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August 15, 2005

Comments

Are you actually expecting any guys to comment on this?

I dunno. Why not?

I suppose going to the El Greco of vaginas might be worse

Worse yet: the Giger of vaginas.

I found this other goose/gander point raised by Lindsay in her post of interest:

I've recently gotten paid to write posters suggesting to men that Viagra may help them lead a more fulfilling life--but we wouldn't dare suggest that anyone actually needs Viagra. Oh, no! Marketing to men's sexual insecurities is all about "you're wonderful, but you could be extra-personally-fulfilled." When marketing to women's sexual insecurities the message seems to be "You are vile, but you could be acceptable."

Magritte? Escher? Please make it stop...

Please, please, someone ban Edward before he weighs in on this.

...now I've seen everything.

Okay, look: I've seen a /lot/ of vaginas, in person. And I'll be the first to admit that you develop an aesthetic impression, a sense of "X produces a more immediate and visceral arousal than Y". It's the same with faces, or hair, or body shape, or whatever--some things just, as a general rule, turn you on visually more than others.

But anyone with an ounce of maturity and respect knows that there's an ocean of difference between "X turns me on more than Y" and saying to your partner "you should look more like X because it turns me on". Do I sometimes wish my partner's tits were firmer or smaller, or she dropped a little of the post-childbirth flab? Sure, I guess that'd be nice. So would winning the lottery. But I already won the lottery by getting someone who's still passionately in love with me after three years, so you know what? The rest of it is frosting.

"You are vile, but you could be acceptable."

I actually choked laughing at that.

But as an uninterested party, I must say that somewhere in the archives I definitely came out against female genital mutilation.

Jackson Pollock? Actually, Rothko might be OK, in a strange sort of way. But please no Morris Louis or Lichtenstein. Or, and here's a scary thought, Cindy Sherman.

It seems only common courtesy. Woman agree not to laugh at men's dicks, and we agree not to play "Compare the Cooter".

Although, to be honest, I've never really looked at a vagina and thought "My, what a very DIFFERENT vagina you have here, so unlike the other vaginas I have known".

Generally it's more like "Dude! SCORE!"

What? I'm elemental.

Actually, I have known one person who made fun of a guy's, how shall we say, pride and joy, but it was in circumstances that made it excusable. He was a complete stranger on a subway, and took it out and said, "Heh heh, do you know what this is?" And my friend, a woman of great presence of mind, stared at it quizzically and said "how peculiar: it's just like a penis, only smaller."

I'm picturing something like the face in The Scream, though it would work better with a beard added. Does anyone know any Munch carpeters?

*embarrassingly too obvious* Georgia O' Keefe

hilzoy,

I have seen that anecdote in a Spider Robinson short story written while you were not yet legal. I doubt your friend is the original source of it.

Dantheman: Darn. I hope she stole it and actually said it, rather than making the whole thing up, though. (Someone I'm not in touch with anymore, so I can't ask.)

And Bob: see, guys are commenting. Oh ye of little faith.

It's a great quote. My personal favorite was when a couple of what must have been college freshmen cruised by some girls in the U District in a flashy red sports car that must've cost more than their tuition. They gunned the motor, and--you have to understand, this is one of those cars where the muffler seems designed not to suppress sound, but to channel it into a physical force. Said boys howled and hooted at the well-endowed and short-skirted girls, who stopped, looked at each other, looked back at the guy, and said--all in unison, in a singsong voice: "Sorry 'bout your peeeenis!"

this might cross the line: the Andres Serrano of vaginas .

this might be nicer: the Thomas Kinkade of vulva

Personally I'm holding out for a vagina sculpted by Marcel Duchamp.

Although reading ral's comment, an Escher vagina does sound enormously appealing...

Although reading ral's comment, an Escher vagina does sound enormously appealing...

An ouroboros of labia, with walking fingers endlessly searching for a clitoris they never seem to find?

An ouroboros of labia, with walking fingers endlessly searching for a clitoris they never seem to find?

I suspect given those criteria many women would say they already HAVE an Escher vagina. It would explain a lot about their sex partners, if nothing else.

I wasn't going to say it... :>

Although reading ral's comment, an Escher vagina does sound enormously appealing...

There's a Klein bottle joke here somewhere, I just know it.

First; Who's holding a gun to her head and forcing her to do this? If your partner makes a comment about your body you don't like, tell 'em to f' off.

Truman Capote was having dinner at a NY restaurant when a drunk at another table started berating him. The drunk eventually walked over to Truman's tables and pulled out his dck. And said.." You're so famous..uh? You're so famous why don't you sign this?" Truman looked, smiled and said.." I could initial it.."

I guess nobody's told the women who want "Playmate Pussies" that the Playmate Pussy photos are photo-manipped. The pictures used to just be airbrushed; now, God knows what they do with Photoshop.

IIRC, a similar gynecological issue was a plot element in Mario Puzo's novel The Godfather that was left out of the movie; apparently, its time has come.

How. . .inspiring.

This is ridiculous. Just give me a good old-fashioned Norman Rockwell vagina and I'm fine.

Acme Klein bottles: the finest closed, non-orientable, boundary-free manifolds found anywhere in our three spatial dimensions.

Yep, Andrew. It does sound vaginal.

I would just breakdown if anyone talked about my daughter, that way..."If only you looked liked someone else, then I would be happy."

What a freakin' wimp!

come on hilzoy! all those pussy pictures in your last couple of posts and now not one link?!

you're killin' us.
(well, some of us).

xanax: the number of responses I could make, but won't, is just awe-inspiring.

hilzoy: pretty much everything about you is awe-inspiring.

Acme Klein bottles

(labels printed by Mobius Offset)

Hmmm. The Acme Klein Bottles: good name for a band.

and hilzoy: how are your peaches doing? perhaps you could email a picture of them?

and hilzoy: how are your peaches doing? perhaps you could email a picture of them?

In the current context of discussion, this goes all sorts of wrong (or very right) places.

I'm bothered that there is so little discussion of the element of risk in plastic surgery, even when performed by a well trained surgeon in a proper setting.

Every surgery consent form lists a whole bunch of risks inherent in oevery surgery. This is not something you do on a lark.

Having voiced a professional opinion, my personal opinion is that the original equipment vagina is one of God's most wonderful creations. If stretched a bit during childbirth a gyn doc can do quick nip-and-tuck to tighten it.

And why are some guys spending so much time staring at it..... don't they know what to do next?

"In the current context of discussion, this goes all sorts of wrong (or very right) places."

Indeed it does, Catsy. In fact, I was thinking of temporarily banning myself for violating the posting rules in my heart.

I would not and have not done anything other than actively discourage any conversation that even things about taking this direction. Don't get me wrong; I've got more than my share of admiration for the idealized female form, but I don't get those confused with people.

And I don't think I'm alone, here. As usual, though, this many people in a country this wealthy are going to do something stupid with it. I'm sure that if you look around a little, you'll find something nearly as bizarre that you wouldn't dream of doing.

my personal opinion is that the original equipment vagina is one of God's most wonderful creations.

Seconded.

If stretched a bit during childbirth a gyn doc can do quick nip-and-tuck to tighten it.

Ah, there are so many benefits to lesbianism, and never having to ask your partner to have "a quick nip-and-tuck" is definitely one of them.

To put it as politely as possible: for me, a woman's vagina is always the right size. I have hands, and I know how to use them.

"I have hands, and I know how to use them."

Cite? Link?

Thank you, healthcarethinktank, for a phrase as evocative as "the original equipment vagina." Brings to mind such wonderful classics as the '65 Mustang and the 1939 National steel-bodied tri-cone resophonic blues guitar.

"the original equipment vagina"

Really is a whole new millennium, isn't it?

I once complimented a partner on the beauty of her vagina (it was a sincere compliment), and she was a bit taken aback. She had apparently assumed they all looked the same. I hope I didn't unintentionally contribute to any insecurities on her part by assuring her that they don't....

None: With three exceptions, you're pretty much safe complimenting your female partner on the beauty of her anything.

Exceptions: her sister; her best friend, her trust fund.

A few years back I bought myself a feminist book about sex education out of curiosity about the feminist viewpoint. It had fun bits, like talking about 'making an orgasm' instead of 'getting an orgasm' because it is hard work.

In the book they had two pages with pictures of vagina's and mentioned that NO women recognized her own without other recognizable things in the picture. Women have to really make an effort to look at it, and most don't.

Which makes this surgery even sadder; they might very well be unable to recognize their own vagina before OR after the operation.

Exceptions: her sister; her best friend, her trust fund.

...her brother, her teenage daughter, her blood...

Very interesting: the comment thread on this topic on Majikthise, which I hadn't read the first time through (there was a lot less then than now) is completely different from ours, and much more political. In addition to questions like: in an ideal world, would there be plastic surgery, we get:

"I had no idea there was a proper vulvar “look”. " -- fwiw, neither did I. Now I wish that idea would go away again. Amanda Marcotte says: "Yes, Matt, there is a "look" to female genitalia that is considered standard now. Granted, it's achieved through photoshop..."

Also: "Straight men in their formative years see lots more professionally produced images of female genitalia than actual genitals of real women. If one physical appearance of vulva became the "photo standard" anatomy, and women who got pictures taken of their genitals got surgery to conform to this ideal, then the image of anything other than the "standard" could become marginal or invisible. And guys could grow up thinking that normal variation was pathological. And women could grow up thinking that their genitals were ugly and misshapen (which is already a huge problem.)" -- Especially, I might add, since the number of actual female genitalia seen by straight guys in their formative years probably greatly exceeds the number seen by straight women in their formative years, and thus most women who got such ideas would probably lack any sense of what is and isn't normal.

For some reason, in my naivete, it hadn't really occurred to me that exacting standards of female beauty had developed in this particular area. This is so completely Not A Good Thing. Blech.

Nah still scarey to comment. I have seen hundreds, mostly thru media, some personally at very close range. There is an old cliche bout "all alike down there" that needs to be avoided, because it is certainly not true, but truly memorable major and minor labia are few and far between. Familiarity in this case, like in faces, breeds affection.

Let me, like Will Rogers, just say I have never met one I didn't like.

But I am lousy at this. Question: given pictures of one hundred noses or left hands, how many of us are certain we could pick out our partners? I could on hands, because my partner has distinctive IV scars. But only one hand.

Ah, there are so many benefits to lesbianism, and never having to ask your partner to have "a quick nip-and-tuck" is definitely one of them.

Is this the part where I point out that fisting (and the enjoyment thereof) is not the sole province of lesbians? :)

"Is this the part where I point out that..."

Catsy: Maybe... but, probably not.

I also read through the comments thread at Majikthise's, and hilzoy, yes, the threat of a materializing hilzoy-harpy and the vulvar Picasso may have been slightly distracting.

"For some reason, in my naivete, it hadn't really occurred to me that exacting standards of female beauty had developed in this particular area"

hilzoy, as someone with an interest in pornography, take my word that photoshopping, surgery, and a normalized vulva have not yet taken control of young men's minds. Considering the most popular forms are currently semi-pro, pro-am, or amateur, the opposite is actually the case.

I could be wrong, for I do hang out with a crowd, including many many 20 somethings, that have a nostalgia for the natural bodies of the 70s stuff.

Considering the most popular forms are currently semi-pro, pro-am, or amateur, the opposite is actually the case.

I could be wrong, for I do hang out with a crowd, including many many 20 somethings, that have a nostalgia for the natural bodies of the 70s stuff.

Seconded, with enthusiasm. After a stint wearing various hats in the employ of a porn site, I lost what little interest I had in most of the godawful commercial crap.

Bob and Catsy: I don't think that I myself am in any particular psychological peril on this front, but I'm still very, very relieved. (I mean, I had never thought of this possibility before, and I'm obviously not in a position to know whether it has been realized.)

Very interesting: the comment thread on this topic on Majikthise, which I hadn't read the first time through (there was a lot less then than now) is completely different from ours, and much more political.

I don't find it all that surprising; for one thing, while ObWi is (as you said over at Majikthise) very political, it's political in a different way than Lindsay's blog. (I'm reminded of the brouhaha Kevin Drum kicked off a few months ago when he wondered where are the women political bloggers were. I wonder what he'd make of Hugo Schwyzer.) Majikthise has also had a few rounds of heated discussions of gender politics recently, which I suspect colors the type of discussion that goes on there at this point.

Catsy: Is this the part where I point out that fisting (and the enjoyment thereof) is not the sole province of lesbians? :)

If you want people to think that the only way you know how to use your hands to make love to a woman is to fist her, sure.

(Suzy Bright said once that the sweetest compliment she ever paid a man was "You use your hands like a dyke.")

Personally, I'm looking for a woman with more of a Mondrian-like aesthetic to her muff. You know: simple, stylish, something that goes nice with the sofa.
--
St!ff

Hilzoy: For some reason, in my naivete, it hadn't really occurred to me that exacting standards of female beauty had developed in this particular area. This is so completely Not A Good Thing.

It hadn't occurred to me but doesn't surprise me. I recall a discussion with a straight woman at a party once who (once we'd established that I was lesbian and she was straight) told me that one of her objections to pr0n was that her boyfriends had all had the idea that a woman should take about 15 seconds to come if a man used his mouth on her, which they'd got directly from pr0n movies. (Plus, she said, they used their tongues All Wrong, and we had momentary female hysteria.)

She said, very diffidently, that she thought 10-15 minutes wasn't unreasonable... and, a little astonished, I was able to assure her that 10-15 minutes is absolutely normal: 15 seconds would have been freakish. But apparently, while female-on-male oral sex in pr0n can go on for ages, male-on-female is routinely depicted as lasting a few seconds. (I didn't know: I'd never watched any het pr0n.)

It hadn't occurred to me prior to that conversation, and this thread reinforces it, that many straight women won't have any idea of what another woman's vagina/labia/clitoris look like, nor any idea of how other women respond sexually, except what their boyfriends tell them - and that their boyfriends are picking up the most obscenely wrong information from pr0n.

Shockingly, Jesurgislac and I have found another topic on which we agree. When will the madness end?

Remind me to stay at non-pritzus blogs from now on. This is so awful, I cannot describe it. It is an offshoot of the general pressure in our society to confuse pr0n and real life.

Jes: re the use of hands. any hints? this straight guy is always willing to learn. or is this not an appropriate blog for such a discussion?

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