Laurie Toby Edison

Photographer

Vajazzling Around

Laurie and Debbie say:

Some of our friends are up in arms about “vajazzling.” If you haven’t heard the word, it refers to having tiny Swarovski crystals heat-sealed onto your waxed (or super-shaved) vagina (which here at Body Impolitic we do not call the “vajayjay”). Jennifer Love Hewitt does it and (sadly) she says she does it “to feel good about her privates.”

article author with PG-rated vajazzle pic

Okay, this is a little complicated. Some of the background things to think about:

1) Waxing and shaving both have a flavor of infantilization, of looking like prepubescent girls instead of women.
2) Anything that modifies your vagina (or any part of your body) at a price is going to be sold as “better than natural,” because “natural” is free. So there’s always a disturbing hint of “you don’t look good the way you are.”
3) Vagina modifications in particular are almost always spun as of “it’s icky down there unless you make it better/cleaner/neater.”

All that being said, we think that if it’s your style vajazzling is a pretty harmless variation on sprucing up your private parts. It isn’t invasive, it lasts about five days (which means it’s a real moneymaker for vajazzlers who can attract repeat clients, but it’s also something you can do for a fling), and it’s sparkly!

Doree Shafrir at Gawker interviewed a few men to see what they thought about it, and got basically negative responses, including Gabe Delahaye at Videogum, who said,

“”Gross. People who vajazzle should have their vaginas taken away,” he said. “They can have them back when they are ready.”

We’re a lot more grossed out by men who think it’s okay to judge women that way then we are by women witih sparkly genitalia. And sad to see feminist friends repeating it with admiration.

One last point about vajazzling: men clearly are not who it’s for. Hewitt did it to recover from a breakup. Bryce at the Luxury Spot, pictured above, was hardly worried about the injunction “not to engage in any ‘vigorous activity for at least the first day,’” saying, “I should be so lucky.”

If you’re going to wax anyway, you can afford it, and it’s your style, why not add some crystals into the mix?

12 Responses to “Vajazzling Around”

  1. Stef says:

    Good post. Personally I wouldn’t paste crystals on my vagina or pubis because I like my hair. But I can see pasting them on body parts with less hair. It can be fun to be sparkly.

  2. Chip Uni says:

    I’m curious… how many men have vajazzled themselves?

  3. Marlene says:

    I’m not so sure about this whole “heat sealing” thing. It sounds to me like a way to not say “glue” which it is. I doubt that it’s great for your skin, but probably not much worse than the wide variety of not-so-great-for-your-skin things that people put on themselves.

    My biggest problem with this is that it could be done so much better! Maybe just a few sparklies rather than a big field of them? Maybe something tastefully asymmetric, like one or two low on the left labia, one high on the right, a larger one above the clitoris and a smaller one just to the side of that?

    I’m surprised, Laurie, that you didn’t beat me to this critique.

  4. Sarah says:

    Vulva, not vagina. I’m trying to correct this habit in myself, so I’ve been kinda militant about it lately, sorry.

  5. Laurie says:

    Chip,

    I have no idea.

    Marlene.

    Hadn’t looked at it with an aesthetic sensibility. Asymmetry is, as you know, on of my favorite things.

    Sarah,

    Thanks for the correction.

  6. Lynne Murray says:

    Sarah,
    I was just thinking about your vulva v. vagina controversy and it just ocurred to me that crystals (1) probably wouldn’t even stick to the actual vagina, (2) even if they were essentially inserted, they would be invisible. I found a cool, informative link (and excerpt) below that basically says if you can see it without a flashlight and cooperation, it ain’t the vagina, it’s the vulva.

    http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/faq-vagina-vs-vulva-and-public-faces-of-feminism/
    quoting:
    “OK, let’s start with some anatomy revision. What you can see from the outside is the vulva (external genitalia). The canal that can be felt inside the vulva is the vagina (internal genitalia). It takes a torch and a trusting woman in a cooperative mood for someone to be able to view the vagina. Yet pictures of naked women are routinely described as “showing the vagina” when all that can be seen is the vulva.”

    But as a word-obsessed writer, I gotta say that “vagina” is a more recreational-sounding word. It flows off the tongue (erotic pun optional) opens up your mouth to say it and has regal echos of regina (queen) whereas “vulva” has the stop in the middle and evokes the word “vulgar” which is not playful. Part of the sexist heritage of our language, yes. Playful, no.Sensual, possibly. Maybe the word needs to be reclaimed.

    (To take a tangential example, I always say “anorexic” to refer to someone dealing with that eating disorder–I know I am being incorrect. “anorectic” would be correct, but it’s little-known word, and I’d rather explain to someone who calls me on it than explain to everyone else who has never heard the correct term).

    As far as euphemisms, vajayja has an odd combination of squeamishness and aggressiveness to it.

    However, I’m still laughing at the “lady business” and “lady parts” euphemisms, that’s funny on levels way beyond what the people who use the words realize!

  7. Janet Lafler says:

    My first reaction to this post was “that’s a vulva, not a vagina!” Using “vagina” for “vulva” is actually more annoying to me than euphemisms like “lady parts,” “vayjayjay,” etc. — because it’s not just vague and silly, it’s inaccurate, and given what many women *don’t* know and never learn about their own bodies and how they function, I think accuracy on these points is extremely important.

    @Lynn — Vagina doesn’t sound “recreational” to me in this context, it just sounds wrong. (Plus, “vulva” doesn’t suggest “vulgar,” to me, it suggests “velvet.”) Yes, let’s reclaim it!

  8. Lori S. says:

    If we’re really going to go the rigorously linguistically correct route, neither vagina nor vulva is the word to use — mons is.

  9. Laurie says:

    Lori,

    Perhaps mons veneris.

  10. Luna says:

    Yes, mons veneris is beautiful and with the crystals, it is ‘venerating’ the mons. . .

  11. DenverToo says:

    I’ve always loved the look and feel of a bare vulva since high school. Sticking things on my body? No. I’ve been getting vulva waxes for 5 years after many years of shaving 3-4 times a week. Years ago, men were surprised and thrilled with the look and feel of a bare vulva. Today, men are still thrilled with bare vulva, but it seems to be an expectation now, especially since so many men shave their genitals, too, which I love.

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