There is now a beauty competition for vaginas: are female beauty ideals being taken too far?

I used to be merely self conscious about my face. I felt life would be so much better if I could just peel it straight off and replace it with a more beautiful, even featured one. I was seen as being one of the ugly girls at school, which I can laugh about now but at the time I let it define me entirely. Then I became self conscious about my body. I put on a tonne of weight at university and used to daydream about pulling chunks of my flesh away like dough. Again, I felt as if my life would be enhanced tenfold if I could just manage to trim away my excess flabby bits like bacon fat. However, not until very recently have I begun to consider beauty standards in relation to vaginas. Surely this should be a realm beyond strict beauty regimes and advertising. So many times in my life I have felt that my plainness has represented boundaries and imprisonment. To express myself sexually with a partner has always felt like somewhat of a release.

However, making women self conscious about their vaginas is now big business. Not only are women now expected to wax, pluck and bleach every suggestion of a hair from their pubic region, they are now expected to perfume their private parts to cover natural, healthy odours. Most worryingly of all, women are increasingly turning to invasive procedures such as labiaplasty. This is a cosmetic procedure where the labia is cut at to make it neater, less visible or more even. Such an operation can have serious and harmful effects. For example, a labiaplasty can come at the price of damaging nerve endings in the vulva that can lead to a loss of sensation and consequently decreased pleasure during sex. It is a very strange and worrying phenomenon indeed that some women are willing to essentially give up their enjoyment of sex in order to fit a visual ideal of what they believe their genitals should look like.            

Now there is a competition to find the world’s most beautiful vagina. I have always had a problem with the term “most beautiful” when applied to any part of the human body. After all, beauty is subjective and can’t, and shouldn’t be, accurately measured. This competition is being held by Autoblow, a sex toy manufacturer. Participants will send a picture of their vagina to Autoblow, where they will be judged by a group of “sex toy experts” in terms of their vaginal attractiveness. I am not sure what sort of criteria this will entail but I strongly suspect that this will involve finding the pelvic region  that most closely resembles Barbies. Pictures will be uploaded online in order to gain the public vote. How very democratic.
The lucky winner will then get the opportunity to have a mold of her vagina taken as the basis of a new, personalised line of fleshlight sex toys. I just want to say for the record that I am totally for fleshlights and any ingenious form of male sex toy. Fleshlights come in a range of shapes, sizes and colours and cater for individual tastes. There are toys for men who like longer lipped ladies and toys for those who prefer the more “manicured” look. This diversity is important and reflects and celebrates individuality. I cannot say the same for the world’s most beautiful vagina competition.     

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