March 21, 2006

Vagina anxiety article (featuring me)

Secret labia love on a t-shirt I’m quoted a bunch in a new article about vaginal plastic surgery and body image, by Jennifer Armstrong for the online magazine Sirens.

This is the first article I’ve seen about plastic surgery hype that actually investigates ways women can feel better about their labial looks without resorting to surgery. Presenting solutions is much more interesting than complaining— well done, Jennifer!

Labia and body image on this site

If you are arriving from that article (or just interested), here are the labia love parts of this website:

Labial plastic surgery confuses me

In the article, Jennifer says,

Put it this way: Which would you rather do, look at some vulva art or let some overpaid Beverly Hills surgeon play with knives millimeters from your clitoris?

That about sums up my thoughts on labioplasty, and I really would mean it as a question. My experiences talking with people in person and on the internet have only revealed women who easily find love for their labia with a few simple tips and a little reassurance, even when they were considering surgery or self-mutilation beforehand.

Do women who actually get plastic surgery have different, more persistent labia worries, or could simple reassurance have dramatic results for them too? I would like to hear from women who have had labioplasties or who have insight into this.

LaSara Firefox has excellent, different tips

My pals LaSara Firefox (educator and author, Sexy Witch) and Nick Karras (erotic photographer, Petals) also gave input for the article.

LaSara’s mention hints at her many tips and take-home activities for fostering “pussy pride.” I’m hoping to review her book soon; it has chapters and chapters of attitude-altering activities. In the meantime, check her calendar for workshops in your town. She is a busy lady!

Being quoted: fun, nerve-wracking. The usual.

Completely apart from the content of the article, reading quotes from myself is nerve-wracking. I think Jennifer wrote a great article and quoted me accurately and fairly. But, wow, I bet somebody is going to think it’s weird that I prefer co-ed feminism and that I said “vulvas look totally insane.”

I immediately wanted to post three pages of disclaimers and justifications on the blog, but I’m going to let that blow over. I am genuinely interested in how to craft quotable emails though. I’m going to treat this as a media experiment. I’ll be quiet and see what happens. Will you guys understand what I meant? Maybe I will sound more interesting because Jennifer chose quotes that got directly to the point.

There’s a point of media literacy that I try to stand by. It is descended from gossip etiquette. It is also widely used in scientific citation, which is one ancestor of the hyperlink structure of the www. The principle is: check the primary source. Don’t repeat second-hand gossip; read the original research paper; email the speaker directly.

You can email me if you want to talk about vagina-related things, including the Vagina Anxiety article in Sirens. If people take issue with my various published comments, I’ll happily elaborate here on the blog. (This has been Sarah, massively overthinking her press policies on the occasion of the publication of her first edited quotes, rather than the usual raw interviews in zines.)

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