It's the time of year when I begin to receive lots of press releases about getting my body "in shape" for summer, despite the fact that xoJane is very clearly not the sort of site that runs articles about how to make our bodies acceptable for public viewing. They always call me out specifically in a way that makes me feel strangely panicky "EMILY, is YOUR body ready for spring?" I don't know, is it? How can I be sure?
Working in women's media, you get used to this kind of unpalatable boilerplate. But a few days ago, I received a press release for Kegel exercisers that went too far and upset me anew. Its subject line read "Intimate Fitness -- the Importance of Toning all of Your Muscles" and it began like this:
"Suddenly spring is in the air and so is the mass panic of an impending beach season- women begin flocking to the gym in hopes of toning and tightening in time for the season’s first bikini session. Forget treadmills, this year’s hottest fitness tool will have women sexercising their way to healthier and more fulfilling intimate encounters."
This is the ultimate indignity. On top of everything else I'm supposed to be toning and tightening for the right to display my body on the beach, I've now got to exercise my vagina, too? No no no no no. My vagina does not need to be toned and tightened.
It's true that my vagina is a little chubby. I once sexted a man a picture of my vagina and had him respond, “Mmmm, MEATY!” MEATY. Like my vagina is a new kind of Spaghettios including sliced franks.
Still, my vagina is performing all its major functions just fine -- it doesn't need to also be tight enough to open a wine bottle or lift a burning car off a baby. I'll go to the gym, I'll put in my 45 on the elliptical, I'll even take the occasional spin class. But I won't get my vagina in shape for beach season. I will let my vagina be fat, and happy, sitting on the couch and watching television.
How freaking tight is my vagina supposed to be, anyway? Should a finger start to turn blue in there? Should my partner attempt to pull out and start to panic as if he's trapped inside one of those Chinese finger cuff toys? Since when has "tight" ever been a positive descriptor for something you're going to put a part of your body inside?
And while we're on the topic, I am being positively hounded with press releases for a product called “Heathy Hoohoo.” According to the company, Healthy Hoohoo's gentle freshness wipes are great for “travel, camping, yoga or after a fun day at the beach.” (Or, one would imagine, for toweling off after a particularly strenuous workout.)
I’m all for genital cleanliness, but the sanitization of the vagina has gone too far. It’s a bodily organ, one that regularly expels urine and blood and discharge. It is NOT a delicious cupcake or a Yankee candle. A vagina should be pretty much wash and go. I shouldn’t have to douche, or spray on vaginal deodorants, or put a little freshening sticker on my underwear. If you want to smell an ocean breeze, get a Glade plug-in. If you want to smell a vagina, put your face in a vagina.
The Healthy Hoohoo wipes are also “fragrance and gluten-free.” I'm not exercising my vagina, and I'm definitely not putting it on a gluten-free diet.
After everything I've put it through in this life, I feel my vagina has earned the right to just be left a-goddamn-lone. My vagina is like an animal in a sanctuary somewhere, living out its days peacefully after years of being abused and made to perform circus tricks. My vagina is tired and just wants to be comfortable. My vagina wants a pair of sweatpants and maybe a nice cup of tea.
There is no vagina season. I put my foot down.