear in porn, that's still pretty narrow compared to what is really natural. And apparently many women are unaware of this and therefore have very false notions about it, in ways that negatively affect their self-esteem.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:09 PM on November 24, 2013


Maybe there should be a parallel website to "rate my dickpic"

haha, I think men (even really nice, sweet, feminist ones) rating women's vulvas is the last thing women need. Women rating each others vulvas either.
posted by stoneandstar at 9:14 PM on November 26, 2013


"Women rating each others vulvas either."

That's sort of what I had in mind (women seeing other women's vulvas). And I really didn't intend the whole "rating" thing. I was aiming for a site that presents non-porn penises, because actual penises vary quite a bit from what appears in porn. As do vulvas.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:57 PM on November 26, 2013


There are a few websites based around the idea of showing the wide range of normal non-porny breasts and female genitalia that have been linked here before; I'd assume there is at least one of male genitalia also somewhere out there.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:32 AM on November 27, 2013


"The skin on the public parts of my body has toughened up enough to get used to regular hair removal, but I don't want toughened skin there, no matter how much social approval comes with it. "

I have a pretty full beard, and haven't done this in years (mostly due to lack of time and because all my old dealers now have 9 to 5 jobs), but one of my favorite things was to shave off the beard and drop acid because of how immensely sensitive the skin is after shaving. I've known women who enjoy that sensitivity too (though none have talked about dropping acid to heighten it).

"Maybe there should be a parallel website to "rate my dickpic"

haha, I think men (even really nice, sweet, feminist ones) rating women's vulvas is the last thing women need.
"

There are many vulva-rating sites out there, most fairly implicitly non-feminist. Turning off safe search and looking for something like Rate My Beaver will turn up a bunch. (My hunch is that they're so easy to code and offer an excuse to look at vulvas all day that a lot of nascent brogrammers put them up as a learning project.)
posted by klangklangston at 12:30 PM on November 27, 2013


I'm gonna go with "the gestalt of the female genital area" from now on.
posted by Apropos of Something at 5:41 PM on November 30, 2013


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