Porn and the Emergence of Vajacials

Holy Hormones Journal:  So women are now bowing to the porn industry for a new standard of femcare? Can this be real? Is there not a part of our body that is not being groomed for men?

Birth of the vaginal beautification industry owes its ascendance to another pervasive influence: porn…” ~ MARILISA RACCO

The Globe and Mail
MARILISA RACCO
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published

Forget Brazilian waxes. A new spate of services is taking personal grooming to the next level

The last time I went for a facial, my aesthetician told me that I wasn’t exfoliating enough. She recommended I use a sugar-and-salt scrub two to three times a 06.14.15 st-0606_BodyHairweek and follow it with a deep moisturizing lotion. She also said I would benefit from a clarifying mask. When she was done, she told me to avoid taking a hot shower and exercising for the rest of the day. I emerged from the treatment room feeling a bit sore, tender to the touch and walking a little funny. Did I mention the facial was performed on my vagina?

Dubbed the vajacial and inspired by its popularity in cities like New York and San Francisco, the treatment is now available at Fuzz Wax Bar’s three locations in Toronto. In a nutshell, it’s a revitalization treatment performed 10 or more days after a bikini wax and is intended to beautify the area. With the deftness normally reserved for dental surgery, an aesthetician tackles the delicate skin with a cleanser, exfoliant, tweezers and a needle (to poke out the ingrowns) before applying the mask. And for the finale, a high-frequency electrical wand is smoothed over the area to treat deep-rooted ingrown hairs and to prevent breakouts. It’s hard to say which tool is less welcome near my lady-cave: a glass conductor that emits electrical currents or a medical-grade needle. Believe it or not, the former felt like a happy ending compared to the latter.

It wasn’t an unpleasant treatment; in fact, I was pleased to see smoother and clearer skin afterwards. But it did make me rethink my responsibilities to my vagina and ponder whether I’ve been falsely confident in it all this time. Suddenly, my semi-regular bikini wax seems like a joke. Even the Brazilian is no longer top seed in the vaginal beautification ranks. In addition to the vajacial, women are now being offered an increasingly invasive array of treatments for their nether regions that includes steaming, bleaching, dyeing and surgical trimming. What’s more, the number of women signing up for these services is on the rise.

According to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, more than 114,000 labiaplasty procedures, a surgery that reduces the size of the outer labia, were performed worldwide in 2013. The highest concentration of procedures (13,683) occurred in Brazil, followed by the U.S. at a reported 6,072. According to American statistics from the same year, labiaplasties saw a 44 percent increase nationwide. Over in Australia, a recent national Medicare-system report claimed that labiaplasty procedures in that country doubled in 2012; and a 2014 U.K. National Health Service report reveals a fivefold increase in the procedure over the past 10 years. There are no statistics for the Canadian market, but the plastic surgeons interviewed for this article reported that in their practices, requests for vaginal rejuvenation procedures over the past five years have doubled on the low end and quadrupled on the high.

Although the beauty industry has long been accused of brainwashing women into believing they aren’t taut enough, smooth enough, young enough, and – let’s say it – white enough, the birth of the vaginal beautification industry owes its ascendance to another pervasive influence: porn.

“Because of technological advances, we have greater access to pornographic images that explicitly and implicitly convey aesthetic and erotic ideals,” says Eileen Anderson-Fye, associate professor of anthropology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. “These images hold women to increasingly singular standards about beauty and desirability.”

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.