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Genital dye colouring: Seriously?

pinkbuttonIf ripping out your pubic hair and cutting out bits of your genitalia in an attempt to look young and pretty 'down there' isn't enough, now there's a new phenomenon - labia dye - to add to the list of things promoted to women to ensure they never feel good enough about themselves, writes Katrina Fox.



In the 1960s and 1970s feminists like sexpert Betty Dodson held vagina workshops. Basically this was a group of women who sat in a circle, got naked and explored their own and each other’s genitalia.

It may sound like a lesbian shagfest, but many of the women were straight and hadn’t ever seen their own labias or clit. Remember, this was in the days when bush was the in-thing in pubic fashion, so admittedly, getting to your love button and folds was tantamount to a deep forest expedition. 

The idea behind Dodson’s and other’s workshops was to get women in touch with their sex organs, to demystify them, learn to love them – and how to come, either solo or with a partner or partners. In those days, sexually confident women were frowned upon and ‘down there’ was a dirty smelling orifice that leaked piss and blood. Your vagina and its associated bits were something to be ashamed of. 

Fast forward 40 years and two waves of feminism, and not much has changed. While some savvy women, young and old, delight in the uniqueness of their lady garden, regardless of whether it’s a neat and symmetrical landscape or an out-of-control wilderness, the majority still have issues with their pussies. 

Porn stars, rather than earth mothers, have become our role models for fashioning our nether regions. Anal bleaching and the ripping out of pubic hair a la Brazilian (if this practice did indeed originate in Brazil, there’s some seriously masochist women there, given that most will be prone to ‘excess’ body hair), are the norm. 

And let’s not forget vaginal rejuvenation surgery. Not happy with your labia? Is it an ‘outie’ and you’d rather it were an ‘innie’? Just pay a plastic surgeon (usually male) a truckload of cash to cut it up so it looks ‘pretty’ and you can feel ‘empowered’ and ‘younger’. As I wrote in my column for a gay magazine in 2003, even the lesbians are it, including one ‘very well known comedian’ a top vaginal rejuvenation surgeon told me. 

But what if you can’t afford surgery? Don’t panic: a “female certified Paramedical Esthetician” has come to the rescue. Enter the My New Pink Button genital dye that will “restore the youthful pink color back to your labia”. According to the manufacturer’s website, this patent pending formula was designed by the Esthetician after she discovered her own genital colour loss. 

“While looking online for a solution she discovered thousands of other women asking the same questions regarding their color loss,” the site proclaims. “After countless searches revealing no solution available and a discussion with her own gynecologist she decided to create her own.” 

My New Pink Button comes in four different ‘shades’ named after girly sex kittens, like ‘Bettie’: “Think of that favorite lipstick you wear for those dressy black tie affairs and think ‘Bettie’. This shade blends with a woman's own skin tones to bring out that ‘sexy hot pink, I am fired up, look’. Go dancing this weekend and remember to bring ‘Bettie’ along!’ 

‘Marilyn’ is “Good for beginners who want to make a slight change, a fresh color change in their appearance,” while Ginger will “combine with darker skin tones to bring forth a real rosy tone” and Audry [sic] is the “deepest, darkest color that we offer to give you a bold burgundy pink color. Perfect for everyone”. 

Do women really believe they need to coat their labia with chemicals to make them feel ‘sexy’, ‘hot’ or ‘fired up’? Obviously they do, since there’s a market for these products. I’m all for a bit of decoration when it’s fun and harmless (lipstick and glitter are staple items in my purse), but painting a chemical dye onto your labia? 

How much more torture are we prepared to put our cunts through in an attempt to look ‘young’? Newsflash: you don’t need fake or real pink labia to feel fired up and sexy. An Abba album will do the trick. As will not buying into the propagandist messages spouted by misogynistic advertisers who make profits from convincing women they are never good enough. 

Raunch culture and body image are the ‘trendy’ issues among young feminists today. But perhaps a return to the ‘old’ ways is in order. Hold your own vagina workshops. Invite your girlfriends over, give them each a mirror and examine each other’s muffs. Photograph them on your iPhone and make multimedia art projects out of them. Be creative and apply no judgement. Forget the porn stars and embrace the diversity of your bits – pink or otherwise. 



0 #1 Heather Denkmire 2010-01-25 19:12
Just finished up a lengthy discussion on Facebook about this that ended with a woman who claimed that it's all because of evolution and men tending to be dominant and women tending to be submissive and then a guy called me stupid because I was disagreeing... anyway, it was a beast of a discussion.

Anyway, I enjoyed this piece and have shared it over there on Facebook.

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