Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

"Why are we so mean to our vaginas?"

615x330_Lucy Mangan Hero.jpg

“Now look here. Metaphorically I mean, not literally, because I’m going to talk about vaginas and although I am fond of you collectively, I usually like to be introduced to an individual by name before things get that far.

The vajacial has landed. Cunning linguists among you will have deduced the meaning, but for the rest… well, vajazzle refers to the practice of sequin-and-Swarovski-crystalling your nethers via a neat combination of ‘vagina’, ‘dazzle’ and ‘jazz’ (as in ‘jazzing up’ – nothing to do with training your lady parts to perform Chuck Mangione’s Feels So Good, though somewhere there must be a talented woman with a subscription-only website doing exactly that).

A vajacial is a facial for the same area, designed to soothe and beautify it – via papaya enzyme masks, cleansers and extraction of ingrown hairs with a pair of tweezers. I’m trying to visualise the amount of papaya pulp and labial lotion I would require if you’d been at my hoo-ha with a pair of tweezers, but there are limits to the imagination.

It’s no coincidence that the advent of this procedure has occurred alongside a rise in the popularity of waxing and shaving delicate areas and an increase in intimate skin infections (including a pox virus – words you never want to hear, especially spoken by a gynaecologist as they peel off their gloves gesturing towards the treatment room – called molluscum contagiosum). I think this marks a definite tipping point, and we might do well to take a moment to consider WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?

First, let us note that processes which are so painful and damaging to an area only ever meant to be treated nicely they require special repair procedures, are now considered normal. And second, let us ask where the impetus for these heavy-duty procedures came from. I blame porn. Easily, infinitely-accessible internet porn, where only bald ladybits are on show. Why are they hairless? So the action therein can be clearly seen. That’s where the hair-free look comes from and why it developed. Of course some women genuinely prefer to get rid of everything down there, and some have always chosen to do so. That’s not a problem. The problem is that doing anything else has now become almost unthinkable in some circles as generations grow up ignorant of the fact it was not always thus.

We might do well to consider what the hell is going on

It is hard not to link the ongoing rise in labioplasty (cutting off any protruding parts of your vagina to look less, I dunno, human?) and other “vaginal rejuvenation” (tightened, pinkened, re-virginated – you name it, you can always find some plastic surgeon willing to do it) to the increasing expectation of porn-a-like p*ssy in real life and an ever-narrowing definition of nether-region normality.

Isn’t this a sad, strange state of affairs? Some might argue that it is simply an extension of the beautifying urge that has been with us since the dawn of time and I would agree that logic dictates that in a perfect world, nobody would have to do anything to alter his or her appearance ever – we would just be accepted for who we are and what we look like, living in perfect harmony together unto death, amen.

Unfortunately, life has very little to do with logic, so we must occasionally simply stop, look around us, take stock and perhaps say something along the lines of: ‘I must assert that there is something quantitatively and qualitatively different between evening out one’s skin tone with a smudge of base or painlessly painting one’s face in pretty colours for one’s own enjoyment, and embarking on intrinsically brutal procedures Downstairs for the (visual) pleasure of someone who a) should be bloody grateful to see it in the first place and b) has been mind-warped by internet porn.’

The amount of information and the number of influences we encounter bombard us as never before. We need to take care that they do not overwhelm us. We need to think about what we are being asked to do to ourselves and why. Who has what interests at heart? Who’s getting the benefit and who’s getting the money? I suspect the answer is rarely a vagina – or anyone who owns one.”

Email Lucy at lucy.mangan@stylist. co.uk or tweet her @LucyMangan



Lucy Mangan: “Our grandmas had corsets – we have vajazzling”


Viva la vagina


18 Again vaginal 'anti-ageing' cream launches



Lucy Mangan on why feeling beautiful starts with your thoughts

“Erase the ugly voices in your head”

by Lucy Mangan
01 Apr 2017

“A step-by-step guide to sexism”: Lucy Mangan responds to ‘Legs-it’

You are a lady and you have legs. Use them to kick ass.

by Lucy Mangan
01 Apr 2017

“If you need me, I’ll be in the woods”

Lucy Mangan on the joy of being alone

by Lucy Mangan
01 Mar 2017

Lucy Mangan explains how a tragic event can actually unite us all

“Amidst polarising opinion, we are still united”

by Lucy Mangan
01 Mar 2017

“Brace yourself – it’s time we had the baby chat”

Lucy Mangan on why it’s fine to not want children

by Lucy Mangan
01 Mar 2017

“You can take your heels and...”

Lucy Mangan on the high heels debate

by Lucy Mangan
01 Mar 2017

“All hail the big cosmetic surgery U-turn”

Lucy Mangan on a welcome change in the fashion and beauty industry

by Lucy Mangan
03 Feb 2017

“Without divorce, marriage is doomed”

Lucy Mangan on why the world needs divorce

by Lucy Mangan
01 Feb 2017

Lucy Mangan on the art of saving money

“In debt? Allow me to confiscate your cards”

by Lucy Mangan
15 Jan 2017

Lucy Mangan guides us into the New Year

“So here it is! 2017: a user’s manual”

by Lucy Mangan
01 Jan 2017