Sept. 7, 2012
In 1996, when I heard about Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues, I was 26 and vagina shy. But I was intrigued, fascinated. The book was big. Hmmm… these firangi vaginas sure do talk a lot, I thought. My desi vagina, it never uttered a word. But for the last two months, since it chanced upon two naughty advertisements — one for Clean and Dry Intimate Wash, which promises tazgi and white-white nikhar, and 18 Again, a vaginal rejuvenation and tightening gel — my vagina’s taken to vigorous head banging and loudly singing “I can’t get no (satisfaction)…”
Now I am a left-of-everything feminist, so I lectured it on how this is a deep, dark, devious plan to keep making women feel inadequate and keep making money off us. From every part of our bodies, every nook and corner that’s fat, sagging, bony, hairy or bald, men in suits are making millions and laughing as we cut, pierce, laser, suck and inject ourselves and turn into kinky plastic dolls, I shouted. Feeling smug and superior, I raised one eyebrow and looked down. My vagina was sulking and babbling about how I’ll never be Mrs Robinson, but only Mrs Doubtfire.
All this was putting my white cotton panties in a twist, so I decided to investigate, and like all professional investigators I went to Google. Oh! It’s a pussy riot out there. There’s a rash of websites devoted to baggy vaginas, the aftermath of “having too many babies, too much sex, or too much fatty food”. After telling me that I have a problem that I was not ever aware of, they offer dollar-pound solutions: all sorts of gels and creams for tightening and toning. There’s allopathic stuff, homeopathic stuff and lots of pretty pathetic stuff as well, like this ayurvedic herbal vagina tightening kit — oil, capsules and tablets — for $80. These good jadi-booti people offer a special 30 per cent discount for Indian vaginas. Patriotism and all that.
For the homely types, there are many sites devoted to home remedies: yoga, amla, apple cider vinegar, cold showers, lemon, African black soap, Ben Wa balls. But if these don’t appeal to you, you can always pop a vaginal tightening suppository “that works in 20 minutes and keeps you tight for about a day.”
But why? Because, according to one website and, of course, the two advertisements in question, “Men prefer tight vagina and that is why they choose younger women as sexual partners”. Having a tight vagina, it adds, “could intensify a woman’s feeling of arousal and make her feel every thrust and pressure”. Could? Should we be force-feeding our vaginas witches’ brew on the promise of could?
Confused, I decided to meet my favourite gynaecologist who first rolled around laughing. After about 10 minutes, when she finally settled down, she said that when women have babies, the vagina does get a little floppy, but there’s no evidence of this reducing pleasure or these creams/gels/douches working. All that tazgi and nikhar, she said, can be had with just plain water. “And if you are keen on a six-pack down there, exercise. Squeeze, release, squeeze, release…”
If after all this you still feel that your vulva and labia are flapping about, there’s plastic surgery. Just as I began reading about all the cutting, tucking and stitching, my vagina stared, screamed and fainted. Now every time these tazgi and tightening adverts come and my vagina starts contemplating a snide one, I open the vaginal plastic surgery page and squeeze.